Saturday, March 10, 2007

Chang Mai

Chang Mai is the second biggest city in Thailand and it was the last city we visited on the guided portion of our trip.

On the way into town we visited an umbrella factory. It was an assembly line of Thai women making very impressive bamboo umbrellas all by hand. They made their own paper, cut the bamboo, sewed it together, and painted it all by hand. And they were extremely efficient at it.
The city of Chang Mai has a lot of history to it. In the olden days there was a large city wall that ran all the way around the central city.Now, everything inside the wall is considered the "old city" but there were a lot of great temples in there and Erin and I spent some time walking through them. We also to a tour of the most famous temple in northern Thailand, Wat Prathat Doi Suthep. It is a temple on top of the mountain overlooking Chang Mai. The temple itself is amazing but the view of Chang Mai is what I liked the best. There was also a very cool 306-step staircase to the top of the mountain that we had to climb.
Erin and I also spent some time exploring the rest of the city. We visited the local market, which was nice to see because all the rest of the markets we went to were more touristy. We also went to the flower market and the vast night market. In the night market Erin saw some jeans she liked so she asked the store owner if there was a changing room for trying on the jeans. "Yes, yes" was the reply "Right here." View the changing room:We lucked out one night and got to go to a Kantoke cultural dinner. We hadn't signed up for this optional tour but there several people that had signed up who had got sick of Thai food by the end of the trip and decided to skip, so we could go for free. It turned out to be a great night. It was a Thai dinner in the style reserved for royalty. We sat on the ground, had excellent food, and watched some traditional Thai dances.

They even called me on the stage to do one of the dances. It wasn't very difficult. Do you think she liked me? I think so.
Then at the end of the night they set off the lanterns, which signified releasing the spirits. It was pretty cool, everybody would hold the rim of the lantern and the flame would be lit in the center. As the air heated in the lantern it would start to rise and then everyone would let go. They went thousands of feet up and hundreds of the lanterns were released so it looked really sweet.


Post a Comment

<< Home