Monday, November 13, 2006

Chaing Mai Trip, Day One & Two: BKK->Chaing Mai; Doi Suthep, CM Zoo, Khantoke Dinner

The trip began by coach bus from the office to Hua Lumpong, the Grand Central train station of Thailand. I think it was my first times ever in that place.

It does looks slightly modern with the terrace style shops on both side and the A/C waiting area. At around 18:00 we boarded the train to Chaing Mai. The ride itself was, in all honesty, quite horrendous. Eventhough we got the sleeping carriege, the A/C was very cold. After the train staff set up the sheets, and blankets and pillows, I went up to sleep on the upper bunk. Which is a big mistake since the cold air from the A/C was blown in just above the curtain rails and directly into my head. To make the matter worse, a card game just happen to be played, quite loudly from time to time, opposite from my bunk. After fell asleep and woke up for 3 hours, I felt wide awake and decided that I had enough of the chill and went down to look for empty lower bunk to settle myself in. The first one I tried, has this exhaust fume smell coming in so often as well as the loud engine noise, so I have to switch to another one. I read the book I brought with me to kill times before went back to sleep. Morning came and it wasn't until around 9am that we finally arrive in Chaing Mai and not before I have the endure a lousy sandwich which comprise with only onion, tomato and lettuce as well as boil rice with chicken.

According to the schedule I printed out from the office, we were suppose to began our tour right away but then, much to my delight, we went to our hotel first to freshen up before began our sightseeing of Chaing Mai.

We went to a Chinese restuarant to have Lunch first, it was quite ok although I later heard from other people that it was one of the worst place to eat in CM :P

Then we headed out to Doi Suthep which is one of the most important temple and signature location of Chaing Mai. I think this is my second times there although I didn't recall most of the places... They let us spend sometime there and I took quite several photos as well. The place do looks peaceful although packed with tourists.

Click here for my photos of Doi Suthep temple

Adter Doi Suthep we headed back to Chaing Mai Zoo, with the highlight of seeing the Pandas from China. My impression of Chaing Mai Zee is that it seems... unfinish somehow... And perhaps the standard might not be up to par in some presentation. Anyhow, the pandas is now quite huge and perhaps rather lazy :P One was sleeping on the tree while another is eating bamboo from a handler behinds the bars. They has kept cool by the big fan that also spraying water mist to cool down the surrounding. Some of the photo of the pandas were not clear because the camera flash was banned.

Click here for Chaing Zoo's photo

When we headed back to our hotel from the Zoo the tour guide began to handed out the... I suppose it could be call a decorative cloth to be place over the shoulder which is a local tradition of Northern Thais or in local tongue we called "Larnna". The cloth is meant to be use in for the Khantoke Dinner which is the traditional 'Lanna dinner' serve in the occasion of foreign visitors by the head of the city. For men they have selections of three colors, blue green and light tan. I wants the blue one but it was ran out so I have to wait till later to get one from other bus. After we finish freshen up and dress up (for some, not me :P) at the hotel, we headed out to old Chaing Mai cultural Center for the dinner.

The dinner began with the reception which has a lot of locals food to choose from and tried. The idea was to really eat up before the main events since real Khantoke food are quite minimal and it would be during the show. So there will be less times to eat.

After the show was over we went back to the hotel, some of the guys in our group talked about went out to see the night life of CM but I was very tired, plus I have no desired for the straight night life anyhow :P

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