A Travellerspoint blog

March 2008

Day 11, Chiang Mai - Bangkok


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A whole day off!! Well until 16.30pm. After 10 days we could finally sleep until at least 8am!!
That day we went shopping. There were a few shopping malls, and we visited both of them. First we went to Kad Suan Kaew, later to Central Aiport Plaza. It was fun The first ne was nicer, but it only had one floor you could actually shop. The second one was just too big....with a lot of the same things, but still very fun to look around.

So we got back to the hotel in time, and left with mini vans to the Chiang Mai Railway Station. The train was already there and we were an hour early, so we stopped by the 7/11 and got a few things to eat. In the train we got a dinnerbox, with a few sandwiches, a muffin and some fruit.
Our Dutch guide thought of a good April fool's joke...he told everyone the train had a 4 hour delay because somthing was wrong with the locomotive...everyone believed him (you would too if you saw the train) and no one thought of the date. So everyone was a bit down until he said it was a joke. We left at 6pm, back towards Bangkok where we would arrive around 7 am next day.

i wasn't hungry so that night i ate one sandwich...i ate the rest at breakfast the next day. At around 9pm we left for the ...restaurant...the wagon where drinks were served. Allmost the entire group was there except for a few who stayed behind at the sleepingwagon. W had a lot of fun and laughs, until the personnel kicked us out at 10.30pm. And so everyone went to sleep. Somewhat, or at least trying to. The sort of wake-up call was at 5.30...
Everyone was quite awake though...and glad when we could leave the train around 7.30 am. We had breakfast at a hotel closeby Bacgkok Railway Station and after that we got into the buses that would take us to our hotels, in our case Jomtien Grand Palace.

Posted by Astreia 17:00 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Day 10, A bike ride and the goodbye dinner


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large_938978_12093264638246.jpg For today there was planned a bike ride around Chiang Mai. It started out a bit cloudy and when we started riding it even rained a tiny little bit. After about 5 minutes it was dry again though. After we crossed some busy highways we got to quiet roads. The first part was pretty flat so there wasn't any problem there. We all rode in a long line behind each other. First we visited the Tribal Museuam, where we could view the traditional clothes, music instruments etc of the different hilltribes.
We continued our ride 10 minutes later. Unfortunately we didn't have much opportunity to look around, everyone was more busy looking out for traffic and the person who rode in front of you, and the way you had to go. It was quite an experience...Later that time we stopped at a crematory, where it was explained why the Thai believed in cremation more than burial.large_938978_12093264645739.jpgIced Chocolate!!

We stopped a couple of times, also to have something to eat in a little bamboohut near a lake. It was a very pretty view and the bananas, ricecookies and pineaplle tasted delicious.

On a side note if you visit Thailand, try the Iced Chocolate. It's heaven...if you like chocolate ;) Just don't try it in grand Jomtien Palace because that's just bad...like water and cacaopowder...:X

We got back at the hotel around one o'clock...lunchtime ;) After that we had some time off and pack our luggage...We said goodbye to the busboy and chauffeur at around 5 and left shortly after for a great two hour during Thai-massage. Felt really rested after that. That night we also had a sort of goodbye dinner because the next day we would go back to Bangkok and to our 'beach hotels' from there. And not everyone went to the same hotel. We went to the Chiang Mai Nightmarket for the last time.

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Day 9, Elephants!


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large_938978_12093268984704.jpg Today was the big day...on the elephant!!! Something i looked forward to the entire vacation. First we had another surprise-stop, this time at a butterfly and orchidfarm/garden. It was beautiful!! A lot of pretty butterflies, and after that a very big greenhouse with rows full of beautiful colored orchids. I really liked looking around there. And made a lot of pictures in the proces.

So on to the elephant camp. First we could look around a bit and feed the elephants. It was 20 Baht for a bunch of banana's...which the larger ones ate in one or two times. It was nice to feed them. I never knew elephant trunks had hairs on it....the little ones have straight standing hairs on their heads too, it was just soooo adorable!!! After that some of the elephants got a bath in a pool closeby, and later we got to see an elephant show.large_938978_12093269012334.jpgFeeding the little one :)We saw them dragging logs, placing the logs on a pile, that sort of things. They also danced, sat up, and one even painted three flowers :) After that we could go on an elephant ride. Elephants are higher then i thought...it was a bit scary to get into the chair, but the ride, which took about an hour, was awesome!! We went through the jungle, through rivers, bushes, over hills, it was great!! And elephants really don't smell as much as people say they do.

