Thursday, 20 November 2014

Mai Hong Son Loop & Chiang Rai

Sculptured hands symbolise desire
Wednesday 23 April: It's hot. I've been travelling northwest from Chiang Mai to the laid back town of Pai for a couple of nights but no hill-tribe trekking as it's so hot and muggy. Now I'm in the lakeside town of Mae Hong Song with a hilltop temple and great views over the town. Colourful little Swallows swoop across the water picking-off the bugs, it's a delight.
Monday 28: I've looped back to Chiang Mai then northeast up to Chiang Rai and some fabulous temples. Wat Phra Kaew has an adjoining museum with a fantastic bronze drum known as a frog or rain drum that was once used in rituals. It's astonishing that you are allowed actually play the thing. It makes a wonderful noise for such an old instrument - it's from the 5th century BC.
Tuesday 29: An half hour or so south of Chiang Rai is the stunning White Temple, Wat Rong Khun. The approach bridge to the shimmering white temple spans a moat filled with hands reaching skyward but the real gems are the frescoes inside the temple (no photos). Painted by artist come architect Chalermchai Kositpipat who is also responsible for the frescos in the first Buddhist temple in Britain, Buddhapadipa Temple in Wimbledon. Fantastic stuff.
 Slideshow of Mai Hong Son Loop & Chiang Rai.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Thailand: Chiang Mai

Ancient temple, Wat Chedi Luang
Sunday 13 April: It's Buddhist New Year in Thailand and the water festival of Songkran is in full-flow. Visiting Chiang Mai's temples is fantastic: the solid teak Wat Phan Tao, the extensive Wat Phra Singh and the massive, if damaged chedi, of Wat Chedi Luang.
Thursday 17: I enjoyed the Nepali cookery course so much that I've decided to take a half-day lesson in Thai cooking here in Chiang Mai. First, we are taken to the little local market where we are shown the various different ingredients that we will be using. Next, it's back to the kitchen where the ingredients have been cleaned and pre-prepared so all we have to do is chop, crush, mix and cook. We have a choice of what we would like to cook so I opt for spring rolls, Thai green chicken curry and, my favourite, fried chicken with cashew nuts.
Slideshow Chiang Mai.