Day 14 | Cha am in the sun

Beautiful weather, 34 degrees, sun, massage and unfortunately, checking out day. This evening it’s back to the airport to go home.

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Day 13 | Cha am and Hua Hin

Today was a lazy day. Reading and sleeping at the beach. I am reading John Krakauers “Into thin air” about an expedition the the Everest that went wrong.

In the evening we went to Hua Hin. Today is the Loi Krathong Festival. On this day everybody has lanterns that float on the water. Hua Hin is at the beach, so here lanters were floating on the ocean. Because of the current and winds, the sight was not spectacular. After the floating of the lanterns we went to a bar with live music, to celebrate the (almost) end of a very nice holiday.

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Reading at the beach

Day 12 | Bangkok – Cha am

This morning we arrived in the night bus in Bangkok. The bus had big massage chairs, so I slept over 8 hours. After breakfast the next bus took us to Cha am. We are now in a beach resort for a couple of days, before going home. In half an hour we’ve seen the entire street close to the hotel. The activities in the hotel are limited to eating, laying in or next to the swimming pool and sleeping.

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Lizard on a restaurant sign

Day 11 | Chiang Mai – Bangkok

This morning we started with a bicycle tour through the rice fields around Chiang Mai. Away from traffic, airco, smog, noise, etc. Nice views, a new style of temple, local wood carving, the perfect ingredients for a nice morning tour.

In the afternoon a foot massage and tiny fish that nibble on feet. A slow relaxed afternoon.

After dinner we took the night bus from Chiang Rai to Bangkok.

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Temple on our biking route

Day 10 | Chiang Mai

We spent the morning and first part of the afternoon at an elephant park. The elephants in Thailand were all used for labor in the forest. Now that is not allowed anymore. But because all elephants in Thailand have been trained, there are no wild elephants left in Thailand. This means the elephants are not returned to nature, but kept in elephant parks, where they perform shows for tourists and make rides to the jungle.

First we saw how paper is being made from the elephant shit. Next we got the opportunity to get some pictures with the elephants. The show followed. Elephants playing soccer, painting and doing tricks. Before lunch we also made a ride on the back of an elephant and in an ox car. After lunch we went back to the bus on a bamboo raft on the river.

There is a lot of discussion on the elephant parks. And I understand that. Specially because the elephants are never returned to nature is what makes it wrong for me. But… it was a nice day out.

In the afternoon a made a walk through the streets of Chiang Mai and ended up in an indoor market, with multiple floors of local shopping goods. Nice to see, this was really a local market, I haven’t seen a single other tourist there.

The second half of the afternoon we booked a massage, for two hours. I didn’t know I was so flexible.

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Elephant show

Day 9 | Chiang Mai

This morning we visited a temple high up in the mountains, the Doi Suthep. The temple has a lot of gold and a lot of Buddhas and is at the top of a 300 steps stairs. The temple is beautiful and a monk blessed us, for good luck, lot’s of money and happiness. So we should be good for some time.

After lunch (great lunch btw in a beautiful garden with fresh pineapple juice) one of the highlights of this holiday. The Jungle Flight! With iron cables and wooden platforms a course of over 2 km with zip lines and abseils was build in the tree tops of the rain forest. This turned out to be a very spectacular event, with one zip line over 300 meters, great nature and perfect views.

In the evening, pizza and the first fitting of our new suits.

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One of the zip lines

Day 8 | Chiang Rai – Chiang Mai

This morning we left Chiang Rai, but not without visiting the white temple. The White Temple is quite new and work is still in progress. The person that designs this temple expects it to be finished only many years after he died, that’s how big his plans are.

The temple first shows all things that will make you go to hell (drinking, smoking). After that you cross the bridge to heaven, where all the good stuff happens. The temple is completely white and mirrors on the outside. On the inside you will find painted walls, including paintings of Batman, Superman, Angry Birds, Star Wars, Allstars, etc. Quite strange to see that type of paintings in a temple.

Next it’s off to Chiang Mai. First stop is at an umbrella factory, where the umbrellas are hand-made and hand-painted. As anywhere in Thailand, the souvenir shop is bigger than the attraction itself.

Next stop is a silk factory. The entire process of creating silk and the weaving is shown to us. This is also all manual labor, using old-fashioned (at least for us) looking wooden machines. This factory also includes a shop, bigger than the factory itself. Next to the silk factory is a silver factory, also with a bigger shop than factory.

We will stay a in Chiang Mai for a couple of days, which gives us enough time to have a custom suite made. As in Vietnam, first we had to pick the type of suite, next the fabric and in the end the details (amount of pockets, fixed or open buttons, etc).

This evening 11 tuk-tuks picked us up at the hotel and dropped us of at the flower market. At the end of the walk over the flower market the tuk-tuks were waiting for us again to drop us of at the restaurant. The restaurant has a Dutch owner, he even served bitterballen.

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Silk making