Trip Start Feb 18, 2011
43Trip End Feb 17, 2012
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Where I stayed
Awanahouse Chiang Mai
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Every day a night market outside of the city-walls satisfies the shopping-needs of the hungry tourists, but on the weekends even several main streets inside turn into pedestrian areas and market-stands are everywhere
Another thing you shouldn't miss are the massages that are available in many studios or sometimes even on the street or at the markets. The second time we arrived in Chiang Mai - after a quite painful 12 hour bus ride we decided to have a leg and back-massage which was a real delight. They really knew what they were doing and for 4 Euro per hour incl. a "big" tip this is another full recommendation on what to do here (or probably anywhere in Thailand). Luckily we found right in the beginning a map pointing out all the vegetarian restaurants of the city and after giving several of them a try we ended up alternating between Beetroot and Juicy4U, two outstanding little gems in the culinary scenery of CM.
The last week of our time in CM we spent attending a silver art workshop provided by NovaArt, a small Jewelry Shop along the ThaPae Road. We were quite surprised to be the only participants, but had a good time and learned a lot from our teacher Mr.Nugoon. Always starting out from a flat little stripe of raw silver we heated, pressed, bent, drilled, sagen, solder, atzen, hammered, sanded and polished it into super limited editions of our own pieces of jewelry
One more highlight, not just of Thailand but our whole trip was a day training as a mahout. As Wikipedia says: "A mahout is a person who drives an elephant. "There are many elephant-camps and mahout centers out there and after researching the net we chose the most reputable one we could find - important because some companies seem to treat the animals improperly, which we of course didn't want to support. After the two friendly guides picked us, two more girls from Canada and several big bags of bananas up and brought us to a quite remote mountainy area, inaccessible even by our 4x4 jeep. After crossing some little bamboo bridges and wading through a little stream of water we were met by the first curious elephant - clearly happy and excited to see us coming. After some minutes more and more elephants appeared - roaming freely in the forest between afternoon and the morning they knew some yummy fruits are arriving together with the excited mahout-trainees
Yee Peng - the floating lanterns festival I mentioned in the beginning:
Every year late october / early november (depending on the phase of the moon) within the Loi Krathong time (that's a big festival including many events) the release of thousands of floating lanterns is held - often close to temples and the biggest ones in and around Chiang Mai
We saw many pretty pictures of the past years and wanted to be a part of it in 2011, the only thing that made it a little difficult was the total lack of english information on the internet about this years schedule. As it turned out the last year was so packed with tourists, that the city decided to stage an own event just for tourists - which was not only ridiculously overprices, but also outside of our time window for us to attend. So after quite some research and with the help of some friendly locals who called up the temple directly, we finally figured out the real dates.
Both easily reachable by motorbike, with big crowds of people, loads of food stands and even - what we didn't expect - english commentary.
The whole event is free of charge, even food is provided during the afternoon - but a donation is appreciated, especially if you are actually starting a lantern yourself.
We arrived at the event field near Maejo University 4 hours before starting the festival to be sure to get a space for us, however the field was actually not full until about 30 minutes before the releasing time - then it finally got really crowded. The event started with meditation. After the chanting was over and the monks had left, the torches were lit up.
All day long some lonely lanterns had been released all over the place, but now within a few seconds about 1000 really big ones were rising together. Beautiful and impressive.
We could see how the wind turned in the different layers of the air - carrying away the stream of candle light colored dots.
Everybody was cheerful and happy. On the way back home it suddenly started raining - but we were so glad it held back until then and didn't mind the warm drops that totally soaked us until we arrived at our place.
So now I'll shut up and you can enjoy the pictures, have fun =)