Thailand Trip – August 20-27, 2016 – Photos
We departed from Tan Son Nhat airport to Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok (08:25 – 10:00am). We took taxi from the airport to Holiday Inn hotel. It took about 30 minutes. Always, airport located very far from the citizen zone.
- 11:00am: arrived Holiday Inn. We met a nice and beautiful receptionist. When checking at our passports, she asked me “did you come to Taiwan?” “Yes.”. She said she was there one year ago. It is a wonderful and expensive hotel; of course, it’s a 5-star hotel.
- 1:00pm: we had lunch at a Thai restaurant. That was the first time I’ve tasted Tom Yum (similar to Canh Chua) steam rice, and drank coconut. Coconuts here are not as sweet as Vietnamese ones. Tom Yum is prepared with lemon leaves, lemon grass, shrimp (sometimes chicken) and mushroom. It is cooked with coconut juice or some places use coconut milk. Its taste is like canh chua but lighter. I recognized there are many small alters along the roads. Siamese do worship for their King. When we came Thai, this country was still in their national mourning. Bangkok is similar to Ho Chi Minh City. Today was Sunday so the city was not so busy.
- 4:00pm: we visited Wat Pho. 100baht/ticket/person. I saw a giant Buddha statue. The Reclining Buddha statue is 15 meters high and 46 meters long. Buddha legs is 5 meters long and 3 meters high. It’s absolutely wonderful. Wat Pho (Wat means Pagoda) is on Thawang Road, next to Grand Palace, where recent king is living. We also passed by Grand Palace but it was closed at 4:00pm.
- 5:10pm: We walked to a pier and started an awesome trip on Chao Phraya River. 500baht/person is for one-hour-trip. Chao Phraya River flows through Bangkok and then into Gulf of Thailand. This is the major river of the country. It also is a busy port. We traveled on a big boat. The boat driver was very friendly. He called us by “Hello! Hello!” When we turn around, he used his index finger to show us many interesting things along the Chao Phraya River. At the time we almost finished the tour, we had to move to another boat. The second driver was also really nice. Because his English was not good, he acted. Yes, he stepped forward us and took our camera and took us some photos. We looked at each other and laughed. He took not only us, but also landscape around many photos. My partner said he did make some amazing pictures. Wat Pho is on this side of the river, then look at the other side of the river, there is Wat Arun. By the way, local people have to pay only 3 bath to go across the river.
- 8:00pm: Dinner time. Yeah!! We walked to a small night market which is near Holiday-Inn Hotel. I enjoyed real Thai food: Tom Yum, Mango with sticky rice and pineapple juice. So awesome !!!
- 6:30 am: we woke up. We did not want to waste any minute in that wonderful place.
- 7:10 am: We wandered on Silom Road to look for something for breakfast. I had a chance to try a kind of pad Thai. I asked a Siamese next to me what the name of the food in Thai, but she did not understand English. My partner said Pad Thai is like Bún of Vietnam. There are many bún in our country, so the same in Thai, there are many Pad Thai. We stopped by a small coffee shop and ordered 1 latte. We experienced that Siamese drink so much water and beverage, so every time we ordered 2 coffees, or 2 smoothies, we couldn’t finish up. Therefore, we ordered only 1 latte in order to not waste the beverage. The owner of the coffee shop tried to guess where we come from, but hopeless. At least, he was right to say that we are from Indochina.
- 8:00am: We were back to hotel and checked out. One night at a real five-star hotel, actually, was not really special to me. In fact, I do not like something luxury, accommodation also. It took around $100. Oops! We departed to Chiang Mai at DonMung airport. 10:45am, our flight took off and took 1h10m from the airport to Chiang Mai.
