Off to the markets we go to have a look around and find something to eat. Chiang Mai is an easy place to get around.
We find the night market and manage to tuck into some local street food for about £2.00 for two, then take a wander back passing through what we called ting tong alley or lady boy land. Presumably the red light area and full of contractors and a random selection of western people and all the burger and chips you can eat!
Next day we are booked into a thai cooking class, they pick us up and off we go with 6 other people. Amazing, nearly everyone we met were lucky enough to have got extended leave from work of about 12 weeks to be able to travel and they thought it was great that we were brave enough to actually give up work to follow our dream and have enough courage to know we can find new jobs when we return back to the UK in March. Wonder where we will end up, seems a long time away but it will soon come around.
Steve has a great time showing off his cooking skills and giving Deb an excuse when they get home to say “it’s your turn to cook tonight.”
Next morning we are up earlier to catch our ride to Chiang Rai to see the White Temple and Golden Triangle. We did contemplate an overnight stay but since our hostel was good and cheap we went for the 14 hr minibus trip. Just as well as Chiang Rai town looked ok but nothing special.
On route we stop for a comfort break at a warm natural spring. So natural the geyser is powered by pump, yes crazy tourists, if you don’t believe us just take a look when you pass back at night as it’s been switched off!
The White Temple is amazing, built by a guy who is still alive and he spends all his time still extending it. Should be finished in about 90 years. When we were there he was giving a talk that looked very light hearted as everyone was laughing but we didn’t have a clue what he was saying?
It’s a modern interpretation of Buddhism and really worth going to see. The only gold here is the toilet block, yes this really is a toilet block and representing the greed of mankind.
There aren’t loads of donation boxes and he self funded the build so he doesn’t have to comply to the wishes of those donating. He will accept money but only small amounts. As you walk over the bridge you look down and see hundreds of hands reaching up, these are hands of men and if you look carefully the hand of a woman with a red finger nail. Apparently this is because it is more men who want the power and to get to the top and most women are more caring and kind.
You cannot take photos inside due to the exquisite art work by Chalermchai Kositpipat as he does not want it copied. It was amazing and so detailed, very modern, it depicted all the bad things in the world. There was an American president sat on top of a rocket flying through the air, the twin towers on fire, batman and robocop standing by being fake super heros. He questions the world’s lack of real heros, as there are no super heros to save mankind from themselves. Pop stars, mobile phones and corporate brands all trying to make you desire possessions over being kind and thoughtful. It’s very modern and some people really didn’t like it.
Next we travel to a hill side tribe called the Karen people. You will have seen these people in photos, ones with long necks and brass rings around them. No photos here as this is an awful tourist place that is a tat market of so called dressed up tribe people selling, so called handmade items that just happen to be the same as all other markets. If you want to see the long necked people its an extra cost. Did Deb and Steve want to see kids forced to wear brass rings to help make money.
No thank you!! We quickly left.
On to the golden triangle where three country borders meet, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. It used to be one of the largest opium areas in Asia but now it’s just tourist central. The views are good and if you like you can take the boat trip to Laos but we are going to the country later so no need to waste our money now.
Final part of the trip is to the boarder control into Myanmar, just a quick stop to see the boarder crossing and see just how poor the country is compared to Thailand. These guys were fishing in the river, not sure what they thought they were going to catch in the filthy river?
Then it was time to zoom back and we mean ZOOM..Our driver was weaving and dodging and over taking on bends but we make it back safe and sound.
Then it’s Sunday. If you are planning to come to Chiang Mai try and plan a Sunday night here. There is a big local night market and it actually sells real hand made local crafts and real genuine pieces of art. Must be good as even the locals are seen shopping here.
What no tales of the elephants we hear you say. That’s what Chiang Mai is famous for? Once you have seen elephants in the wild, you will understand why we did not entertain seeing these majestic creatures in captivity. Just think before you want to go ride one or want to treat it like a pet.
No sooner than we arrive it is time to leave the crazy people of Chiang Mai and the very heavy pollution. If you’re a sufferer of chest problems make sure you bring your inhaler and wear a mask. Deb spent most of her time here annoying Steve with the super asian pollution cough, it was delightful! Now time for our flight to Luang Prabang in Laos and no this is not Steve, he hasn’t changed this much. 😂
Debs and Steve