Monday, 9 December 2019

Visiting Temples in Chiang Rai

I wonder could i skip writing about Chiang Rai. I did not really do much here but visit temples after temples after temples.

White temple, blue temple, black temple, big Buddha statue temple. I did an average of three things a day which took maybe 4 hours and called it a day going back to the hostel for rest. Fatigue was really getting to me after running a fast pace from the Mae Hong Son Loop to Doi Angkang and up to Doi Mae Salong loop. 

Wat Rong Khun - White Temple - Chiang Rai 

Wat Rong Khun - White Temple - Chiang Rai

Wat Rong Khun - White Temple - Chiang Rai 

Chiang Rai was one place where I felt it was the time to slow down a bit before hitting the next leg in Laos. I wonder how some of the tour buses just shuttle all the tourist from one temple to another making the day trip seamed like a photo-shoot or joystick planting obligation instead of immersing into the thousands of hours that the craftsman put into slowly fine tuning every details that were in the temples. 

Wat Huey Pla Kang - Chiang Rai

Wat Huey Pla Kang - Chiang Rai 

Wat Huey Pla Kang - Chiang Rai 

Wat Rong Suea Ten - Blue Temple - Chiang Rai 

Wat Rong Suea Ten - Blue Temple - Chiang Rai 

Wat Rong Suea Ten - Blue Temple - Chiang Rai 

Black House - Chiang Rai 

Black House - Chiang Rai 
Night time was another chaos in Chiang Rai. I was lucky enough to be there during the weekend to catch the famous local night market every Saturday which ran a few kilometers long. They sold everything and anything they could think off and the walk was definitely more interesting than the permanent tourist night bazaar which was full of souvenir trinkets.
Chiang Rai Night Bazaar

Souvenir at Chiang Rai Night Bazaar 

Mural at Chiang Rai Bus Station 
Traveled on: Jan 2019

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

An Akha Legend About the Origin of Opium

Extract taken from 212 House of Opium – Golden Triangle Thailand 

Akha Legend Version 1 

There is an old Akha legend about the origin of opium

A long time ago there was a young girl so beautiful that she has many suitors 

Of all these, seven men impressed her

Then one day all seven men came to ask for her hand in marriage

The girl did not want to choose one from among them for fear of making the others sad and jealous

She therefore decided to make love to all seven men

Even though she knew that it would surely cause her death
she was happy to make this sacrifice

When she could endure it no more she asked for death and to be reincarnated as a beautiful flower

Before dying she told her relative to take good care of her grave, on which a beautiful flower would grow up from her heart. 

She said that whoever tasted the flower’s sap would like it and want more but that it would bear both good and evil 

Akha Legend Version 2 

A long time ago there was a young Akha girl who was very beautiful but who had such bad body odour that no men would come near her. 

She therefore had such a sad lonely life that she died brokenhearted 

Before dying she made a wish and asked her fellow villagers to take good care of her grave 

Later a beautiful flower grew up from her grave 

When anyone tried its sap they would want to taste it again and again but this sap, apart from giving amazing pleasure, it also cause terrible suffering

Monday, 4 November 2019

A Lua Tribe Legend on the Origin of Tobacco and Opium

If there is a reason I keep going into museums after museum no matter how small or crappy it looked like, it would be for reason like these where I sometime stumble onto the local stories or myths. In a way I am a story collector despite my poor memory, stories fascinates me and throughout the years I traveled, I have learn to listen and just listen. ( Or in this case ... read )

Extract taken from 212 House of Opium - Golden Triangle Thailand


A long time ago a very elderly women died of old age

Before she died she asked that she be buried near a busy crossroad 

After her funeral two tobacco plant appeared on the grave above the women's breast 

and an opium plant grew above her loins 

The villagers saw these strange plants and tasted them 

henceforth liking the tobacco more than opium, they therefore planted it and smoked it 

this preference for tobacco was because it came from the old women breast and thus children when weaned of milk smoked tobacco instead 

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Chiang Sean & The Golden Triangle

Day-trip from Chiang Sean to the Golden Triangle was very easy since it was only 10km away. I seriously wonder why did the Golden Triangle attract so much tourist when its just a place with nothing much to see. The history of Poppy and the drug-lords at the golden triangle was interesting but with the internet nowadays, one do not require to go all the way to the place to read the same print out and pasted on the wall for tourism information. 

