13th - 17th February Chiang Mai + Krabi
Friday 13th February - White Temple - Chiang Rai
Happy birthday Rita. Glad you enjoyed your Paint Night xxx
Trip to white temple.
Pick up 7- 7.15 so just had to cuppa n biscuit. Then bus came but we went to another 6 hotels to pick up and were almost back at ours at 8am. An hours drive to hot springs, then 20 mins to dip your feet in, drive another 1.5 hrs to white temple there for just 40 mins!! I was really looking forward to going here but 40 minutes! It just wasn't long enough!!! It was beautiful there, stunning infact, and also a bit strange with monster type of sculptures and heads hanging from trees with Spanish moss hanging out of mouths or under the scull and hundreds of hands in the moat, which symbolises hell, stretching up trying to claw their way out and get to heaven. We couldn't go into the temple at this time as it has been damaged in an earthquake a few years ago and the structure is not safe. Just as well really or we wouldn't have had time to see it. The owner/builder was going to demolish it as it needed lots of work but he had so much support, he decided to keep it open and restore it over the next few years. Work is still in progress.
Then we drove 40 mins to hill tribe which was basically a market. Stayed there for 20 mins then 1hr drive to lunch which was a buffet and I thought it was ok but most said it was very poor. Then we stopped at yet another 'hilltribe' market which was just as bad as the other one. There were 2 elephants there and they looked very sad. One even had both his front legs chained together and he couldn't move them. Not a good place. Went on a boat ride to, yes you've guessed it, ato a market!! We got dropped off in town around 9.15 to go for a drink instead of going back to the hotel. we got chatting to a Dutch guy in his 60s who lives in Thailand and has a Thai wife of 28 who had given birth to their second child that day (she was still in hospital) and another guy from England who was sitting chatting to him. We were late back that night 12.15!! Dirty stop outs.
Not our best day but to be honest, it's probably the only bad one so that can only be good. Just realised why the trip was rubbish - Friday 13th!!
Saturday 14th February - valentines day
Had breakfast at our hotel again as we needed to book our flight for Krabbi tomorrow. With flight and a couple of nights in a hotel booked we set off to see temples, have some lunch and go to the 3D art gallery. It was quite amazing. Illusions and 3D pictures, coming out of the walls. The
3-storey museum has a variety of paintings featuring animals, underwater world, extinct animals, deserts, and the famous Pharaoh's tomb. In total, there are 130 3D pantings on the walls spread across eight zones and is said to be the biggest in the world. It was a bit like a workout at he gym. Laying down, crouching, doing squats, haveing your hands over your head, all to get in the position to take a good photo. It was good though. In there about 2 hrs.
But before that we visited some more temples - there are over 300 in Chiang Mai alone. We haven't visited all of them!! Aparently a temple isn't the building itself, it's the collection of buildings in that confine. There maybe 3 or 4 of what appears to be temples but that would only be classed as one. Who knew? But for now I will still call the building the temple.
Imagine our surprise when we noticed a frame hanging on the wall of Wat Phra Singh temple, which had a map of Runcorn in it! It showed a temple of the same name and the address 88 Main Street, Runcorn! The story goes, Wat Phra Singh temple is located within the ancient city walls of Chiang Mai and in 2011 it celebrated its 666th anniversary. In commemoration of this auspicious occasion and in memory of the late Abbot, Luang Por Nuu, who passed away in 2009 at the age of 96, having been a monk for 77 years, a group of supporters wrote to the new Abbot, in 2011 asking for permission to establish a new temple in Northwest England. So who needs to go to Thailand to visit temples? But would it be the same without the sun?
One place we stopped was like a meditation centre where you could sit under a canopy overlooking a nice tranquil lake. When we walked to the end there were 4 little boys playing with a small dingy type boat. They were about 4 to 8yrs old I'd say. They were laughing and giggling, getting in the boat, out of the boat. Big brother was hanging onto the tee shirt of the little one and they were using a broom for an oar. They were a delight to watch.
During our walk we noticed a bar which was all laid out with tables for meals and had a sign saying 6 live bands on tonight. Well we've found it a bit quiet in the evenings so we thought this would be a nice change as it was our last night and valentine's day too. Table booked for 8.30 as there is a huge market on tonight too which is said to be one of the main attractions in Chiang Mai. We had nipped back to the hotel to change before heading there to check what it was all about. Oh my Lord! It was huge and you could hardly put one foot in front of another. Whenever I see knitted items, I always think of my mum. She used to knit us toys and clothes and always made blankets for the babies. So when I saw these knitted roses , I thought of her, and the chap who was selling them had a little note on his stand saying 'knitted by my wife' which I thought was cute. So I bought a few and will take them to the cemetery when I get home. I think she would like that :) We shuffled along for about 45 minutes and we still had to get across town for our romantic evening. Just got to the restaurant on time as the guy was closing the doors and it was empty apart from the group playing, who sounded really good. We asked what was happening and he said no one had come so they were closing. He said he would stay open if we wanted to stay, but we let them get off. I was really disappointed as they sounded great and it wasn't a bad setting (not to mention we had walked half way across town to get there). So we started to walk back looking for somewhere a bit lively, in the direction of the market which wasn't far from our hotel. Didn't find anywhere and Sams back had started to play up so I had a pancake from a market stall and Sam had a bottle of water! Happy valentines day to you too!!
