Saturday, January 29, 2011

Wat Mornthean and down the road a bit

I thought I was well and truly over looking at wats, but I must admit I really did enjoy traipsing around Chiang Mai a bit, with JJ, rediscovering their intrigue and beauty. I like to know a little about what I've seen, so once back to my computer, I try to do a bit of research. Please feel free to correct me if I get it wrong.
Wat Mornthean, (Wat Palace or Royal House - วัดมณเฑียร), or Monthian as Google would have it, lies inside the moat, opposite Wat Lok Molee. This is all the information you get regarding the wat, at the wat...the name and address.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's At Wat Lok Molee?

Aesthically, this would have to be my most favourite wat yet. On the entrance and some surrounding buildings, white decorations made from fired clay (?) overlay the rusty brown bricks, reminding me of an iced ginger bread house or lacy wedding cake.
One of two yaksha demon warrior statues standing guard.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Walk A Mile (or two) In Chiang Mai

Shortly after JJ arrived the other day, I dragged her about one kilometre, up to the old city to have a look around. It was quite a long walk, but nice to go with a first time visitor. We wandered into places I hadn't even been into shame on me and noticed things I'd walked by many a time without giving them a second glance.

Our walk in photos, starting from Chiang Mai Gate heading north, covering the small south east corner of the old city...there's a map at the end of the post :) Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thailand Survival Kit for Newbies

My long time friend JJ is in flight right now (well she should be, and not reading this blog like she usually does)....due to arrive in Chiang Mai in the morning. It's her second time venturing out of Australia. The first time doesn't really count, because it was to New Zealand ;) say no more!

Anyway, I decided to put together a slightly 'tongue in cheek' survival kit, as a welcome gift and souvenir of her stay.

*A map of Chiang Mai with our hotel marked on case she gets lost
*Our hotel card, with contact details and mapped case she gets lost
*Hand sanitiser
*Purse size packets of Tissues
*Hong Nam (toilet) instructions - my way! with the all important phrase 'hong nam thii nai kha?'  with Australian transliteration - 'horng narm tea nigh car?'
  • Hang your handbag up somewhere secure...and no, you won't want to put it on the floor if there isn't a hook...I'm sure you'll figure it out
  • Make sure any reading/sun glasses, headbands or other paraphernalia can't fall off your person and into the're on your own if they do!

Friday, January 14, 2011

What's lurking beneath the banana leaves?

While we were in Chiang Rai we indulged in a few new Thai foods. When we're at the markets we tend to shy away from little banana leaf parcels and unrecognisable food, because they're a mystery to us. So, we were happy to tag along with Nong Mum who chose a few local treats for us to try. (Nong Mum is so cute and a few years my junior. She holds my hand as we cross the NOT busy streets of Chiang Rai...and I think of the traffic from hell in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, each time she did so).

Rice porridge triangles (Khaao Dtom Saam Liiam - ข้าวต้มสามเหลี่ยม) Green (coloured with pandan I guess) rice porridge triangles, served with red beans, a little sugar and shredded coconut. This would be incredibly fiddly to make, the rice mixture is wrapped in teeny banana leaf triangles and steamed. A little rubbery, but nice and not too sweet.

Apologies for the mobile phone camera quality photos.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Retreat to Chiang Rai - Mae Sai

After last night's belly full of good tucker and an excellent sleep we headed off to Mae Sai, on the Thai Burmese border. 'S' borrowed his Mum's pick up truck which seats five. There were seven of us. We were invited to ride in the back with our young Rastafarian friends but decided we're getting a bit long in the tooth for that sort of thing.
We've been before, and over the bridge to Tachileik, but this time we were visiting the I didn't know existed. To the south and left of the bridge, behind the main street buildings, lies a labyrinth of stalls, hundreds of them.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Retreat to Chiang Rai

One of Stray's TEFL class mates, 'S', has returned home to a quite village just outside of Chiang Rai, now that the course is over. We were lucky enough to pay him and his friends a visit over the weekend. At the Chiang Mai bus station Stray goes off to find out at which platform our bus will be arriving, because this time he bought second class return tickets and tells me he doesn't think its the usual VIP Green Bus. Instead he points to this...which looks much nicer in the photo, than in real life.
..."and we only have second class" he says, "we'll be up the back with the chickens." I know the bus is going to Chiang Rai, because I can actually read the writing now.


I know him well and wasn't surprised when our real chariot arrived. Even in second class, the Green Buses are cheap, comfortable and air conditioned, you just don't get the first class snack and bottle of water...whoop dee doo.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Windy, Wild, Woolly Weather!

We were in a taxi returning from Vientiane, Laos, when we received a text message from home...literally, our house where our daughter, CJ, is living. ‘Just had the worst hail storm I’ve seen in twenty years’. (There’s something disconcerting when your child starts referring to time, in decades...and does she really remember a horrific hail storm, from when she was six years old? Probably...knowing her!)

The damage was minor considering the ferocity of the storm. Only hail dents in two of the cars, one of which was parked under cover and was pelted from the side, by golf ball size pieces of ice. The force of the wind reached up to 90 km per hour. CJ said she couldn’t tell which direction it was coming was coming from every direction. Cyclonic.

Some footage of the storm, complements of downunderchase on Youtube.

They’re just getting on top of cleaning up the mass of leaves/branches on the ground and fallen trees...we live on a heavily treed block of land. A major clean up job, we've had to do many times over the years, but glad we're not there for, this time!

Dinner and a show with the 'P' Family

In Australia, Stray drives a bus part time. Often his passengers are tourists, from China, Korea and sometimes Thailand. Earlier this year he met family P, from Bkk. Stray likes people and they like him. He takes a genuine interest in their lives, their well being and likes to practise snippets of different languages that he's picked up during our travels. After Mrs P's family returned to Thailand he kept in contact via email. Although the P family live in Bangkok, where they run their production company, they also have a holiday house in the Mae Rim area, just north of Chiang Mai.

We and our friends (M & J), who were here visiting, were invited over for dinner and a show! Mr and Mrs P and their driver collected us in a mini van for the short trip out to scenic Mae Rim. The property has a main house, a guest quarters of sorts and caretakers home. Grandma P, a cousin and friends were also taking time out, enjoying the peace and quite and beautiful surrounds.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year, from Chiang Mai.

Happy New Year from Stray and's a peek at what it's like in Chiang Mai, on New Years Eve. Fireworks, lanterns in the sky, glitzy lights and chaos.

Snap's other blog Chiang Mai Thai