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Exploring outside Chiang Mai

Slept well until 7.15 and Nathan until 8.30 am. Packed our bags ready to fly out and had my favourite Thai omelette on rice for brekky and Nathan his baked beans and eggs on toast. We paid our bill for 4 nights and one lot of laundry 7199B ($250). We will pick up all our laundry from the trek this afternoon. I called Thai Air and changed our flight from 7.15 pm to 5.15 pm seeing as we haven't yet booked a hotel for tonight.

We walked across the bridge and organized a songthaew for the day to take us to Doi Suthep, back to the guesthouse to pick up our bags and then to the airport for 700B ($25). He started at 1000B and we agreed on 700. He is very little and sweet but knows very little English.

We drove up to the temple at Doi Suthep which takes about half an hour and has a view over Chiang Mai but it is quite hazy. Doi Suthep is the highest mountain in Thailand. We walked up the 306 steps past the dragons and their tails making the handrail up to the top. There are so many people here most of them Buddhists coming to worship. We paid 30B to get in and then had to take off our shoes to go into the inner courtyard around the totally gold plated chedi. It is 79 feet high and 39 feet across its base and covered with engraved gold plate. On the platform around the Golden Chedi are 4 ornamental umbrellas decorated in gold filigree. Buddhists buy tulips and incense sticks and walk around it and stop at Buddha like chapels to chant and make offerings, burn candles and ring the big bells on the wall outside. This was Wat Prathat and dates from the 16th century.

Rules are –

1. Dress politely, do not wear shorts.

2. Show respect in the temple.

3. Take off your shoes.

4. Keep your head lower than monks and Buddha images.

5. Don’t touch Buddha images.

6. Don’t display affection for another person in public.

7. Always keep clean.

It was very crowded and after a quick look around we descended the steps and looked around the stalls at the bottom. We paid 3B for a toilet each – have mastered the squatting pans! Tried a banana in a waffle for 10B which was nice.

Out on the road a big elephant was being led down the road, so we followed it. He started to hose it and then got it to kneel down and then lie down while he washed it. It had the biggest doodle. Nathan and I had a good laugh. He then made it get up – it was so hard for him and he was so cumbersome and then repeated the whole process on the other side. He then gave him the running hose which he put in his mouth to drink. He put a metal hook behind his ear to lead him up the road where he was chained on a small length of chain. That part was so cruel.

We found our driver and asked him to stop at Mon Tha Than Waterfall on the way down. It is in a National Park – paid 200B entrance fee ($6). It is a 9-tiered waterfall in a beautiful evergreen and bamboo forest. We climbed up a bit and saw 4 levels. It was very beautiful – would have loved to keep walking but wasn’t sure how much time we’d have.

Asked him to take us to the Whole Earth Vegetarian Restaurant back in Chiang Mai. It is very nice with a balcony area overlooking a garden area to eat in. We sat up on the balcony. We both had a mango juice. Nathan had squid and tempura and I had a vegetable curry in a banana leaf bowl. It was 400B, $14, more expensive but the food was the best I have ever had.

We then went back to pick up our bags and say goodbye to Pepsi , the waiter and bagman. He was always so sweet and bowed so much that he walked around bobbing!

Felt sad to leave Chiang Mai – loved trekking and meeting the hill tribe people. Flew to Bangkok and went looking for a hotel counter. Had the Ebina House recommended to us – 3690B including dinner and transfers tonight and tomorrow as we have to be at the airport at 6 am and it is only ten minutes from the airport. Got there and it is a nasty room and we had a nasty dinner. Decided to tell them I wasn’t happy with the room so they moved us to a bigger room that was just as dodgy and the balcony door wouldn’t lock . It didn’t get fixed until 10.30pm and all we wanted to do was to go to sleep.

Songthaew we hired

Songthaew we hired


Lots of steps to the top

Lots of steps to the top


Nath having a rest

Nath having a rest


Lots of gold at this wat

Lots of gold at this wat


Nath at the wat

Nath at the wat


Me at the wat

Me at the wat


Elephant having a bath

Elephant having a bath


Lying down to be hosed

Lying down to be hosed


So cumbersome

So cumbersome


Enjoying a drink

Enjoying a drink


Up he gets

Up he gets


Waterfalls

Waterfalls


Nath

Nath


me

me


Beautiful walk to waterfalls

Beautiful walk to waterfalls


Nath in Nat Park

Nath in Nat Park


Nath is taller than our driver

Nath is taller than our driver


Park sign

Park sign


Riding on back of songthaew

Riding on back of songthaew


Mango drinks

Mango drinks


Nath with his calamari

Nath with his calamari


Best curry

Best curry


Whole Earth Restaurant

Whole Earth Restaurant


Nath saying goodbye to Pepsi

Nath saying goodbye to Pepsi


Songthaew to airport

Songthaew to airport

Posted by hillbillyramsey 17:00 Archived in Thailand

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