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Monday, October 20, 2008

Chiang Mai trip post mortem - Day 3

After bunking in reasonably late the previous night, we had to start early the next day. By early, i mean we are leaving the hotel at around 630am. Woke up at about 6, wash up, had a quick bite and we were ready to go. Reason we leaving to early- we are heading to the border between Thailand and Myanmar to visit the landmarks along the journey; which takes about a 3 hour- non-stop drive from Chiang Mai to the border. ( Think KL to Ipoh...but further). I totally screwed up today. Those pictures were mostly taken with my trusty ol' K810i. For some apparent reason, i forgot to charge up my phone thus i only have 50% battery to work with for the entire day. Crud.

Having very little sleep, i took the opportunity while in the van to get some shut eye. The bumpy ride seems not to bother my tired self from getting a short nap; before being woken up at our 1st stop...the hot spring. I totally lost track of time, but if I'm not mistaken it should be sometime between 830 to 9.

The hot spring is actually quite a nice place to sit back and relax. The boiling sulfuric water along with some cool breeze. Truly relaxing. However, we only had time to only enjoy the view and cool breeze, while taking in some sulfuric scent whilst taking pictures. No time to really kick back and relax in the hot spring - although its only for us to dip our feet in.

You have not visited Thailand if you have not seen the HIGEST hotspring here.

After the pictures and some short shopping, we then head on our journey...meaning more sleep time. Before long we arrived at our next destination, just about when i was about to snooze off...sigh.

Next stop, Wat Rong Khun. No idea what it really means but i will remember it as the White Temple. This is really one of the highlights of this trip and i really wanted to look at it up close. Unfortunately, certain part of the complex it still under construction or maintenance; thus we were unable to fully captivate the beauty of this landmark. The cravings and design of this place is so detailed, making it special in its own way.

The next one should give you an idea how huge this part of the complex is....

These sculptures are lined with mirrors which actually reflects the sunlight; thus making the whole complex looks really white. And, its hard to believe that building behind us is actually the toilet..

What goes better on a hot sunny day than an ice cream? Don't you agree. There is this store nearby which sells coconut ice cream for like 10Baht(RM1) per cup. 3 Scoops of cool sweet coconut ice cream, along with some glutinous rice, fried peanuts and topped with some condensed milk. Almost like the one i had in Penang. But only a hot day, anything cold goes.

We then proceed to visit the hill tribe villages which had people from the long neck tribe, palong tribe ( huge ears) and 3 or 4 other which i dont recall their names. For this, we need to add another 500Baht (RM50). But since we are here and we cant get this anywhere else except on NatGeo or Discovery Channel, so what the heck...

the real deal....These women actually adds a ring to the neck every year till they are 45.

the not-so-real deal...

These dolls really looked very SALAH at first sight. but upon reading some stuff, they are actually the villagers belief of spirits that protects them.

After hiking a huge circle around the village, we finally made our move for lunch along the river at the Golden Triangle. The golden what? The golden triangle...its not really a triangle. Its more of the shape of a Y; and across the river is Laos and Myanmar. So if you wanna lari from Thailand all you need to do is swim; which is not advisable as god knows what is in the river or just rent or steal a boat.

We had lunch there as well. Nothing special. Egg fried with cucumber, stir fried vege, thai style fish, meat rolls and a supposed tom yam which tasted like sup ayam that we can get from mamak. Another disappointing meal. sigh

That piece of land you see behind this picture, is indeed Laos. Now swim across that.
I remember once watching on NatGeo; where a group of explorers went on to trace the source of the Mekong. It turn out that the source is no bigger that a top of a mineral bottle and the water is actually trickling its way out. How on earth did it became so freaking huge?

Further on was this temple which housed a huge golden buddha statue; which of course attracted lots of tourist. Its made to look like a boat sailing along the river.

From the following picture, you can see Myanmar ( left), Laos (right) and China (mountains at the back)

We then later move on to the border between Thailand and Myanmar.

Nothing much here except shops that sells trinkets and food, and a whole lot of beggars. We did not really do much here as it was raining. One tip, DO NOT give them anything. This may sound cruel, but unless u fancy a whole mob of them mobbing you, be my guest. There's this kid who actually blocked the entrance of 7-11, preventing us from getting out; unless we gave some cash to him. When we finally got out, he followed us and actually tapped my arm, demanding for some cash. I was like WTF... its amazing these 'mothers' can have such young kids even though they can't seem to feed themselves

Once we got that sorted out, time for a long long journey back to Chiang Mai. About 3 hours, excluding our stop for dinner which i would say was terrible, and toilet breaks. Dinner was, black chicken soup, tofu fried with black beans which was overly peppered and extremely salty, fried vege, extremely tough pork knuckles. Consolation was, they do sell some titbits there which helped us fill our stomachs or at least help us forget that meal....for me at least.

We finally got back to the hotel for some much needed rest, before heading out to get some booze and a final stroll at the bazaar. Speaking of booze, those here are really cheap; and i mean CHEAP. 1 small bottle of Heineken only cost you 39Baht ( Rm3.90) which is cheaper than a cup for fruit juice around there. For 45Baht (RM4.50) you can get Bacardi Lime and for 59Baht(RM5.90) you can get a small bottle of Johnie Walkers. I now feel cheated whenever i buy alcohol from the nearby 7-11.

Went on to get some titbits, and at last i found something that will help me fulfill one of my initial purpose in this trip. Eat a bug. Its nothing to eccentric, just a fried bamboo worm.

It tasted kinda funky at first, a bit like chicken and also slightly powdery near the end. That's the yucky part. At least its not juicy and had stuff oozing out as i bite. I wanted to have fried grasshoppers at first but can't seem to find a store selling them.

Moved on for some Thai massage later on for 140Baht(RM14) for an hour of leg, back , neck, shoulder and head massage. It was really refreshing and relaxing after walking for a good part of the day. Went on to grab some chips, McDs before heading back for the booze.
Slept at almost 3am after drinking and we need to be up by 7 or 8 to wash up and have breakfast before reachin the airport at 9+...great...Anyway...

I'm Lovin' it. Thai style.

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