Got a tuk tuk back to hotel and Sam realised his mobile phone was missing. At first he thought it had been stolen out if his pocket with all the shuffling you wouldn't notice someone rummaging behind you, but he has 'prey' on his phone and we could track it on the tablet and it would seem, it probably fell out of his pocket in the tuk tuk as it was going here there and everywhere. Good job the battery had started playing up and it was due for renewal - glad it's not an iPhone now Roy!! So off to bed.
Last day tomorrow. Flight for Krabbi booked for 5.30pm
Sunday 15th February
Got packed up pretty quickly as we wanted to try a buffet breakfast which we saw advertised in one of the bigger hotels. Something stopped us each day so we were determined to go today as breakfast here isn't great. Sam had to spend a couple of hours changing passwords etc so they couldn't be accessed on his phone so needless to say, by the time he had finished we didn't have time to go. So we headed out to a temple we wanted to visit yesterday and didn't get round to so we'll get some breakfast near there.
Pancake for breakfast, a look around our last temple. Wat Bupparam, which was a bit tacky, then we headed for the river. Had a little walk along and stopped for lunch at a nice restaurant then got tuk tuk back as our taxi was booked for 3pm. We got back just before, juggled our hand luggage and set off for the airport. Ten minutes later we were taking our cases out of the taxi and heading for the check in desk. We're flying Air Asia and booked some additional luggage allowance. Plane left on time at 5.35.
We're on the back row and my, the seats are cramped!! Especially as I'm in the middle of Sam and Big Buddha!!
Arrived at airport at 7.30. Got bags off and headed for taxi queue. It was 700bht to our hotel The Studio at Kholong Muang and it took about 35 mins. Arrived there 9ish. We've booked in for 2 nights. Just left our things in the room and went for something to eat. Had a stair fry each a carafe of wine and a large Chang on a restaurant just across the road £22.00.
Our room at the hotel is huge £22 a night and it's obvious that it was once a very nice place. It's now been split into 2 hotels with a shared swimming pool which is ok. The Sheridan is right opposite.
Off to bed now. Beach tomorrow
Monday 16th February - Kholong Muang Beach
There's a breakfast cafe at the hotel so we had fresh fruit, eggs on toast and tea all for 100baht £2 each.
We thought we may be able to walk through security at the Sheridan Hotel as there is direct access to the beach there so we made the mistake of asking!! They said NO! We may try it tomorrow without asking as someone at the hotel said you can. So we walked along the road took about 15 mins. The beach is very empty and no sunbeds or chairs but we brought our picnic mat along with us and my lovely elephant sarong which is wonderful and I use it to protect me against the sun, shoulder wrap or skirt for temples and now I'm laying on it on the beach. Best £2 I've ever spent I think. I headed down to the water to go for a swim and was pleasantly surprised that it was quite warm for a change. The tide was going out though and although I'd walked in quite a way, I wasn't even up to my knees!
It's very overcast today, almost misty but very warm. Had a walk along the beach and lunch at a bar. We had
Papaya salad which we know is spicy hot so when she asked how hot, we said a little. OMG I'm glad we didn't get it hot. It almost blew our heads off! We were going to walk further along the beach but the sun was scorching so we headed back to our shady spot under a tree. Had a read and a doze and headed back to shower and book hotel for our next stop Ao Nang. Well this is a really busy place so that proved a bit more difficult than were used to but eventually we found somewhere not too far from the centre or the beach so fingers in crossed. We wish we had brought the laptop instead of the tablet. It's much more user friendly. Ah well, we'll know for next time!
Ao Nang tomorrow
Tuesday 17th February - Ao Nang
On the move again. Left the hotel at 12.50 and got a taxi to the hotel Ao Nang Village resort (500bht). Took about half an hour. The hotel is ideally placed. Near lots of bars, restaurants, market and not too far from the beach. We couldn't get in our room straight away so we went for something to eat. Had an Indian for a change which was very nice. As we weren't over hungry we got a set menu for 1 and shared it. They all seem to share meals here so that was ok. Then we checked into our room and went to the beach. It was really hot. So we walked along looking for some shade. There aren't any beach chairs and umbrellas along the beach so you have to look for shade under a tree. We were starting to think there was nothing but at the far end of the beach there were banks of massage beds with huts and numbers on them and in front of them were plastic chairs in the shade. They wanted 200bht but we got them for 100 including a big slice of fresh pineapple which was delicious. We had a read then went in for a swim. Well more like a paddle because the water was really shallow for a long, long way out but it was warm!! Yipeeeeeeee. There are huge jagged rock formations looming out of the water. They look pretty stunning.
After getting a shower and changed back at the hotel, we booked a 7 island trip for tomorrow with snorkeling and a beach bbq so looking forward to that. Then we went to the Golden Beach Resort Restaurant which had a show on. It was really good. Latin dancers (two of them were just kids) Thai boxing and fire performers. Oh we've missed them from Koh Tao:) When they came with the bill the girl knocked over my full glass of wine she had just brought so we had a little kerfuffle getting that sorted but got there in the end. seems were not the only ones who don't know what day it is. They had a big display on stage advertising valentines day, even though it's the 17th and they've still got reindeer and snowmen scattered about too.
So a good night had by all
Snorkeling trip tomorrow