Thailand, 2nd - 8th February 2007


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Bangkok, Thailand, 2nd February 2007

The Grand Palace Complex is one of the main tourist attractions in Bangkok, and consequently where we went when I had my first morning off. It consisted of two sections: the first, the Royal Monastery, consisted of temples in Sri-Lankraen, Thai and Cambodian styles spread over two levels, as well as various statues and daemon guards. The temples and many of the daemons were covered with with gold leaf or glass and ceramic tiles. Most of the buildings were 150-200 years old, but were restored every 10 years. The galleries, which lined the walls of the monastery, contained murals of the Hindu legend of Rama, in a combination of paint and gold leaf, which were restored every 50 years. The second enclosure contained the three royal palaces, which were used for various ceremonial purposes (but did not function as residences for the king).

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The Grand Palace complex, Bangkok


The Grand Palace complex, Bangkok


Statue of hermit/physician, The Grand Palace


Daemon guard, The Grand Palace


The Grand Palace


Statue, The Grand Palace


Lion, The Grand Palace


Elephants, The Grand Palace


Buddha, The Grand Palace


Sara, The Grand Palace


Buddha, The Grand Palace


Daemon Guard, The Grand Palace


Angkor Wat in miniature, The Grand Palace


Daemon with hen's tail and legs, The Grand Palace


The Grand Palace Complex


Daemons, The Grand Palace


The Grand Palace Complex


Temple of the Jade Buddha, The Grand Palace


Sara, The Grand Palace


Tree, The Grand Palace


The Grand Palace Complex


Monk, The Grand Palace Complex


Bonsai, The Grand Palace

Chiang Mai, Thailand, 3rd February 2007

We arrived in Chiang Mai on the last day of the annual flower festival. Unfortunately we were too late to see the parade itself, but made our way to Buak Hat Park where the floats from the parade were on display and a street fair was continuing for some time. One of the best things about Thailand is the wonderful food available from street vendors everywhere, particularly the little fried coconut-milk things with corn kernels in the middle. Anyone who tells you to avoid street food in Thailand and only eat from "Western" restaurants is nuts, and can be safely ignored.

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Floats, Chiang Mai Flower Festival


Floats, Chiang Mai Flower Festival


Floats, Chiang Mai Flower Festival


Buak Hat Park, Chiang Mai Flower Festival


Chiang Mai Flower Festival


Sara, Chiang Mai Flower Festival


Chiang Mai Flower Festival


Street vendor, Chiang Mai


Fish grilling, Chiang Mai


Buak Hat Park, Chiang Mai Flower Festival


Chiang Mai Flower Festival


Chiang Mai Flower Festival


Sara, Chiang Mai Flower Festival


Orchids, Chiang Mai Flower Festival


Orchids, Chiang Mai Flower Festival


Orchids, Chiang Mai Flower Festival


Sara, Chiang Mai Flower Festival

Chiang Mai, Thailand, 4th February 2007 - Maesa Elephant Camp

Our first full day in Chiang Mai, we visited Maesa Elephant Camp. Elephants were originally used in logging and as beasts of burden, however, in this camp they seemed well cared for, and their main tasks were entertaining and giving rides to tourists. Sara and I took a short ride on a 34-year-old female elephant named Mae Krong - having recently tried riding a horse for the first time, I have to say that I prefer being on an elephant. The baby elephants are also incredibly cute.

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Maesa Elephant Camp, Chiang Mai


Maesa Elephant Camp, Chiang Mai


Maesa Elephant Camp, Chiang Mai


Sara and elephant, Maesa Elephant Camp


Maesa Elephant Camp, Chiang Mai


Sara, Maesa Elephant Camp, Chiang Mai


Maesa Elephant Camp, Chiang Mai


Maesa Elephant Camp, Chiang Mai


Maesa Elephant Camp, Chiang Mai


Maesa Elephant Camp, Chiang Mai


Maesa Elephant Camp, Chiang Mai


Sara and baby elephant, Maesa Elephant Camp


On board an elephant, Maesa Elephant Camp


Maesa Elephant Camp, Chiang Mai


Elephants bathing, Maesa Elephant Camp

Chiang Mai, Thailand, 4th February 2007 - Wat Chadi Luang and Wat Phra Singh

Wat Chadi Luang and Wat Phra Singh are the two largest temple sites within Chiang Mai itself. Wat Chadi Luang had been partially destroyed by an earthquake, and a recent project to rebuild it had replaced some of the elephants and gold buddhas, but had not been completed. We walked back to our hotel through the Ratchadamnoen Sunday market, which was huge, covering many blocks and side streets as well.

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Buddhas, Wat Chadi Luang, Chiang Mai


Wat Chadi Luang, Chiang Mai


Wat Chadi Luang, Chiang Mai


Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai


Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai


Ratchadamnoen Road Market, Chiang Mai


Temple, Ratchadamnoen Road, Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, Thailand, 5th February 2007 - Doi Suthep

Doi Suthep is a mountain top temple about ten miles from Chiang Mai. There are about 300 steps to climb to get to the temple. (There's also the option of a funicular, but I wouldn't recommend it since it's fully enclosed and therefore not a very interesting ride.) Unfortunately, when we were there, there was too much smoke and fog to be able to appreciate the views, but the temple itself was, nevertheless very beautiful.

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Sara, Steps to Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai


Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai


Sara, Steps to Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai


Naga, Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai


Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai


Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai


Buddha under Bodhi Tree, Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai


Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai


Bells, Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai


Sara, Doi Suthep


Golden tortoise, Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai


Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai


Sara, Peacock Gate, Doi Suthep


White elephant, Doi Suthep


Buddhas, Doi Suthep


Doi Suthep


Doi Suthep


Doi Suthep


Doi Suthep

Chiang Mai, Thailand, 6th - 7th February 2007

The Riverview Lodge, where we stayed, had an old colonial feel to it, and some very nice gardens full of curious items and oddments that the owner had collected, where I took a number of photographs. Unfortunately the hotel's plumbing seemed to be similarly old-fashioned and eccentric, so I can't really recommend it for those who like hot water in the mornings.

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Riverview Lodge, Chiang Mai


Riverview Lodge, Chiang Mai


Riverview Lodge, Chiang Mai


Riverview Lodge, Chiang Mai


Riverview Lodge, Chiang Mai


Riverview Lodge, Chiang Mai


Sara, Riverview Lodge, Chiang Mai


Sara, Riverview Lodge, Chiang Mai


Warorot flower market, Chiang Mai


Warorot flower market, Chiang Mai


Rickshaws, Chiang Mai


Rickshaw, Chiang Mai


Tuk tuk, Chiang Mai

Bangkok, Thailand, 7th - 8th February 2007

On returning to Bangkok, Sara and I decided to visit the Oriental Hotel, a very wonderful, colonial-style hotel that I wish we could afford to stay at. We decided to have tea and scones in the Author's Lounge, with its huge atrium and tall pine trees, and felt extremely civilized.

On my last afternoon in Bangkok, I had just enough time left to visit the Jim Thompson house and catch the last tour of the day. Jim Thompson was an American who lived in Thailand for many years and is credited with re-establishing the Thai silk industry. He assembled his house out of six traditional Thai houses, moved from various locations, and filled it with his personal collection of art and antiques. Unfortunately photos were not allowed in the houses themselves, though I did attempt a few of some of the flowers in the gardens.

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Sara, The Oriental Hotel, Bangkok


Sara, The Oriental Hotel, Bangkok


Flowers, Jim Thompson House, Bangkok


Flowers, Jim Thompson House, Bangkok


Flowers, Jim Thompson House, Bangkok


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