Golden Triangle Park - Thailand 
In fact those were a thing of the past and the golden triangle has undergone a peaceful change to sustainable agriculture under the Thai Royal Project. Maybe it was the rumors and myths that refuse to move on with the flowing of time hence I still get warnings from friends and family about the dangers of visiting the infamous golden triangle of south east asia. 

Golden Triangle Park - Thailand 

212 House of Opium - Golden Triangle Thailand 
Golden Triangle Marker - Border of Three Countries Thailand-Myanmar-Laos
I guess I got suckered into the tourist gimmick trend as well, a relatively small town packed with tourist buses taking pictures of built up monuments for the tourism photo shot. I contemplated taking a ride all the way to Mae Sai, the border of Thailand-Myanmar just for the heck of it but the many days of riding fatigue was starting to eat into me hence I stayed back to Chiang Sean. 

The Merging of Ruak & Mekong River which marks the border boundaries of Thailand-Myanmar-Laos
Hence The Golden Triangle
Bluey riding around the Opium Park at the Golden Triangle Thailand 
Chiang Sean however was a surprise. Initially I thought it was just a cheap place to stay since guesthouse at the Golden Triangle was very expensive but riding around Chiang Seen, the city feels like a mini mini Ayutthaya. 

A city moat wall, mini temple ruins, Buddha statue left abandon and somehow all these was blend into the city of Chiang Sean. If one was not observant these ancient ruins could be passes as an abandon building in a run down city. I passes a few temple ruins initially without even seeing it but once I knew what to look for, riding round and round this small town Chaing Sean was fun for half a day looking at the forgotten temples. 

A broken Budha Statue in Chiang Sean 

Chiang Sean 

Chiang Sean 
Night time was always dinner by the Mekong river looking over towards the Laos side. 

Dinner by the River in Chiang Sean 

The local Menu

Mekong Fish Cooked in Bamboo - Thai Style 

Little Night Market in Chiang Sean 
Traveled on: Jan 2019

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

A Daytrip Detour into Doi Mae Salong

I took the detour going into Doi Mae Salong from Thaton to Chiang Sean. It was a nice ride and very scenic but at the same time at the back of my mind I was constantly worried if I would meet an obstacle challenge like those previously in Doi Angkang along the way. 

Road to Doi Mae Salong 
Doi Mae Salong while calming and peaceful did not capture me to stay the night. The lodgings were expensive, no hostel in sight and furthermore I had limited days now in Thailand. A day trip ride through would have to suffice but I was still glad I did the detour to have a look. 

The roads up were good tarmac, winding steeply and without pause and Bluey and I rode up and up in amazing time with my ears popping every few seconds while the view transformed into lush valleys and mountains backdrop. 

Doi Mae Salong

Tea House at Doi Mae Salong
Climate was cold, as cold as Doi Angkang or Doi Inthanon but while the other two national parks had barely any village to explore, Doi Mae Salong was a huge community (relatively speaking) with markets, rows of house built all along the main road and then more than some dotting the mountainside. 

Doi Mae Salong Town

Street Vendors - Doi Mae Salong 
In south east asia terms, Doi Mae Salong was like Cameron Highlands in Peninsular Malaysia, or Kudasang in Sabah, or Dalat in Vietnam. I would not compared it to the Mae Hong Son Loop for it had a different type of vibe. While Mae Hong Son loop had a feel of a small big city, Doi Mae Salong felt like a big community on highland living and farming yet not a large enough to feel like a city. 

Orange Colored Buildings - Doi Mae Salong 

Doi Mae Salong Community - Houses & Shop dotting the Mountain side 

Doi Mae Salong Park 

Beautiful View - Doi Mae Salong 

They even had a tea plantation in Doi Mae Salong which really reminded me of Cameron Highlands.

If only I had more time really, I would stay in Doi Mae Salong to chill and kick back some hot tea every day writing and watch the clouds roll by. 

Tea Plantation at Doi Mae Salong 

Tea Plantation at Doi Mae Salong 

Tea Plantation at Doi Mae Salong 

The beautiful countryside of Doi Mae Salong
Traveled on: Jan 2019