Thursday, May 31, 2007

chiang mai (continued)...

Ok lets get on with what I enjoyed about the trip. Firstly I have to say that I underestimated the old farts. They were a blast to be with. Cracked pretty interesting jokes and were fun to chat with. Sometimes I felt they were much better travel mates than some of my friends. I guess the diversity of people helped. We had couples ranging from 40s to 70s. Me being the youngest of course. Kinda like the baby of the trip. Pretty good cos I got sayanged alot. LOL. Although I did earn my loving okay. Did the carrying, providing tech advise on digital camera and call roaming and also was the go to guy for photo taking.

Chiang Mai is a very peaceful and beautiful city. Being on the highlands its also cooler than most places. Sadly the weather didn't help much so we missed out on taking scenic pictures. The people are very friendly in the sense they don't hassle you and try their best to oblige. Our hotel was situated right along the Night Bazaar. This is a hit with the tourist due to the vast amounts of goods and how cheap they are. Imagine Petaling Street but with polite traders. ;) We didn't fancy it much but was nice to walk around and people watch. Best part of the trip was chilling at the Beer Garden of our hotel (which overlooks the bazaar) munching on steamed peanuts. Of course with a nice cold brew in hand. =)

Highlight destinations of the trip would be Doi Suthep temple, Maesa Elephant Camp, Long Neck Karen Hilltribe Village (at Chiang Rai), Simon's Dream Cabaret (ladyboy show) and the Mekong River cruise (Golden Triangle). At the elephant camp we enjoyed a show, had a 30 minute ride through the jungle and ended with a slow bamboo raft ride on the river running along the camp. The cabaret was really entertaining, much better than the shows at Gentings. Very creative and entertaining throughout its 90 minutes. The hilltribe village was actually just a small village meant for tourist to see how various types of hilltribe people live. The main draw being the Karen Long Neck women who uses neck braces which gets higher as they get older. You wouldn't believe it but these braces are really heavy. Wonder how these women pull it off.

The Golden Triangle is actually the intersection where Laos, Vietnam and Thailand meet along the Mekong river. It used to be one of Asia's main opium producing areas. We actually stopped over a small island under Laos during this cruise where I had some snake whiskey. Taste very much like tequila. The island is just meant for tourist to stop over and buy some dirt cheap goods like shirts, animal whiskey and souveniers. No immigration checks but you have to pay a fee to the Laos army. Also had some tasty fresh coconut juice.

All and all it was the worst trip I have been on. Food and tour sucked. Have a feeling the Thai tour agency pulled a fast one on the Malaysian tour agency that we used. Wasn't really what we payed for. On top of that our tour guide, although sweet, spoke poor English. The group never had problems like this on their other trips. Sigh. Had to happen when I joined la. Typical ass luck! Alrighty that is all on the Chiang Mai trip. Pictures to follow shortly.

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