Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Chiangmai Day 1

After a 3-hour flight, we finally arrived in Chiangmai, a beautiful city in Northern Thailand characterized largely by forested mountains, where working elephants are still used in forest management. This mountainous region is also home to Thailand's many colorful hilltribe people.

We’ve always been curious about the weather, wondering if it’ll be too cold to run in the marathon. As it turns out, December is the coldest time to visit the highlands, where temperature dips to 3C at night. Daytime temperature is very comfortable hovering around 21C. It’s much warmer in the city.

We spent the first morning playing tourist. The driver picked us up from the airport and brought us straight to the elephant camp up in the mountains. “You must catch the elephant show”, he insisted. Watching elephants performing circus tricks, dancing, painting pictures and kicking football is not exactly something we enjoy doing very much, but we walked out of there with renewed respect and admiration for these intelligent creatures. That said, we would prefer to see these gentle giants in their natural environment, frolicking by the stream, grazing or rolling in mud, in other words, not being forced into submission.


These elephants deliver powerful goals!

They can paint too!

In fact, they are better artists than I am!
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Next, we stopped by Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden which majestically spreads over 960 ha and boasts a beautiful landscaped garden amidst verdant plains and imposing mountains. It is home to many rare and endangered plant species, particularly those indigenous to Thailand. We spent an hour taking in the natural environment, myriad of colors and scents from the beautiful flowers.

An imposing bottle tree.

Petunias thrive in the cool climate.

After lunch at a beautiful restaurant overlooking a waterfall, we visited a Hmong hilltribe village. Hmong houses are built on the ground in clusters, with several clusters forming a village. The Hmongs wear jackets made of black cloth decorated with elaborate embroidery and use silver both for adornment and as a show of wealth.

Intricately embroided cushion covers for sale.

Hmong kids playing in the sun. They indulge in simple games and activities.



After roaming about all morning, it was time to check into our room at the Proud Phufah Resort. The resort is beautiful in every sense. I love the little details and personalised touches evident throughout the entire resort. Going there is like coming back to a cosy home. We felt so relaxed and comfortable, we spent the rest of the day just chilling out in the tranquility.






The morning mist outside the resort.




At night, we watched the staff light up Khoom Fay - traditional Thai hot air lanterns. Watching them ascending gracefully in the night was such an amazing sight, it took our breath away!

8 comments:

Charlie Hotel said...

Wow, you describe it so vividly I feel like I was right there.
Oh wait, I was...

The Real Mother Hen said...

I like Chiangmai :)
Why is there a naked big fat man statue in the resort? Ah, it must be for the honeymoon couples wanting to make babies...

JYankee said...

Ha ha..that's cool.. I love the bed...did you have a lot of fun in it??? Ooops..did I just say that? Bad Jyankee....

Blur Ting said...

There's a honeymoon suite too, at a higher price of course. Well, JY, it's definitely good for sleeping.

Loz said...

I will be spending three weeks in Thailand in February which will include a trip to Chiang Mai. You have certainly whetted my appetite Blur.

Blur Ting said...

Oh Great Loz! You must keep reading cos I will be posting about the city and water rafting adventure soon.

Amel's Realm said...

Boy, oh, boy...sounds like a GREAT trip, esp. the Phu Fah he he he he he...

The World According to Me said...

Amazing pictures! I can't stop looking at them!

I didn't know Elephants could paint!