From Bangkok I flew to Chiang Mai (my) then took a bus to Chiang Rai (rye).
Chiang Mai was heaven after Bangkok. With its compact one-square mile old town surrounded by its moats, it was very walkable.
My hotel is down one of side lanes that are very pedestrian friendly.
And you couldn’t two blocks without seeing another temple!
Wat Chedi Luang is one the most important and beautiful. You can see the old chedi, or stupa, in the back. It was built from 1385-1402 but an earthquake in 1545 reduced it size by half.
Wat Phra Singh is also very gorgeous, although the wax figures are just too real looking! I was ready for one to start talking 😳
Valerie with the Reclining Buddha. We met at the airport in Bangkok, waiting for our flight to Chiang Mai. She is renting an apartment for two months, which I’ve found is very popular here.
Dress code for the temples – shoes off, shoulders and knees covered. I carry a scarf if I’m wearing a tank top, but that wasn’t enough for the Royal Palace in Bangkok and I had to buy a t-shirt. They also did a thriving business selling ‘Temple pants’ which are ubiquitous here.
I’m also fascinated by luggage. Some people are hauling suitcases the size of a small car. This fellow had a 75L pack with a 30L on front.
I’m happy I’m only carrying a 40L! Heavy enough.
A speciality of northern Thailand is Khao Soi Gan, a curry soup with chicken, boiled and fried egg noodles. I’ve been on a mission to find the best!
And besides tasting so good, all these dishes only cost $2-3 if you pick a local place.
Of course, green curry is great too
And East Indian veg curry and naan
Fried wide rice noodles with chicken and egg, for breakfast
Chicken noodle soup, for breakfast!
Mango and coconut sticky rice
Butterfly Pea is a blue flower which is used for beverages and some amazing rice paper wrappers!
I haven’t been eating the whole time, but I’ve been in Thailand for 15 days!
From Chiang Mai I visited an elephant rescue farm. They have six elephants that have come from logging and riding companies, as well as two young ones. It was very fun day as we fed them bananas and sugar cane, walked with them as they snacked on leaves (it’s a full time job eating), then washed them in the lake.
I started out nice and clean!
Then it was a four hour bus trip to Chiang Rai. Not as easy to love, but it grew on me.
‘Must-see’ sites were quite a distance from downtown, but I did the ‘white, black & blue’ tour.
I took a local bus 30 minutes to reach the Wat Rong Khun, the ‘White Temple’.
A bit blingy, but amazing paintings inside (no photos allowed).
I hired a taxi to reach Baan Dam, the ‘Black House’ museum, the work of Thawan Duchanee. It is a large property with many buildings, all very amazing!
Then I went to Wat Rong Seur Ten, the ‘Blue Temple’. No explanation needed.
Then it was back to Chiang Mai for a few days and more temples with Valerie.
So farewell to Thailand!
I fly to Mandalay, Myanmar tomorrow.