22 November 2008

Chiang Mai Rose of the North

Popular means of tranport - Tuk Tuk
Chiang Mai Journey: 14 to 18 Mar 2007

Chiang Mai, rose of the North, is 700 km north of Bangkok. Unlike the hotter & busy capital city of Thailand, this hub of Thailand has nice cool weather at certain times of the year and offers a range of value-for-money services including Hotels, Food & Handicrafts.

The flowers of Chiang Mai are celebrated in the Flower Festival, held each February. The city air is perfumed by the many floral parades and flower exhibitions

There are a couple of interesting & enjoyable one-day tours:

Tour No 1: Chiang Dao Elephant Camp - Elephant Ride, Bamboo Raft & Ox Cart Ride

This tour starts in the morning at about 8.30am. You are picked up from your hotel by your guide. Drive north of Chiang Mai to Chiang Dao (approx. 1 1/2 hr) to the elephant camp. At the elephant camp you will see the elephants taking their morning bath and demonstrating some of their skills. Afterwards take an elephant ride for approx. 1 hr to a Lisu hilltribe village. The ride takes you through some of the lovely forest scenery and along the river. After lunch take a bamboo raft trip down the river for approx. 30 min, admire the scenery and absorb the tranquility as you float down the river. Then, you will reach the land again to take a slow Ox Cart ride to a Restaurant wher you'd have a simple buffet lunch.

After that, the van will drive you back to Chiang Mai in the afternoon.

Elephant Ride ~ a unique experience

Tour No 2: Karen "Long Neck" Village
Start with the Orchid & Butterfly farm then go north to Chiang Dao Cave. After that, to Karen Village where we will also pass the Akha Hilltribe village, which is next to each other.
On the way back we visited the Hmong tribe.
Visitors should take some time and visit the wonderful people of the Karen "Long Neck" tribe in Chiang Mai. They live near the border of Burma, and the time taken to reach their village would be about 3 to 4 hours or so from town. Do NOT liken seeing these indigeneous people as seeing the animals in the zoo. Traditionally the women who could afford it would start wearing brass coils on their necks, arms and legs from the time they're 5 years old. The coils would be polished daily so that'd they'd have a high sheen. They'll upgrade their coils whenever they can afford it. The average weight of a coil on an adult woman's neck is about 3 - 5 kg!!! You can buy nice hand-woven cloth at the village. It'll help improve their way of life.The Akha village is situated right next to the Karen's. The Akhas are known for thier toolwork and you can buy wood carvings and silverware at their village.

Akha Children happily enjoying Ice Cream

Sweet Karen girl weaving....

Cheeky Hmong girl posing....

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