Thailand Dreamin'

Trip Start Jan 14, 2009
1
46
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Trip End May 2010


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Flag of Thailand  , Chiang Mai,
Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ah yes!  The ease of Thailand.  After our adventurous and sometimes uncomfortable travels through Westerm China, Nepal and briefly India, we were dumbfounded by just how easy life can be in Thailand.  With a brief night in Bangkok's Domestic Airport, we flew to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, a small city known for its relaxed atmosphere, easy to navigate old town, myriad Wats (Thai Buddhist temples), great food (both Thai and Internatioanl cuisine, endless vegetarian options and gourmet food at a fraction of the cost back home) and of course, its climbing (known as the Crazy Horse Buttress).

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You can see why they call is Crazy Horse!

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Lindsey loving Crazy Horse's great rock, beautiful setting and perfect climate!

Upon arrival in the city, a quick stop at the local climbing shop was really the only stop we needed to make.  They had abundant copies of the extremely coprehensive Northern Thailand Climbing Guide; the staff set up transportation to the crag which includes a lunch (and there are numerous food choices!) and helped us set up accommodation in a nearby village so we could focus on climbing and not have to travel back and forth to Chiang Mai each day!  Talk about service!

The climbing is on steep limestone with pockets and all sorts of stalagtite/stalamite features - basically it amounts to really fun climbing.  The climate in Chiang Mai at this time of year is just perfect too.  Hot enough to wear a T-shirt and shorts from dawn till dusk but not too hot and humid to be comfortable for us Pacific Northwesterners!

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Lindsey leads up a classic chimney at Tamarind Tree area

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Ben stoked on the great exposure on the two pitch classic Into the Sun

We returned to Chiang Mai after three great days of climbing and prepped for the arrival of our good friend Ray.  Ray has been roommates with us in Hotel Ashworth in Wallingford (Seattle) and then when we bought a house in Greenwood, he moved in with us there as well.  He's quite the character too!  Part rock star, part sailor (he is the lead singer and a guitarist for Gertrude's Hearse and he has run sailing programs, sold yachts and raced in rigattas from Alaska to Puerto Rico), Ray is always ready for a new adventure.  Pretty much the minute Ray arrived, we rented some scooters and we headed out to let him experience what climbing in Thailand is all about. 

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Meeting some of the local Buddhist monks

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Ben and Ray gives the locals a helping hand

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Ray grunting his way up a 7a (5.11d)

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Wherever you go in Thailand, the King is always with you!

Ray has done some climbing in the past, but between sailing, snowboarding, being a musician, he doesn't get on the rock much anymore.  But after just two days of climbing, he was charging up tough climbs and he even led a 5.10a!  We also explored waterfalls, spent a fun night seeing what Thailand's bar scene can be like (ex: Ray learned firsthand what a Thai Ladyboy is), and enjoyed the famous Sunday Street Market. 

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Ray getting a good soaking in the waterfall

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The lovely Lindsey

Waterfall video

Though our time in Chiang Mai was quick, it was plenty of time for us to fall in love with just how easy life can be.

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Ben, Lindsey with the cooks from one of our favourite low key Chiang Mai restaurants (Pad Thai here was 75 cents for a plate full!)

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While in SE Asia, renting underpowered motor scooters and buzzing around town is a must. Lindsey snagged this shot while we navigated the chaos of Chiang Mai during the afternoon rush!
A video of these great underpowered machines

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Ray leads his first climb - a 5.10a!!!

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Ray raging the rural roads around Chiang Mai

What's next?  Limestone cliffs, emerald ocean and picture-perfect sandy beaches and islands of southern Thailand's Adaman Coast!

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We all had a big work out session while we killed some hours in the Bangkok airport on our way to southern Thailand.

More photos of Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/benkunz/sets/72157622978240250/
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Comments

benglenn
benglenn on

Lookin good guys! Love the one of Ben and Ray doing crunches in the airport. Classic! Wish I could be there to celebrate Christmas with you. Miss you tons!!

krista on

Merry Christmas Ben and Lindsey!!!
ok...i am very curious...what happened with Ray and the Ladyboy???
Ben you are my hero, working out in the airport:) i;ve done it too... you gotta do what you gotta do!!

colleen on

Understatement... you've had an amazing, memorable year! merry xmas from Vancouver (at the moment). Keep safe and happy in 2010. Love the continuous updates! Cheers to you both. :)

therunningdog
therunningdog on

way to rock it guys! miss ya back here! ill be thinking about you as i bushwhack up poorly covered slide alder and slabs tomorrow!

cant wait to compare ladyboy notes with ray!

Nikki Chau on

OMG the shot of the monk and Ben cracks me up! :)

sallykunz
sallykunz on

Oh, Ray, you are soooo cute!

johnsolaro
johnsolaro on

hey ben! i'm pretty sure that pic with you behind the monk sums you up better than any pic i've ever seen! ha! :)

john and mackenzie

benglenn
benglenn on

I agree, love that pic!!!

Teresa on

Great posting! Happy New Year to you both. Loved seeing the pics of Thailand - my sis in law is Thai (from a small village in the north) and I've spent some time there as a result. Anyway, glad to hear your travels are going well. All the best for 2010!

Rayjohn40 on

I took that pic of the Monk and then when I was reviewing it saw Ben's classic mug stuck in. That makes me laugh still!

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