So, it turns out we really liked Chaing Mai and the night market on a Sunday night was amazing! Ive never seen anything like it! I treated myself to some earings but there was just so much to buy it was difficult not to buy more! I had the massage which was great- although a little scary when she climbed on top of my back with her knees! I think every bone in my body had made a cracking sound! Felt good after though! We also did a full days thai cookery course at Baan Thai.
You should be able to see some photos from this link...
I made chicken and cashew nuts, spring rolls, chicken in coconut soup, panaeng curry with pork and mango and sticky rice! We ate so much as what we had created was delicious- or as the thai people say "A roy!"
After spending a couple more nights in Chiang Mai we got a in bus further north to a mountain village called Pai.The journey to Pai was about 2.5 hours and was extremely windy to get up into the mountains. The views were beautiful though! On both the journey there and back people were being sick!! Here we stayed in another shack on stilts for 3 nights. It was extremely cold at night, but luckily we were given a great big, thick duvet! One one of the days we rented a scooter (I am sorry mum and Sue- I know we said we wouldnt!) but it really was the only way to see everything! We visted a temple on a hill, saw elephants having lunch, went to hot springs at the national park and also visted Pai Canyon which had great views. The street food at the night market here was very tasty, we particularly liked the pancake lady who made them into the shape of hearts! Needless to say we ate them everyday which has no doubt added a few pounds on!
Danny had somehow discovered a place to stay and go fishing just outside of the village- Bueng Pai farm, so we stayed there for one night. Luckily it was very pretty and had hammocks to chill out in, plus unlimited chinese tea to drink- it wasnt too bad!! He spent the day catching ugly looking cat fish which kept him very happy. The next day they delivered us back into Pai (in a motorbike side car!) so that we could get the bus back to Chiang Mai.
After another night in Chiang Mai we headed to Chiang Rai. This has to have been the best ever bus journey i have ever had! We were shown on board and guided to our seats. They gave us bottles of water and biscuits, showed a movie (in thai about a monk) and even gave us hand wipes before we left the bus! Not bad for about 3 quid and 3 hours of travelling! Now that would never have happened in India!
Once in Chiang Rai we had a look around and soon realised that is a place to live rather than visit. We spent two nights here and went to the night market both nights. They had a great food court where we tried noodles wrapped in omlette and great deep fried veg and prawns. There were lots of trekking tours available to do, but none that we really liked the sound of. We went to the hilltribe museum and learnt about all the different northern tribes, including the Karen tribes who have the long necks! The entrance ticket got us a free coffee in the downstairs restaurant called Cabbages and Condoms! Very odd place. The Santa covered in condoms was particularly odd, but very festive i suppose! The purpose of the restaurant is for education, but we didnt stay long enough to learn much!
The pace of travelling has slowed down so much since India that we are finding it a bit harder now to find things to do! We decided to head to Chiang Saen, another northern village. On the journey there the bus managed to hit a black lab type dog. The driver didnt even stop to check on it, but Danny said that from where he was sitting at the back of the bus he saw it get up and walk away. I hope he was right!
There was even less to do once we arrived there but we did go to the "Golden Triangle". This is where you can stand and look across the Mekong river into Laos and Burma at the same time. We also visited the Hall of Opium museum which was just about the best museum i have ever been to. So well thought out and really modern. It was interesting to learn about all the countries involved. I had no idea that Hong kong was pretty much surrendered to the British due to the opium war and the treaties that were imposed. Luckily the hilltribes of Thailand no longer rely on growing opium to earn a living- they make things for tourists to buy now i suspect!
After 2 nights in Chiang Saen we headed back to Chaing Rai, just because we had ran out of things to do there! Plus the guest house we stayed at had a cat that cryed all night! It was also easier for us to arrange transport for getting into Laos once back in the city.
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