North to Chiang Mai
11 Feb 2017
Steve and I awoke early this morning and set off on our walk to the local stores for breakfast. The variety of food is vast and varied from fresh fruits to western foods through to cooked local dishes. After a good walk, it was time to make our way back to the Hilton and pack for the flight north. We met up with Neil and Connie at the Peninsular where we jumped into our cabs and made our way to Don Mueang International Airport (domestic section). On our way the freeway traffic had been stopped for an official motorcade. This was our only delay. We boarded our Thai Lion flight and flew the hour to Chiang Mai.
On landing at Chiang Mai, Neil collected our 4WD rental and we waited for our baggage, before we made our way to “Bed” (Name of our hotel). “Bed” would be our home for the next 2 days. Not to waste a minute we all set off on foot to explore Chiang Mai streets and the night markets. We passed a flower show decorated with yellow umbrellas and painted elephants before reaching the markets. Here we took in the sights, smells and noises. We ate at the markets before walking for home. Half way to “Bed” we came across a Chinese restaurant selling Chang Beer so it was decided to stop and partake. We eventually arrived back at the hotel at 11pm.
12 Feb 2017
Last night was our first night on what I would can typical Thai beds, firm and hard mattresses, so waking early was no problem. “Bed” put on a great breakfast, which we enjoyed before heading out for the day. Neil took control of our 4WD as we headed off to explore a near by temple. WOW what a temple. “Was Phra That Doi Suthep”. The steps to the temple ascend a mountainside with Naga on each side. Naga I guess would say they look like dragons or snakes. Young girls in traditional dress would pose for photographs on the steps if you gave money to the older sister close by.
Was Phra That Doi Suthep temple was truely incredible. I am still lost for words in trying to describe it fully. The courtyards were aglow with golden tones of sunlight reflected in gold. WOW. To gain access to this temple we needed to remove our shoes and I had to wear a wrap (due to my shorts).
The day slipped by and before we knew it it was time to head back to “Bed” to get ready for a meal at a local eatery. Once again yum!
One of the tips we passed walking to dinner was the Cat Shop. You could go inside, have a coffee or drink and play with the cats. Sadly we didn’t venture in, but what a cool concept.
13 February 2017
After another wonderful and filling breakfast at “Bed” we headed off into the mountains to see some new territory. Our first stop was an older temple named Was Chetiyabanpot. I think we all loved this temple as it had a music charm and we also met and talked (in English) to the local monk. We also came across another temple half built with a large white Buddha.
But about lunch time we reach Phrao where we took time out to wander the street and markets and enjoy an ice coffee or two. To my amusement I found the local liquor market selling Leo Lager Beer which 2 cats had decided to sleep the day away on top or the carton. What a great advert! Mid afternoon we lucked on another incredible temple on the side of a hill.
Accommodation for the night was found at Marisa Resort, a little bungalow on the edge of a lake, just gorgeous. We once again ate some tasty food, this time at the restaurant at the resort.
14 February 2017
After breakfast it was time to head further into the mountains. We could see from the road a huge white Buddha which we set off to explore.
Our route took us along the lesser used roads along through Mueang Haeng near the Thailand / Myanmar border. Here we met some of the locals (Hill Tribe People) and saw mountainous country. We also saw fuel stations with gravity fed measuring bowls attached to a pump on the top of a 205l drum. Of course we also found a great little iced coffee stand to enjoy afternoon refreshments. At the point the road deteriorated quickly into a rough track.
We continued on through the mountains before arriving in Chiang Rai. Here we found accomodation and a great local restaurant where once again we feasted and consumed the local Chang Beer.