- 11:50am: Chiang Mai, here we go!! We searched a place to stay. We stopped by Sarah Guest House at first, but there was no room available. Then, we moved to another guest house to try our luck. Well, actually there are many guest houses with accepted prices around this place. Finally, we got a room costed 1000 bath with perfect sight at Macasa Guest house. After checking in, we wandered and looked for a place to have lunch. We did not eat on the plane because it was a cheap flight from AirAsia. I really like this Airline group, I like Tony Fernandes – the founder of AirAsia. No snack was served, but you could buy on the air. I was so hungry. Although there were plenty of restaurants, most of them were in Western style. We entered a small Thai restaurant and enjoyed gỏi – I did not know the name of that kind of food, sticky rice, chicken rice and a huge glass of guava. It was so delicious. Thai food is well-known about spicy taste. It’s so true. I loved gỏi so much. It was with cabbage. We went back the hotel after filling up our stomachs and took a nap from 2:58pm to 5:00pm
- 6:00pm: we visited a night market in Chiang Mai. The market was really large. It was easy to get lost without attention. There were hundreds of stores. People mostly sell Thai’s clothes. I could easily recognized tourists thanks to their clothes. They were interested in Thai style, hence they absolutely bought some and wore immediately. Me either. Inside the market, we could have dinner in a food court. I bought a Thai pants, some souvenirs for friends and colleagues. I love soaps in fruit shape (30-/bar). I also bought Thao a short (100-), daddy a Thai shirt (150-). My partner is an expert of bargaining. There was a small stage in front of the food court. Some actors were performing Thai dance. We were back hotel at 9:30pm. Oh, there were a lot of Chinese people in Chiang Mai. I even used some Chinese to talk to local people because they thought that we were Chinese, and one more reason was they could only speak Chinese and Thai, no English.
- 7:00am: My partner knew a tuk tuk driver – Mr. Moi. We took a phone call yesterday, so this morning, Mr. Moi was in front of the hotel and waited for us. It is 12 km from Chiang Mai to Doi Suthep. Mr. Moi couldn’t drive us to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, we had to hire a Song Tae (a kind a big car which drive passengers around the city) to move there.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, or Wat Doi Suthep is a very famous pagoda in Chiang Mai. Tourists have to step on many stairs if they want to enter the pagoda. I, immediately, saw a big statue of a white elephant. That elephant has his own legend. “According to legend, a monk named Sumanathera from the Sukhothai Kingdom had a dream. In this vision he was told to go to Pang Cha and look for a relic. Sumanathera ventured to Pang Cha and found a bone. Many claim it was Gautama Buddha‘s shoulder bone. The relic displayed magical powers: it glowed, it was able to vanish, it could move and replicate itself. Sumanathera took the relic to King Dhammaraja, who ruled Sukhothai. The eager Dhammaraja made offerings and hosted a ceremony when Sumanathera arrived. However, the relic displayed no abnormal characteristics, and the king, doubtful of the relic’s authenticity, told Sumanathera to keep it. King Nu Naone of Lan Na heard of the relic and bade the monk to bring it to him. In 1368, with Dharmmaraja’s permission, Sumanathera took the relic to what is now Lamphun, in northern Thailand. Once there, the relic broke into two pieces. The smaller piece was enshrined at a temple in Suandok. The other piece was placed by the king on the back of a white elephant which was released into the jungle. The elephant is said to have climbed up Doi Suthep, at that time called Doi Aoy Chang (Sugar Elephant Mountain), stopped, trumpeted three times, then dropped dead. This was interpreted as an omen. King Nu Naone immediately ordered the construction of a temple at the site.” – Wikipedia.
I could see there are many tour guides available. In the middle, there is a very high and big tower. I was told that they put Buddha relic (or sarira) inside the tower. When people visit this place, they usually put off their shoes, go around the tower with clockwise rotation, and pray or read a sutra. I did the same thing as others did. After one hour at Wat Doi Suthep, we moved to Baan Tong Luang. I got a little car sick on the way forward and backward Wat Doi Suthep because of the winding road).
- 10:45am: The way to Baan Tong Luang was very far. I noticed that in Chiang Mai, people turn on the lights of motorbike despite of daytime, and average speed was 50-60 km/h.
When we arrived Baan Tong Luang, we entered an Eco-agricultural hill tribes Village. It took us 500-/person. There are 8 tribes living in this village: Lahu, Karen, Hmong, Yao, Palong, Akha, Kayaw, and Padong. But the Padong is the most famous because of their long necks. People in this village were trained that whenever they saw people move cameras on them, they stopped doing their things or kept their movement. I don’t like it.
