The intrepid travellers venture out

Trip Start Mar 17, 2012
1
5
17
Trip End Mar 31, 2012


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Where I stayed
Mae Salong Flower Hills Resort

Flag of Thailand  , Chiang Rai,
Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What a difference a night on a non-moving bed plus a great brekkie makes. Perfect poached eggs were a great birthday present. Oh, and those very special cards from Al and Jacqs.  Mmm... why was I not surprised that they both wrote 'Love you long time' on each of the cards I was given.

James our Intrepid guide met us in the lobby and took us out to the van for our Chiang Mai and Golden Triangle trip http://www.intrepidtravel.com/trips/tag#overview.  There was only going to be five of us on the trip.  Very luxurious Toyota Commuter with only eight seats so heaps of room.  Drove down to the other pick-up hotel.  James wandered around the lobby looking for the others.  Two very tanned girls stood out behind the van looking for someone.  Eventually they found each other and Suzi and Rosey from Cambridge England climbed on board.

First stop was an orchid and butterfly farm. Why do these two things always go together?  They are in so many places we've been to.  Not so beautiful butterflies (and moths) but beautiful orchids.

Next stop was always going to be the highlight of the trip – The Elephant Training Center at Chiang-Dao http://www.chiangdaoelephantcamp.com/.  It was fantastic.  The smiles did not leave any of our faces the whole time we were there.  If the bath time wasn’t good enough the hour long ride was just THE BEST.  All of us bought the photos that had been taken while we were up on the elephants.  Sadly the frames are made of dried elephant dung so when we declared them when we got home they gave us the photo but binned the frame.  

We were supposed to have lunch there but James said the food wasn’t that great so we headed to our next stop - the Chiang Dao Cave Temple - for lunch.

Lunch was delicious, the highlight was my first taste of chicken with thai basil YUMMMMMMM!!!

Westerners were supposedly not allowed in the caves without a guide as people had been lost. They'd have to be REALLY stupid but when we consider some of the fools we've seen on our travels we're actually not surprised.  Lots of interesting limestone formations and you'd think that once you’ve seen one limestone cave you’ve pretty much seen them all.  That is unless they have a Buddhist temple built into them.  It was quite interesting.  

Then we visited another temple where James went through the entire story of the beginning of Buddhism.  For someone interested in religion it might have been enthralling but it was a very, very long explanation. It was very obvious though that to James it was a vitally important part of his being.  Like a lot of Thais he had been a monk for a number of his earlier years. 

The road up into the hills to Doi Mae Salong was long and winding and both Jacqs and Al did not enjoy it one little bit.  We stopped in a town that was populated mainly by Chinese who had escaped the communist revolution and had resettled in Thailand in the early 60s (I think that’s what James said).  The museum we were supposed to visit was closed by the time we got there so after about a five minute stop we headed to our hotel.

Intrepid called the hotel Doi Mok Dok Mai Resort but it’s Maesalong Flower Hills Resort http://www.maesalongflowerhills.com/ on Trip Advisor and on the sign outside the resort.  Quite beautiful and truly the oddest place.  We all had our own little villa but we got a twin and Jacqs the log cabin double.  Beds like rock slabs, again.

Supposedly free wifi but you had to hand over your passport (they made a copy!) before they’d give you a password.  I had very little luck with my phone (HTC/android) but all the iPhoners had no troubles at all.

Not much choice for dinner – it was the hotel’s restaurant, or, the hotel’s restaurant.  The meal was as odd as the hotel.  James was not quite the help he could have been during the ordering process and his constant mimicking of us, however good natured it was, was becoming grating.  In all honesty though the food was ok.  Quite the birthday to remember.  

It was cool enough to leave the sliding doors and the windows open (the room was screened) so we had an aircon free night.  We put both doonas on one single bed (to try to get a bit of softness) and climbed on.
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