Temple on the Hill
Yup, we climbed to the top
Dec 20-27 Chiang Mai
As I write this journal entry, Darrel and I are on our 15th flight somewhere between Hong Kong and Perth. In total this trip from Chiang Mai to Perth is taking 29 hours, 12 of them in the air, the rest in airports. In fact, last night we slept on cold metal benches in the Bangkok Airport. I can say for sure that we aren’t kids anymore.
Chiang Mai was a good place to visit. We stayed in the old city section which is over 714 years old. It was once a walled city with a moat around it and parts of the wall are still standing, and the moat is still there. A very touristy section of the city.
We kept pretty busy there. The first day was a trip to the Doi Suthep Temple up in the mountain overlooking the city. This is apparently the most holly of wats as it is where a bone of the Buddha is buried. I must admit that no expense was spared as everything is gold glittered.
The next day we headed up to Inthanond National Park which is the tallest mountain in Thailand. It
Above Chaing Mai
is 2654 meters (1.5 miles) high. Very pretty, with a board walk built by a Canadian, wandering through the jungle area, . The trip included a visit to the King and Queen’s Pagoda ( have to be Thai to really appreciate it), some waterfalls and an ethnic group ( White Karen) village.
Our next day was spend in town wandering around to the various wats. One of them is the oldest wat in Thailand. To give you an idea of how many there are here, from our room window we counted seven of them. Didn’t take long before we were ‘watted out’.
Next day was a long day as we headed up to Chiang Rai and the ‘Golden Triangle.’ History buffs will know this area as the centre of the Opium Wars because Thailand, Laos, and Burma all meet in a corner here. Interesting for the historical part but otherwise not much to see. We did take a boat ride on the Mekong River and crossed over Laos where we got a visa stamp. It is a very poor country and the village we stopped at looked dirty and poor, with lots of kids begging. We also stopped at
While Karen Woman
Visited this village and bougt one of their scarves.
Mae Sa for lunch and a quick visit to the Burma boarder. Couldn’t cross because of political problems.
On the way up to the Triangle we made two stops. One was a hot springs that literally boils out of the ground. The locals were boiling eggs in it. The second stop was at the White Temple. This is a new temple and my lasting impression of it is ‘Where the Chronicles of Narnia meets Buddhism‘. Take a look at the picture and see if you don’t agree that this has to be the Snow Witches palace.
Our final stop before heading back to Chiang Mai was at the village of the Long Neck Karen Women. These are the women with the rings around their necks, making them look stretched. While it was fascinating to see these ladies, I have to admit to a feeling of guilt. According to our guide, this group was originally a jungle tribe from Burma. The rings where there to protect the ladies from tiger attracts. It was believed that while the men were strong enough to fight off the tigers, the women weren’t. Therefore, the rings were placed around their necks, arms
White Katen Village
This is where they really do live.
and legs for protection. Now that this group has moved into Thailand the practice has continued but I believe it is more for tourism than anything else. The females, from as young as 3 or 4 years old, have rings on their necks and are sitting in the village, literally on display. My feminist self sees them being mutilated in the name of money.
Christmas Eve saw us taking the day easy and then going to a traditional dinner and show. The food was good but we sat on a hard floor are ate our meal from a small table. The show was kind of amateur and boring. Oh well, Christmas Day more than made up for it.
Up by 7 and on the road by 8am. We started with bamboo rafting on a small river. These rafts were big ones, made with 9 poles, and one young man poling it through the ‘rapids’. This managed to get us soaked but it didn’t take long to dry out. Our next stop was the best. We went elephant riding for about an hour. Our elephant had a 5 month old baby that frequently made its mother stop so it
could nurse. The ride itself was a slow, plodding sway through the ‘jungle’. A rather tame trip but fun non the less.
It was then a hike into a waterfall and then back to the hotel.
Darrel and I were hungry by this time so headed out for a bite to eat. We stumbled into a restaurant that was serving a Christmas Dinner special so we had a Thai Christmas Dinner. Rice and turkey with Thai spice and it was good. As we started to eat ( we where sitting outside beside a half wall with the road immediately on the other side. Across the street was the old city wall) there was a loud boom from the city wall as fire works were set off. They were set off from the wall immediately across the street and were directly overhead. All in all, a good day.
Now we are on our way to Australia…haven’t cross the Equator yet, but soon.
5:45 pm and we are crossing the Equator!
Hope Everyone had a Merry Christmas and wishing the best of New Year.
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