"When someone is nasty or treats you poorly, don't take it personally. It says nothing about you but a lot about them..." - Michael Josephson
16 December 2005
Day-1 : Rose of the North
Chiang Mai is the second-largest city in Thailand, with cool mountain climate. This small city offers a much more pleasant atmosphere than Bangkok, but still has all the modern amenities. The location of the city lends itself to excellent trekking and exploration of the lush surrounding nature areas. The heart of Chiang Mai is its old city, circled by ancient walls and moats and offers an old-world feel, despite the heavy traffic circling it. We checked-in the Empress Hotel and have some time to freshen up before we took a van to the Handiraft Centre where we visited the Shinawatra Silk factory, Lacquer ware factory, Gems gallery and the Bo Sang Paper and Parasol factory. Chiang Mai is a shopping paradise, simply because there is such a wide range of unusual goods at knock down prices. the quality is variable but the value for money undeniable.
A Chinese couple, Bobby and Liz, from Australia joined us for dinner at a Muslim Restaurant. After dinner, the van sent the four of us to Chan Klan Road. The centre of shopping is undoubtedly the Night Bazaar, which takes up several blocks. At this place you can wander among the countless pavement stalls, shops and arcades admiring the beautifully crafted Northern Thai handicrafts. On the way back to the hotel, we took the Tuk-tuk and stopped at one of the many massage centres for an hour of relaxing foot massage.
17 December 2005
Day-2 : Union of the Hill Tribes'
We had early breakfast as today we are going for a full-day tour to Chiang Rai. We started at 7 a.m. Passing through scenic hills and jungles, our first stop was at the San Kamphaeng Hot Spring. The Hot spring water has a high sulphur content that allegedly possesses curative and restorative properties. Separate male and female bathing facilities are available. We bought some t-shirts and silks from the souvenir shops.We reached Chiang Rai at about noon. The province average elevation is 580 meters above sea level, Myanmar borders on the north, and Laos on the north and northeast. From Chiang Rai town, we stopped at the Union of the Hill Tribe Villages where we visited the various hill tribes of Thailand. They are from the Akha. Yao, Lisu, Lahu, Palong, Karen and many other tribes.
We reached Chiang Rai at about noon. The province average elevation is 580 meters above sea level, Myanmar borders on the north, and Laos on the north and northeast. From Chiang Rai town, we stopped at the Union of the Hill Tribe Villages where we visited the various hill tribes of Thailand. They are from the Akha. Yao, Lisu, Lahu, Palong, Karen and many other tribes. What attracted us most were the long necked Karen girls in colorful dresses. Legend claims that the brass rings protect the women from tiger bites as well as maintaining individual and tribal identity.
Thailand's northernmost point is at Mae Sai which is well known for its crisp mountain scenery, and hill tribes. At Mae Sai, we stopped at a Muslim Restaurant for lunch. At Mae Sai border, we walked through the local market and enjoyed an image of a frontier town which is populated and studded with shop houses and souvenir shops along the way .We visited a Gem factory and he bought me a white gold ring with ruby, a belated present for my birthday. To the north, falls within the region known as the Golden Triangle, the area where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge at the confluence of the Mekong River. Our trip continued to an archaeological site of Chiang Saen. Where we stopped at the oldest pagoda.We slept all the way back to Chiang Mai. Tonight we had dinner at Al-Farouk Hotel, a popular hotel for the locals as well as foreign muslim tourists. We saw the sign ‘Jalan-jalan Cari Makan’ posted on the wall. We ended the day pampering ourselves with an hour long full body massage.
18 December 2005
Day-2 : Maesa Elephant Camp
Woke up late and had a quick breakfast. The two Australian couples left for Bangkok and today we are on our own. We started the day’s tour visiting a famous temple the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. The old temple dated from the 16th Century. A flight of over 300 steps bordered by a Naga balustrade leads up to beautifully decorated buildings and a Lanna-styled chedi covered with engraved gold plates.
We had early lunch then headed to one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand, the Maesa Elephant Camp. They have over 70 happy elephants with many talented elephant artists. We have a chance to observe the elephants bathing at the two bathing areas on Maesa River before the elephant show. The shows demonstrated performances by the elephants and their experienced mahouts.
They have musical performance, dancing and football matches. And most amazing moment was to watch the talented elephants painting abstract arts and beautiful pictures. Maesa Elephant Camp created a painting by a group of the eight artist elephants which became of interest on Ripley's Believe It. They are also awarded by the Guinness World Records as the largest and most expensive painting by a group of elephants.
At the elephant camp, the most delightful experience for us was to ride on the back of an elephant. Here at Maesa the experience is as authentic as they come as we trudged through the mountains, streams and jungle. To me, an adventure of a lifetime.
'Later we visited the butterfly and orchid farm and had an early dinner before we proceeded to the night bazaar. Tonight, again we indulged in a luxurious foot massage before we retired to have a restful deep sleep.
19 December 2005
Day-4 : Mae Ping River Cruise
As our flight to Bangkok is in the afternoon, we have a lot of free time in the morning. so we decided to leave the city behind and relax on a river cruise along the Ping River.The boat cruised slowly and we enjoyed the changing scenes along the river. The boat ride took us two hours to complete.
We made a stop at a fruit and herbal farm where we enjoyed a snack of seasonal fresh fruits and savored the refreshing taste of herb and longan juices. We even have time to relax a while on the comfortable hammock made from a piece of bamboo!
After the boat ride, we checked out of the hotel and headed for the airport. We stopped at the Central Airport Plaza for a delicious murtabak, roti canai and kuew teow goreng for lunch. Our flight was a 3 p.m. and we have time for another round of foot massage at the boarding lounge. We transit in Bangkok for 2 hours and had our last minute shopping there to finish our baht.
We reached KLIA late and we reached our apartment way after midnight...