Saturday, January 07, 2006

Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai: Day 4

We woke up at 4am again today, and headed to the peak of Phu Chi Fa to catch the sunrise. The intention was to walk there, but about a quarter-way through, we found the climb too steep to comfortably walk. Most of us chickened out and flagged down a pickup.

Sunrise at Phu Chi Fa

Phu Chi Fa is an amazing place, at the edge of the Thai-Laos border. The top part of the cliff is on the Thai side of the border, and the drop-off leads into the mountains of Laos.

Looking east, the heat from the rising sun is causing the mist to move towards us on the Thai side.


The gang went photo-crazy, while I set up my tripod to catch some shots.

Just before the sun crossed the horizon.

There she is! Good morning Thailand!

Mountains of the Luang Prabang range on the Laotian side.

Sunshine on the mountains on the Thai side.

My very own tripod girl! :)

The entire gang.

Phu Chi Fa literally means "mountain pointing to the sky".

After a short walk down to the waiting area, we headed back to the little huts where we spent the night before.

We managed to squeeze 4 people into each of these huts, but there were only 2 vacant units, so 2 of us had to sleep in a tent. Judging from the snoring coming from the huts, the tent might have been the better option. :p

We packed our stuff and headed off, byebye Phu Chi Fa! We had a long ride back to Chiang Mai ahead of us.

Wat Rong Khun

On our way back to Chiang Mai, we stopped over at Wat Rong Khun, one of the most unique temples in Thailand.

This temple is different because it was designed, financed and is still being built by a famous artist named Chalermchai Kositpipat.

Supposedly, the artist is an extreme character and quite a drama queen. It shows in his designs.

The temple houses one of the most beautiful hand-painted Buddha images in Thailand.

Lunch at Chiang Mai - Khao Soi

After a few hours' drive, we were back in Chiang Mai. Anyone who visits Chiang Mai has to try out one of the famous local delicacies - "Khao Soi" - egg noodles in a coconut curry type of soup. I first tried the dish in Bangkok many years ago, but the Chiang Mai one is much more aroy!

Award winning stuff (I presume)!

Shopping in Chiang Mai

We had a few hours to go before our train was scheduled to depart, so the van driver dropped us off at one of the markets near Chinatown for some last-minute shopping.

Train Station

Our journey had come to an end, and we headed back to Bangkok by overnight train. The ride was surprisingly comfortable since we had sleeping bunks. I slept all the way till morning. A perfect end to 4 wonderfully packed days.

Back to Day 3 / Back to Prologue