When we returned to the elephant camp we could go on a bamboo raft over the river. That was nice, but it took to long and after 10 minutes it got a little boring. So i don't know how long we've been on that raft, but it seemed like half an hour or so....Next ride was in a cart. A cart with oxes in front of it (who did smell pretty bad).large_938978_12093274454844.jpgAll the way up...It was a bumpy road, also nice but as said bit smelly ;) And then it was lunch time!! We also could buy pictures that were made when we were on the elephants. In a nice frame with elephants on the sides.

Then we went on to the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. It was quite the ride, up the mountain. 12 km up to be exact. Our guide told us the monks walked all the way up. When we got there we had the choice between the cableride or walking up the 306 steps counting stairs. I choose the stairs ;) I mean i walked the Great Wall!! No way i'm not going to walk up normal stairs! After i got to the top it appeared my physical condition is a bit behind ;) But i got there lol. We had to take of our shoes before we could enter the temple. We got a tour, and had a while to look around on ourselves after that.large_938978_12093274458171.jpg We also were blessed by one of the oldest female monks. The men were blessed by a male monk, but our Thai guide was a bit superstitious so we had to wait for a female monk.

We left the temple a short while later to look at all the stalls. There were a whole bunch of them and shopped a lot there ;). The had things that we hadn't seen anywhere else. Minor point was when we left for our bus. Another bus with college students crashed the same way we had to go down the mountain. The driver, who was pretty new, made a wrong estimation for a turn and crashed a few metres down the mountain. It had rained so it was a bit slippery apparantly....It was a scary sight to see a bus hanging down a side of a mountain. Later it appeared there were 18 students and the driver who died at the accident and a lot of wounded. It was a sad end of the day then...

At night we had a traditional Khantoke dinner. Well the dinner was ok, some things were really spicy. The show was very nice to see.

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Day 8, Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai


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This was a day we didn't see much, we left for Chiang Mai in the morning, where we would stay for 3 days. We had two coffeestops and arrived at about 12 o'clock in the Chiang Mai Grand View hotel.

We visited the famous Gem Gallery of Chiang Mai. It was beautiful. We saw how the jewelry was made and how the gems were placed. We also saw how the jade statues were made, how they were shaped, and got a little explanation about the different types of jade. Felt a little bit like being back in China when we had to go to a Jade State Shop....but fun to see :)

I bought a ring and a bracelet...silver...gold was very scary expensive...and then people said it was cheaper here then somewhere else...they must've been rich. After that we visited a factory where they made fans and parasols in a lot of different sizes, and went to a silkfactory. Next to the 'Silk Village' was a jade store, so we took a look there...we had time left anyway. Only not so nice was that there were Thai people running after you following every step and trying to sell everything you looked at...Got a bit annoying after a while. But i guess that's what they think of as customer service.

That evening we went to a Dutch/Belgium restuarant with the whole group. It was nice to have fries instead of rice....And after that it was to the Nigth Market!!! It was fun! Finally shopping time! Four of us had a drink at the end of it, my first cocktail that vacation, a Blue Ocean. We left for the hotel after that. We chose to get a tuk-tuk. Those things are fun!! I mean the driver raced through the streets practically, but it was pretty hilarious.

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Day 7, Chiang Rai


View Beautiful Northern Thailand on Astreia's travel map.

large_938978_12094079034516.jpg Today we'd pay a visit to the local tribes that live in the most Northern province, close to Chiang Rai. First we had to go into little mini-vans. It was to steep for our bus to go there, and too many turns. after a nice ride through the mountains we got to the first tribe, the Akha-tribe. they are among one of the poorest tribes. They live in little bamboo or wooden huts. Funny thing was they did have a tv. Well the leader had one. We got a little tour around the village. Animals were running all over the place, dogs, chickens, even little pigs.

We gave mainly food to the people there, milk, packages for noodlesoup. We also bought things from the little stands there. The necklaces and bracelets were beautiful! A lot of women were pregnant, and the ones who weren't had babies.large_938978_12094079027790.jpg There were a lot of children around....really cute.
We went on to the Lahu tribe. These were a little wealthier. They lived in a bit more luxury compared to the Akhu-tribe. But instead of a view we only got through a sort of improvised street with stands, nothing more. So the Akhu-tribe was more interesting to spend time.

We went to have lunch in a beautiful garden, and after that we went to the Golden Triangle. We went on a boat and saw Birma, Laos and Thailand from the Mekong-river. We even went on land in Laos for a while where we could shop around a bit. It was nice to do because we haven't had much time to shop during the days we have been on our trip. So later on we went back to Thailand. We also saw very small wooden fisherman's huts...it was a bit of an upsetting site to see how people lived on the shore of the river.

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