Chiang Mai, Thailand
18° 47' N 99° 0' E
Dec 19, 2007 06:40
Distance 585km

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Temple and Long Neck Kingdom

Possibly one of the worst bus journeys I've had.. 12 hours and a dodgy curry later (not what you're thinking) and i'm in Chiang Mai. We arrived at 6am and were dumped at a petrol station out of town so that we had no choice but to get the free taxi they gave us that could only drop us at the tourist information centre where they tried to sell us accommodation and trips. I told them where I was staying at the girl told me it was 300 bhat to get there (it only ended up costing me 20Baht). They do this so you stay at their accommodation. I stayed at the office for about 20 minutes then scooted off. Natalie, a French girl that doesn't speak very much English, came with me. She was slightly lost so I brushed up on my French skills whilst trying to navigate our way to a hostel she was looking for. After a couple of hours making our way through the piping hot streets of Chiang Mai we managed to find her somewhere to stay.. and I hopped on a bus to my hostel which is a bit further out. Which I have come to realise is the key for a great hostel. The proximity to the city centre means cheaper rent (etc.) = cleaner, a lot bigger and the facilities are great. So it's worth the extra hassle.

I've settled myself in and plan on visiting a few temples in the next few days.. shall keep you updated!

.... Update...... Have been struck down with another virus.  Have been bed/couch ridden for the past 3 days.  I'm not happy bunny at all as I've missed out on my treks and camping expeditions.  I reckon I've either been very unlucky or I'm just extremely susceptible (which doesn't bode well for me over the next few weeks but what can you do!).  I've been kept entertained though as folk from the hostel have been putting up Christmas deccies!!!

I've been feeling slightly better today so headed out to see some temples.  They are stunning and so peaceful.. I could have stayed there all day.  I was blessed by the monks and given a good luck cotton bracelet that you shouldn't take off for 3 days to experience good luck.. it's apparently called a 'holy love bracelet'.  We then made our way back down the very windy road to a nearby lake where we lay in the sun, and had some lunch.  One of the guys (and I feel sick even writing this) ordered fresh shrimp.  When he took the lid off the bowl, I don't think he expected them to jump out.  Literally.  They were tiny, transparent shrimp that were still alive sitting in a chili and basil marinade.  I know I should have been game to try but I seriously could not stomach it.  He managed a few mouthfuls, mainly by chomping down hard and downing lots of water (he said they were jumping around in his mouth and he could feel their heads on his tongue.. oh dear lord).  All I can say is.. it definitely did not help my dodgy tummy. 



Photos / videos of "Temple and Long Neck Kingdom":

View from my red bus/truck The moat that runs round the City Centre of Chiang Mai Getting into the Christmas spirit Sunday night market Night market Beautiful (cheap!) jewelry from the markets View of the moat from the market Stalls at the night market One of the many shrines Night market Suandok Temple Sleepy dog Pong (the hostel owner) A monk, with burial grounds in the background that hold the ashes to past royalty View of Doi Suthep Temple from Chiang Mai City Shops on the mountain beside Doi Suthep Cock-fighting ring The fighting cocks Steps leading to Doi Suthep Temple Thai girls outside the Temple Thai girl Cute Thai girl Thai girls Me at the bottom of the steps to the Temple Dragon leading up the stairs Doi Suthep Doi Suthep Temple White Elephant - symbol of the white elephant King Kuena used to carry a relic of the Lord Buddha to the Temple. Doi Suthep Temple Row of bells for people to ring at the Temple Young Chinese girl ringing the bells Doi Suthep Temple Doi Suthep Temple View of Chiang Mai from the Temple Me overlooking Chiang Mai Statue (love the sign below - the statue was made to resemble a mother!) Doi Suthep Temple Candles Me rubbing the buddha's belly for good luck Beautiful Doi Suthep Temple Blessing Candles Saturday's Buddha.. there is one for every day of the week that refers to the day on which you were born Me in front of my Saturday Buddha Praying Green Buddha in the Doi Suthep Temple Me with my flowers, incense and candles for the Temple  Lighting the incense Lighting candles The monk tying the bracelet to my wrist A tree that's over 2000 years old ML, Rod, Ryan, Pong and at the restaurant at the lake Dan, Taka and Scott Thai version of the family hatchback