Well it is now our second day in Chang Rai and after our huge bike ride yesterday (50kms) with Mr Bee and his team, it was back to town, a quick swim and a shower and we were both feeling alive again. We had visited the White Temple, Buddist Prayer cave, ridden an elephant and taken a boat ride back to CR.
We are staying at Laluna which is quite nice and a pleasant 10 minute stroll to the cbd. We stopped at a nice massage place and both had the most wonderful leg and foot massage before heading to the night markets, quick bite to eat and then a Tuk tuk back to hotel which cost 60b.
After a great night's sleep, it was down to breakfast and we met up with Frank and Kath again who are on their 22nd trip to Thailand. Lots of stories to swap before we went our separate ways. I hung around for another cup of coffee which I was secretly hoping was going to taste a little better than the previous day!!
No plans set in concrete for the day so we walked downtown and by that time teenage son was thirsty so into the Lotus Bakery for a quick iced coffee and for some strange reason he also ordered a fresh lemon juice. I am sure you now get the picture with the milk and the lemon starting to curdle in his stomach but as all mothers will tell you, 14 year olds know best!!!
So after a quiet sit, we have now devised our general plan for the day, so over to find a tuk tuk who will take us around town for the day. Well Mr Annat was just what we needed, a tour guide driving a tuk tuk!!.
Our first stop was where the Emerald Buddha has once resided, stunning building and lucky enough to witness a procession of about 500 young boys/men who were participating in a pre novice monk ceremony. They all looked so young and serious with the exception of one young chap who was dancing around and pulling faces at the crowd. I suspect his days being a monk may have been limited because at one stage he had his robes hitched up thigh high whilst dancing around the courtyard!!
Off then to the Mau Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park which was stunning with the main Pavillion being a visual overload. Young female assistant decided that she would accompany my son around on personal tour providing a historical perspective of the pavillion. As a good mother I lurked in the background not only tapping into the history but making sure no phone numbers were exchanged!! After 2 hours we were back in the care of Mr Annat our tuk tuk driver.
Onto the Doi Tung memorial which provided a lovely view and a hilarous photo opportunity of a dog asleep curled around one of the symbolic elephant statues right next to the donation box. My son loves dogs but was still a bit wary after being chased on our previous day's bike ride!!
Back into the tuk tuk and we headed out to the Black Temple. Wow, this is quirky and a must visit place if you want to see something different. Certainly the black side of Buddism but a visual feast of artwork, sculpture and a real insight into the local artists colony which is obviously flourishing in CR. This definately is a must visit if you like to see something right outside the box for creativity.
By now it is 3 pm but decided to drop by the Hilltribe Museum which we both found extremely interesting. The slide show that operates throughout the day is well worth a look and provided a great insight into the different hillside tribes from various locations and how they found their way to northern Thailand.
Back into the cbd for some well deserved food and a booking for the following morning with Mr Annat to take us travelling further afield before heading to Chiong Khong later in the day.
We raced back to Laluna for a quick swim and then we headed out for dinner with Frank and Kath who have a favourite restaurant just down the street. Bit bland for my liking but son got to try deep fried frog, which I don't think impressed him that much. He is rather an adventurous eater but i think he prefers his frogs croaking happily in our backyard pond. Dinner was also punctuated by traditional Thai dancing which we all thoroughly enjoyed.
Time for Frank and Kath to head to bed as they have an early morning trip but we both headed into the night markets for a final look before we head to Laos. My son has a list of "must have videos that he must buy before we head to Laos.
Overall a fabulous day with lots of laughter, sightseeing and education along the way. .This is our third Mother/Son tour we have done through Asia over the last 5 years and I have cherished every minute of it.