Thursday, May 19, 2011

Watch out for the "friendly" locals...

Monday May 16 - Tuesday May 17 - Chiang Mai

Yet another two days of Brandon setting the alarm incorrectly and waking us up early.  Lindsay has taken over alarm duty.

On Tuesday we flew from Bangkok to Chiang Mai via Bangkok Air, the local discount airlines.  U.S. airlines need to take note.  Their discount airlines have airport lounges and serve amazing snacks on all flights, even on our 1 hour flight.

Once we arrived in Chiang Mai we went straight to site seeing.  First stop, the Old City which includes many old Buddhist temples.  It look Lindsay longer than most to figure out the appropriate way to sit in the temples, but she finally figured it out.  Before leaving the hotel they told us to beware of "friendly" locals around the temples.  It did not take long before we meant one of the "friendly" locals who almost conned us into tours.  Luckily Brandon was on his A game and figured out his tricky ways.

For dinner the hotel recommend Ruen Tamarind at the Tamarind Village hotel.  We enjoyed Tamarind short ribs.  We finished the dinner off with some delicious Asian Delight ice cream (made with coconut milk).

For our second day in Chiang Mai we hired a tour guide.  After exploring the Old City on our own, we realized that in order to gain any cultural knowledge, we needed local help.  Our hotel arrange Pegung to show us the city for the day.

We began our adventure at the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep.  This temple is on the nearby mountain and offers great views of Chiang Mai. Today was a Buddhist holiday where the locals walk the 8 miles to the base of the temple.  An additional 360 steps are required to reach the temple's entrance. 

There are many hill villages that surround Chiang Mai.  After the temple we decided to explore.  One of the tribes we visited was the "Longneck Tribe". Females born on Wednesday are required to wear gold rings around their neck (stretches neck).  The tribe believes they are prone to attack by local animals and the gold rings protect their necks.   The women have extensive bruises on their shoulders due to the weight of the rings.  Lindsay tried on half of the rings and could feel the pressure on her shoulders.

Finally, we strolled through the manufacturing district to see some local specialties including silk, jewelry, and wood carving.  

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