Saturday, January 07, 2006

Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai: Day 3

We started the morning with breakfast at a coffeeshop, then headed off to check out the nearby hilltribe villages. A serene morning mist enveloped most of the mountain, creating a dream-like atmosphere.

Thailand-Myanmar Border

Our first destination was the Thai-Burmese border.

The gate you see behind us supposedly leads to the no-man-zone between Thailand and Myanmar.

Hilltribe Village

Next stop was a hilltribe village, where some children and a very persistant old lady tried to sell us handicrafts. Here you see bargain-hunting Bangkokians negotiating with an innocent little village girl.

Thanathon Orange Orchard

It was going to be a long ride to our next destination, so on the way we stopped at an orange orchard not far from the town of Fang.

The Thanathon Orchard people were so proud of their work that they offered a guided tour, complete with tour-boat! The tour-boat had "Thanathon Orchard" jingles playing over the speakers - I kid you not!

I had at least 2 glasses of fresh orange juice, good for building up resistance against any flu bugs that might have been going round. We had lunch at the orchard (more sticky rice for me).

Doi Tung: Royal Villa

Many Thais call Doi Tung "Switzerland in Thailand" because of the cool weather and visible mountains. A villa was built for the late Princess Mother, who lived a large part of her life in Switzerland. These days, the villa has become a well maintained and popular tourist attraction.

Photography was not allowed inside the villa.

Views from the varendah.

View from the garden, looking down onto the plains.

Garden at the entrace to the villa.

The "Tung", a small roundabout at Doi Tung. Surprisingly, the temperature at Doi Tung was not as cold as we expected, but still cooler than normal.

Mae Fah Luang Garden

A beautiful garden filled with decorative flowering plants, located on the hillside just below the Royal Villa.

Long Ride to Phu Chi Fa

We could not stay as long as we wanted to at Doi Tung, because we had a long ride ahead of us to Phu Chi Fa at the eastern end of Chiang Rai province.

Some pictures of the usual suspects inside our van:

Phu Chi Fa

We reached our destination - a small town near the peak of Phu Chi Fa - after sunset. We had dinner and rested there for the night. This town had the coldest climate so far.

Even the man from the land of cold winters was shivering. Actually, he was supposedly feeling colder than the rest of us...

We somehow managed to find a stall selling roti! The owner said he was from Pakistan! Wow, from Pakistan all the way to Doi Tung on the border of Thailand and Laos. Thats a long way to go to sell roti!

Continue to Day 4 /Back to Day 2 / Back to Prologue