Wednesday, February 29, 2012

270112 Mae Tam to Huay Nam Khun

Waiting in front of the temple:


Last view of flat land from the bed of a twincab:


The nice paved bits:


The unpaved sections weren't as dusty as expected (no place can beat Sayabouly in Laos when it comes to dust anyway), but it was clear that Coffee Journeys wouldn't be possible during the rainy season.

Lookout point:


Familiar landscape - very little primary forest left, most of the existing forest is secondary growth:


Chiangrai city somewhere down there:


The annual haze kicked in 2 days later - on our return journey Chiangrai would no longer be visible.

明朗村 Ming Lang village, Huay Nam Khun - the Chinese village ~4 rather steep KM below Ban Maejantai:


Kids from Ban Maejantai & other neighbouring villages attend the primary & secondary school here. A few years ago, Lee returned with Child's Dream to build a boarding house & renovate the classrooms of his alma mater (photos from the opening ceremony here). Quite a few in the group asked Lee how he made the daily trek to/from school in the days before motorbikes & twincabs, especially during the rainy season.

5th day of Chinese New Year - the couplets are identical to those in Singapore, & this wooden house is similar to the one built by the cat's maternal grandfather:


Like how the bottom part of the door is painted to match the concrete foundations :)

Gong Xi Fa Cai - $$$ is never far from the minds of Chinese people:


At least half of Ming Lang village's population seemed to be crowded around the gambling tables at the village fair...just like how gambling is very much a part of Chinese New Year celebrations in Singapore.

Someone asked the cat about these white paper decorations:


The cut portions are supposed to resemble copper coins tied together with string. In the old days coins had holes through the centre & they could be tied together with string to form larger denominations of (1 string of 1000 copper coins). 1 tael of gold = 10 taels of silver = 10 'strings' of copper coins = 10000 copper coins.

Stopped by a shop to buy a big fat load of 'alu' (potato) for making the well-loved Akha mashed potato dish & boiled potato soup, & for people to stock up on 'city food'. No idea what these white roots sitting on top of the garlic are:


270112 Wat Mae Tam

Where the road to Ban Huay Nam Khun & Ban Maejantai branches off from HWY 118...


'Indian-style' temple murals in the Chiangrai countryside:


The paintings in many temples in Thailand & Laos tend to show the same characters in the same scenes from the Buddha's life story with local (Thai or Lao) facial features, hairstyles & dress...when all those events took place in India.

Rather unique ยอดช่อฟ้า yot chor faa on the ridge of the viharn roof - hongsa with a little naga:


Elegant chedi:




The woodcarvings are not perfectly symmetrical but it adds to the charm:


270112 Chiangmai to Wiang Pa Pao

Break from normal late January 2012 the cat went on a 3D2N trip with 20+ other people to an Akha friend's village & coffee farm in Chiangrai province.

Coffee Journey with Akha Ama to learn how this happens - the entire process from seed to cup:


A stranger busy filming the cat as it walked down Hussadhisawee Soi 3 towards Akha Ama Cafe...?? Turned out that a production crew was coming along to film a documentary for Thai PBS channel...a fortnight later another crew from Switzerland would be here for a similar purpose...

Ban Maejantai is somewhere up in the mountains of Chiangrai province, northeast of Phrao. Chartered songthaew would take the 20+ of us along the highway to Mae Tam, just north of Wiang Pa Pao. There we would switch to 3 twincabs for the 1.5+h climb on 30+KM of mostly unpaved dirt road up to the village.

The Chiangmai-Mae Khajan-Wiang Pa Pao songthaew:


Never knew songthaew came with any sort of load or passenger limit but the capacity is painted there just left of the tail light - 1800 KG, seat 12 pax, stand " - " pax...when we all know it is minimum 4 pax standing/clinging on in reality ;)


Familiar Mae Khajan landmark - midpoint marker for all the Chiangmai-Chiangrai journeys:


New rice yet to be transplanted:


Lunch stop at a place in Wiang Pa Pao known for its fish kuaytiao:


Kao Lao Leuat Muu? What has pig's blood got to do with fish kuaytiao...?


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

north thailand 2012

  1. 17 Jan - SIN > BKK > Chiangmai
  2. 18 Jan - Chiangmai > Mae Sariang
  3. 19 Jan - Mae Sariang (Pha Mor Lor)
  4. 20 Jan - Mae Sariang > Mae La Noi
  5. 21 Jan - Mae La Noi (Tham Kaew Komol)
  6. 22 Jan - Mae La Noi > Khun Yuam
  7. 23 Jan - Khun Yuam
  8. 24 Jan - Khun Yuam > Mae Hong Son
  9. 25 Jan - Mae Hong Son
  10. 26 Jan - Mae Hong Son > Chiangmai
  11. 27 Jan - Chiangmai > Ban Maejantai
  12. 28 Jan - Ban Maejantai
  13. 29 Jan - Ban Maejantai > Chiangmai
  14. 30 Jan - Chiangmai
  15. 31 Jan - Chiangmai (Wiang Kum Kam)
  16. 01 Feb - Lamphun
  17. 02 Feb - Chiangmai (Phra Non-Klang-Pa Kluay-Ko Klang-Tham Mai I-Ton Ngiu)
  18. 03 Feb - Chiangmai > Chom Thong > Mae Chaem (Ngan Pha Tin Chok + Chang Koeng)
  19. 04 Feb - Mae Chaem (Ngan Pha Tin Chok + Phrao Num + Thongfai-Ban Thap)
  20. 05 Feb - Mae Chaem (Ngan Pha Tin Chok + Muang Chaem-Pa Daet-Yang Luang-Ban Thap-Thongfai)
  21. 06 Feb - Mae Chaem > Chom Thong > Chiangmai
  22. 07 Feb - Chiangmai (Buak Khrok Luang)
  23. 08 Feb - Chiangmai (RIT-CMU-Umong-Nimman)
  24. 09 Feb - Chiangmai > Lampang (Na Kuam-Sipongchai-Chomphu)
  25. 10 Feb - Lampang (Sipongchai-Chomphu-Lampang Klang-Lampang Luang-Lai Hin)
  26. 11 Feb - Lampang
  27. 12 Feb - Lampang
  28. 13 Feb - Lampang > Chiangmai
  29. 14 Feb - Chiangmai
  30. 15 Feb - CNX > SIN