We flew to the north of Thailand with only the hopes of experiencing colder weather in mind. We were totally unprepared for the trip! Thanks to the stupid iPhone for giving the wrong directions back to the hotel, we stumbled upon this nice massage place which eventually led us to the tour agency that made our trip as amazing as it turned out to be.
Got to see different hill tribes which was quite an experience but the highlight of it all was, of course, the encounter with the Kayan Long Neck tribe. It's not often you get to see something that's been immortalized on the pages of National Geographic! It was utterly surreal.
Wish we could have stayed for a week in Chaing Mai. There are just so many things to see and it is quite a beautiful city. Not to mention incredibly cheap too! In this town, luxury doesn't necessarily come with a price. :-)
10-Dec-2010 to 12-Dec-2010
We hired a van with driver to drive us around for a day. We couldn't believe our ears when the driver said that the cost would be 500 baht. This price is not per person but for the whole van! And the petrol is already included in it. It was THAT incredibly cheap!
After having lunch at Mike's Burgers, we headed off to Wat Phrathat perched atop the mountain of Doi Suthep, which is the most significant cultural icon of Chiang Mai and one of the most revered temples among the Thais.
Monks descending 309 steps of the naga staircase from the temple above. That means 309 steps to climb for us. Not bad, but I can see someone suffering in the pic. Hehe.
The iconic chedi at Wat Phrathat. It is considered one of the holiest places in Thailand. Shoes are not allowed to be worn on these grounds.
Thai dancers. That bright pink umbrella just ruins it all.
One man's offering is another one's earning. Kupit! Hehe.
Group pic at the courtyard.
Cute little hilltribe kid at the base of the naga stairs.
Headed back down to the city and to avoid the horrendous traffic, we drove through Chiang Mai Univeristy which reminded me so much of UP. We then went to Wat Phra Singh which is the best-known temple within the old-city walls of Chaing Mai.
Ho Trai. The repository of scriptures.
Monks inside Wihan Luang where the huge PhraSingh buddha is enshrined.
Thapae Gate. It is Chiang Mai's main entrance to the old walled city.
We went for dinner at a nice restaurant just right across the historic Thapae Gate. It's called BRIX Bar and Restaurant. It provides a nice outdoor ambience, serves good food, and like most places in Chiang Mai: it is cheap!
Tried the Khao Soi, the quintessential dish synonymous with Northern Thailand, particularly Chiang Mai.
Went for a massage afterwards and stumbled upon a tour agency on our way back to the hotel, which fortunately can still accommodate us on their tour the following morning.
First stop of the tour was a visit to a hilltribe village. Unfortunately, the village was practically deserted that time beause the everybody went to a funeral or something. All that's left are a couple of Akha tribe people trying to make a living out of selling souvenirs to tourists. Man, they do follow you around.
Next stop was the Chiang Dao Cave. Just outside the cave entrance is a crystal clear pool with a lot of large and extremely well-fed fish. The water comes directly from the mountain.
Inside the Chiang Dao cave complex. There are five interconnected caves that make up this cave complex and is supposed to stretch 12 kilometers into the mountain. Tourists can explore 300 meters deep into the cave with the aid of a local guide.
Naga temple outside the cave.
Care for a kiss?
Akha Tribe. This lady is the most charming of all. She's so friendly and warm and very welcoming!
Newest hilltribe in the block!
Lahu Big Ear Tribe. Intersting to note that she's Catholic. Most of the hilltribe people are.
Long Neck Tribe. The is the one that you see on the covers of National Geographic. She's the oldest in the village and the number of rings says it all. That's a total of 21 rings. Major stiff neck!
Long Finger Tribe! :-P
Milling rice for the village. This is seriously some work out.
On our way back to the city, we dropped by an Orchid Farm and Butterfly Garden. Got a little lesson on how orchids are grown. I never knew it takes so long to produce an orchid flower! I'm never taking these for granted again. Hehe.
Early dinner at Deck1. It is a fusion restaurant which is an absolute great find. The views of the Ping River is lovely and the food is beyond amazing!
Deep fried sticky rice with grilled beef. I know it sounds deadly but trust me, it's sooo gooooood!
Trying to digest everything.
After that dinner feast, we moved to the aptly called The Riverside restaurant, which is just close by, to drink the night away.
Margarita for the girls. Beer for the boys.
Cheers to an amazing weekend!
It was nevertheless a fun long weekend getaway.