Saturday, June 18, 2016

Thirty days in Thailand - Days 11, 12, 13, and 14

Thirty Days in Thailand - Days 11, 12, & 13 So we stayed another day in a Phayao (payeow) rice farming village. We borrowed the neighbors motorcycle and rode out to the Champa Thong waterfalls about an hour away.. I climbed to level five and iI have to say it was a challenge. We then rode over to a market and an ancient wat had lunch shopped and headed back to the house...mission accomplished! Later that evening we aired up the tires on the bikes and rode meandering through rice fields until we arrived at a small wooden house where a mother and her little toddler lived with her husband who was apparently working in the fields. My Thai friend asked her if we could purchase Thai sky lanterns or khom loi as they are called. There are different sizes and we bought five medium size for 20 baht each (60 cents). She put them in a trash bag for us because it looked like it might begin to rain on our 15 minute bike ride back. Apparently she made them by hand which consist of a couple strips of bamboo, transparent paper a thin wire, and an igniter which is a section of toilet paper soaked in a flammable wax like substance. When you are ready you wire the wax ring to the bottom of the lantern two people hold up the top and one person lights it from below and wait 60 seconds and let it go. Its pretty cool the first time you do it. When a Thai person dies one khom loi is lit for every year that person lived. So we had a nice dinner of fresh local tilapia (a native fish to Thailand) salted, stuffed with lemon grass and grilled, deboned with lettuce, basil, mint, cilantro, culantro, and spicy Thai peanut sauce prepared into a lazy susan...aka lettuce wraps...out of this world good! Then we set off the lanterns talked a while and went to bed. The next morning we set out in the truck for Chiang Rai about an hour and a half away. We stopped off at the White Palace (see photos) and another wat / buddhist temple (more photos) then we got to the river and hot springs. The water is boiling hot and they sell three eggs in a basket you can buy to boil yourself complete with instructions on how long to let it soak for level of doneness. You pay to sit in the hot springs and cycle the hot water in with a valve at your leisure. It is said to cure pretty much any illness if you visit often enough. We then headed over to the restaurant that sells the best chicken in town, had a great meal by the river. Then we set out to the Doi Hang elephant park where you can ride elephants through the river for 300 baht ($9.00)for half an hour for two people. We fed them two stalks of bananas and two bags of sugar cane before our ride through the middle of the Mae Kok River. It was not a smooth ride but very entertaining. We then headed on to Chiang Rai and had dinner and checked in to our hotel. We then took a ride over to Harrys Lounge and no its not a bar. He is a guy who has lived in Phayou for 36 years and was quality control over the building of more than 20 US embassies around the world including Moscow, Saudi Arabia and what a resume...and the nicest guy in the world. He showed us his new electric three wheeler..pretty cool (see photo). Our friends returned to Phayao. So we stayed two days in Chiang Rai and just relaxed. The Fun-D hotel had a great restaurant and very friendly staff. We only paid 200 baht a night each ($6.00) and had a great time see video of Thai elvis singing here ... We also did a lot of shopping and went to the night bazaar in Chiang Rai. Tomorrow we meet back up with friends and head to Myanmar for duty free shopping at Mae Sai border crossing, then to the golden triangle, then on to the Laos border in Chiang Khong on the Mekong river. Say prayers! We are taking a slow boat two days up the Mekong into Luang Prabang Laos.
Map of the area.
View of the rice firelds from our homestay in Phayao.
Trip to Champa Thong waterfalls
trip to Champa Thong park
Honey combs and lots of them in the trees at Champa Thong national park.
Scary ancient Wat near Phayao
Scary ancient wat near Phayao.
Amazing home made fish lettuce wraps with spicy Thai peanut sauce
Preparing the lanterns for lift off.

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