- 12:00pm: on the way back, we had lunch at a very small food store. It was so delicious, but a little sweet, so I had to add more sauce fish and vinegar. Because my partner and I wanted to visit Chiang Rai the next day, Mr. Moi instructed us to buy bus tickets. He stopped at a bus station, then we tried to buy 2 tickets to Chiang Rain with 340-. When we were in front of Macasa Guest house, my partner took a short talk with Mr. Moi. Mr. Moi was 74 years old. His father was Chinese and mother was Thai. He is alone and drives tuk tuk every day. He is so kind and funny. He loves making jokes to us.
- 5:45pm: It rained. The weather was so much cooler.
- 8:00pm: We came to Chiang Mai Night Market one more time for dinner. I had Turkey food – Doner Kebab – 80-. I had to wait for a long time to get my Doner Kebab. The food court is quite large. It seems that the court is divided into two separated areas. The court actually is a combination of many different stores.People come to any stores they like and order food. When the food is ready, people bring it to an available table and enjoy. After finishing, you have to return dishes to returning place by yourself. We walked around the market again. Today, there were more stores opened and more tourists than yesterday. I thought maybe today was Sunday. We were back to the guest house at 10:00pm.
- 7:00am: we walk to downtown for breakfast. Unfortunately, the time was too early. No restaurant or coffee shop opened except McDonald. My partner is a fan of McDonald. We ordered 2 sandwiches and 1 latte which perfectly provided energy for two of us.
- 8:00am: Mr. Moi was ready in front of the Macasa Guest house. He drove us to the bus station. He was so kind when driving us to the exact platform where we would depart. We said good bye to him and hoped to see him next time. At the bus station, there were plenty of foreigners despite of serous booming last week. I think that if there was no booming, the place must be full of tourists.
- 9:00am: we departed to Chiang Rai. It took 3 hours from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. I could say Chaing Mai is like Saigon, and Chiang Rai is like Tra Vinh.
- 12:00pm: We arrived. At the bus station, we had lunch with 40-/dish. My partner hired a taxi to Mae Sai. Actually, there are buses to Mae Sai, but he did want to wait so long. In fact, if we traveled by bus, it would start at 3:00pm and arrived after 1h30m. Taxi took us only 1 hour. We were in Mae Sai around 1:30pm with 650-. We walked around to look for a hotel. I really enjoy this experience, but I sometimes worried that what would happen if we couldn’t find a place to stay. We finally checked in KhaThongKham Hotel.
- 3:30pm: We took a walk around border region. A lot of Burmese people working here. They are allowed to enter Mae Sai to work to do business then go back home at the end of the day. Tourists are absolutely attracted by jewelries which made from marble or gemstone. We kept wandering a market and bought 4 T-shirts. The average price is 100-300 bath/one.
- 5:30pm: We stopped by a small coffee shop next to the border bridge between Thailand and Burma. I could see many people go backward and forward on the bridge. If you want to visit Myanmar, you just show your passport and pay $10. Oh btw, this place is also the Northern Most of Thailand.
Mae Sai Town is a major border crossing between Thailand and Burma. Mae Sai is 259 km North of Chiang Mai, 61 km north of Chiang Rai and 850 km north of BKK, is the northern most district of Thailand.
Mae Sai River or Sai River forms the natural border between Thailand and Burma at Tachikeik and Mae Sai district. It’s a tributary of Ruak River, itself a tributary of the Mekong.
We left the coffee shop and wandered along the night market. I could see Siamese and Burmese worked in the harmony. The market is not as large as Chiang Mai’s. It’s not noisy. Not many tourists visit this place. From the 4th floor of KhanThongKham Hotel, I saw that the market was not busy. I enjoyed a kind of Thai food at the market, it was really really hot. I could finish up, my partner had to help me.
Another thing that I noticed was that Royal Flags of Thailand. They are flags that are usually flown in Thailand along with the National Flag to honor the King (Yellow) and the Queen (Blue) as well as the Royal Family of Thailand. Yellow one for Monday and for the King of Thailand – Bhumibol Adulyadej (or the Ninth King) and blue one is for Friday and for Queen Sirikit. The most interesting thing is Thai has a lot of flags with different meaning and belong to different “organization”.