Day Ten: On the Way to Chiang Mai

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Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai
November 20th 2005
Published: December 1st 2005EDIT THIS ENTRY

Pineapple FieldPineapple FieldPineapple Field

Pineapple stalks growing tall in the field. A pineapple plant can produce fruit for 10 years.
Today we left our lovely resort in Chiang Rai and made our way through the forested hills to Chiang Mai, a much larger city, but still a speck on the map compared to Bangkok.

We stopped by Nanglae, a pineapple producing village, where we saw pineapple fields and the paper products made from pineapple leaf pulp. Pineapple is a lucrative crop for Thailand. The homes in this village were all very nice.

Next, we visited the beautiful white Wat Rong Kuhn temple. This was truly spellbinding. The temple is like a glittering ice castle - all white, with intense ornamentation and all sparkling with little mirror chips. It was like something out of a dream. Amazingly, the architect of the temple, Mr. Chalermchai, was there. This is like visiting the Sistine Chapel and having Michaelangelo show you around.

We tried some new treats when we hit the road again. Moo Yaw - a very yummy sausage wrapped in leaves and Kao Larm, which is sweet sticky rice in a bamboo stick. Happy tummy!

In the afternoon, we visited a gem factory. This was my one and only disappointment in the tour. We had to sit through a
Typical Home in Pineapple TownTypical Home in Pineapple TownTypical Home in Pineapple Town

Most of the homes in the pineapple producing village of Nanglae were very nice. Ole said a home like this would cost about $100,000 US.
movie promoting the fabulous gems of Thailand and then were ushered into a huge sales room where we were obviously assigned a salesperson. A young Thai salesgirl kept following me around like a spy. Every time I would hesitate over one of the jewelry cases, she magically appeared and would take pieces out for me to try on. Of course, everything "looks beautiful on you." Way too pushy for my taste and the prices were no better than what we'd find in the states. I finally managed to escape to the tea room where I enjoyed a cup of ginger tea while waiting for the rest of the group. The parking lot was packed with tour buses, making me wonder what the commission must be on tourist sales.

Dinner tonight was a great experience, which more than made up for the gem sales visit. It was a Kantoke dinner and dance where we dined at a low table and enjoyed a couple of hours of native Thai dancing. The dancers were so graceful and beautiful. I loved the colorful costumes and the stories told through the dances. At the end, the dancers pulled some of the guests to the
Pineapple PulpPineapple PulpPineapple Pulp

When the pineapple plant no longer produces fruit, its long sharp leaves are shredded into pulp, which is used to make paper products.
dance floor. Cheesy, but fun.

Additional photos below
Photos: 24, Displayed: 23


Wat Rong KhunWat Rong Khun
Wat Rong Khun

The photos cannot capture the magnificence of this amazing temple. It was just fantastic!
Wat Rong Khun 2Wat Rong Khun 2
Wat Rong Khun 2

The bridge to the entrance of the temple.
Wat Rong Khun 3Wat Rong Khun 3
Wat Rong Khun 3

An imposing statue stands guard.
Wat Rong Khun 4Wat Rong Khun 4
Wat Rong Khun 4

Just one of several decorative statues that surrounded the temple.
Mr. Chalermchai's artworkMr. Chalermchai's artwork
Mr. Chalermchai's artwork

There was an art gallery with Mr. Chalermchai's colorful posters. I wish now I would have bought one, though I would have to buy a new house to put it in!
The ArtistThe Artist
The Artist

This is Mr. Chalermchai himself. I don't know what he was doing at the temple, but he was surrounded by many adoring fans who were very excited to be near him.
Hands in HellHands in Hell
Hands in Hell

Ole explained that these hands at the base of the temple were reaching up from hell. Thai Buddhism incorporates a little of many different religions. They believe in heaven and hell, though they are places one visits just for awhile after death. Eventually, you are reincarnated and return to earth until you eventually reach Nirvana, joining Lord Buddha forever.
Inside the TempleInside the Temple
Inside the Temple

The interior of Wat Rong Khun is much more subdued than its exterior, but still very beautiful and peaceful.
Welcome to Kantoke DinnerWelcome to Kantoke Dinner
Welcome to Kantoke Dinner

These handsome young men personally welcomed me (Ok... and the others,too) to the Kantoke dinner.
Welcome to Kantoke Dinner 2Welcome to Kantoke Dinner 2
Welcome to Kantoke Dinner 2

Beautiful girl in Thai dress showing off her artistry in vegetable cutting.
Seating ArrangementsSeating Arrangements
Seating Arrangements

Our group was at a table, but most of the diners sat on these pillows.
Kantoke DancingKantoke Dancing
Kantoke Dancing

The drummers were powerful performers.
Kantoke Dancing 2Kantoke Dancing 2
Kantoke Dancing 2

Beautiful girl in Thai costume. Notice the gold extended nails.
Kantoke Dancing 3Kantoke Dancing 3
Kantoke Dancing 3

The Rat Man, sent by one of the gods to kill the lovely girl, but he fell in love with her and spared her life.
Kantoke Dancing 4Kantoke Dancing 4
Kantoke Dancing 4

Now THAT is a hat!
Kantoke Dancing 6Kantoke Dancing 6
Kantoke Dancing 6

Jeri takes her dancing very seriously.

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