The original intent was to go to Thailand so that I could take a day trip to Singapore to retrieve my ukulele that I had forgotten in my hotel room in Kuala Lumpur. Once we started to plan the Thailand trip, it was not going to be that easy to go back to Singapore, mostly because of time. It all worked out in the end, but that is a story for another blog. Glad we decided to go mainly to Chiang Mai. It is a great little city, more relaxed than Bangkok, and you didn't feel like everyone was trying to get money from you.
I really loved this place, the Free Bird Cafe. As the sign says, it's a "cafe with a cause" - vegan/vegetarian with proceeds going to refugee educational programs.
After breakfast, we just roamed. Happened upon this temple, (they're everywhere!) the Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang. They're ornate, and I'm sure full of significance, but even if you don't quite know the meaning, these temples exude some kind of reverence. Something.
Outside the temple, he spoke to a tuktuk driver, who took us to the Chang Sanctuary office, to check on if we wanted to do this tour. (We didn't) Then, he took us to the Silver temple, Wat Sri Suphan, and then the Ping River, where Dr. Yat said we would find interesting as people bring offerings and pray. All this for 100 Baht. Seemed very reasonable. Afterwards we wondered if there was a system of referrals going on without our knowledge. We ended up not signing up for the Elephant Sanctuary, and though the driver brought us to the river cruise, we didn't book it. So if we had, perhaps, they would have gotten a commission. Was he really a vet? I choose to say yes, though someone more cynical may say I'm naive. I was glad for those tips, the silver temple and the river offerings.
Didn't take that many pictures at the Ping River. It seemed rude to disturb the ritual. But here's a few.
We ended the day at a spa! Long, beautiful first day.
I have traveled quite a bit, and am using this page to record some memories. Travel is a wonderful education, expanding your view of the world, of other cultures, of the beauty of diversity.