Our last day in Thailand was pretty quiet; I spent most of it cleaning up my photos and starting to write up my blog posts, but I have to give a quick write-up to the fantastic River Market Restaurant, a beautiful property located just south of the Iron Bridge on the Mae Ping River.
Next up: another sticky rice treat wrapped in banana leaf, and then fresh coconut ice cream that tasted like it just had fresh coconut and ice in it – it was incredibly refreshing and light.
On our last full day, we did a food and walking tour of Old City Chiang Mai with my parents. We met our guide Day at Wat Chiang Man, and a young Australian couple joined us on the tour; it was nice to have a small group of six total. Before getting to any food, we toured the Wat Chiang Man. It was built in 1297, and one of the temples had murals all around the inside depicting Buddha’s life both as Prince Siddhartha and then post-enlightenment. Day was a very thorough guide, explaining everything we were looking at and answering all of our questions. Continue reading
We had signed up for a tour of a local flower market and a longtail boat cruise up the Mae Ping River to a local farm. Our guide Montree met us at Smith Suites and walked with us up to the main road to catch a songthaew to Wararos Market.
After breakfast, we were in the mood to try a Thai massage, so Mom directed us to Lila Thai Massage, a really great business that gives newly released female prison inmates a 180-hour training course in massage.
This was a photo-heavy, content-light day: lots to show, little to say! In the morning we walked around the Old City section of Chiang Mai. We saw a ton of temples from the street but didn’t go inside any. We admired little details like lovely bridges crossing the moat that runs around the Old City and orchids planted on the sides of trees.
Oh look, another temple! Ken next took us to Wat Haus Pla Kung, a temple with a strong Chinese influence. There was an enormous statue of the (a?) goddess of mercy, visible well before we arrived at the temple. There was a new temple under construction, and we did go look at the old one, which was a unique design compared to the temples we had already seen, but our energy was fading and we did not linger there long. Continue reading
Our next stop was Wat Rong Khun, better known to Westerners as the “White Temple.” This temple was packed with tourists, and had much more of a Disneyworld feel to it. Nevertheless, it was stunning, and Ken did a great job steering us through the crowds, imparting information and reading our mood to get in and get out. The White Temple is more of an exhibit in the style of a Buddhist Temple rather than a practicing religious temple. The designer and owner, Chalermchai Kositpipat, opened it in 1997, and it’s been drawing visitors ever since. Continue reading
I need a break from prepping all of my Thailand posts, so I decided now would be a good time to reflect on 2016 and 2017. Warning: this will probably be a fairly long post, so if you want to read it all make sure you have caffeine handy! Continue reading
Friday morning, we had a 7am pickup for a private tour to several Chiang Rai temples. I got up at 6 and got ready, then checked with Domingos to see if he felt well enough to go. Luckily, he was fast on the mend, and although he was pretty low on energy, he was able to come along and enjoy the tour. Our driver and guide, Ken with Pagoda Tours, was right on time and was really wonderful all day. We explained that we were both in recovery, and he made sure we always had water and Sprite, and asked if we needed restroom breaks at every opportunity. His English was excellent, and he was always quick to offer to take photos for us. He really made the day a stand-out, and gave us excellent information on each temple we toured. There were so many great photos from the day that I’m going to have to split the tour over three blog posts! Continue reading
We basically lost two days of our vacation transitioning from Koh Lanta to Chiang Mai, as I woke up quite early on our Koh Lanta departure day feeling a lot less than 100%. I lay around in misery most of the day, interspersed with bouts of worshipping the porcelain god, while Domingos finalized all of our packing and departure details at The Houben. He was a superstar and I can’t imagine how awful it would have been if we were both ill at the same time. The two-hour transfer to Krabi was better than expected, but once we were on the plane I had to make several mad dashes to the airplane lavatory. So much fun! Our Airbnb hostess was an absolute wonder and picked us up directly at the Chiang Mai airport. The townhouse we rented from her was in the Hai Ya district just south of the Old City, and about a 10-minute walk from the apartment where my parents stay. Continue reading
I somehow stumbled onto what might have been the best day trip we’ve ever done when I found the website for Talabeng Sea Kayaking. The day started early, with the owner Farid picking us up in a songthaew at our hotel just after 8am. From there, it was an almost two-hour drive to where his boat was docked, and we made multiple stops along the way picking up more people for the tour (it maxes out at 12, which is how many we had). The other people were friendly, and since we were all pretty squeezed into the back of the truck (4 eventually rode inside), that was a good thing! Continue reading
Of 200 books read in 2016, here are my VGRs:
Crooked Heart, by Lissa Evans: This was an excellent book set during WWII in London. Noel, aged 10, has been living with his godmother Mattie, a former suffragette with an unconventional lifestyle. When she dies, Noel is evacuated to the suburbs and is taken in by Vera, a woman in her mid-30s with a very messy life. Together, they come up with an unscrupulous scheme to get money and form an unlikely and lovely friendship. Continue reading