Chiang Mai Pictures
We flew directly to Chiang Mai from Penang Island, checked into our hotel, rested for few hours, went to dinner and ended up at the famous Chiang Mai night market.
The market had an enormous array of crafts and clothing.
One section of the market was full of artists who would paint or draw portraits for a price - mostly from photos that we could see. The talent of these artists was amazing and we just stood there and watched them for a while.
There was a Starbuck next to the night market and we stopped in for a pick-me-up.
Our taxi back to the hotel was typical of Chiang Mai, a converted pickup truck with padded seats in bed and no rear door. Here, the girls do their best to keep from fall out the back.
We stayed at the Palm Springs Hotel outside of the downtown area. Breakfast came with our room. We loved the place, although there were a lot of mosquitoes.
We hired a guide and visited an elephant training center about an hour from Chiang Mai. This sign says "Caution, elephant crossing 100 meters ahead."
The entrance to the elephant training center.
Near the entrance there were two small Buddhist shrines - for safety and health of the elephants and trainers.
We took a ride on a couple elephants.
We watched the trainers wash their elephants in the river.
An elephant with its trainer.
Elephant skin is very thick.
After the elephants got their bath in the river, we walked over to an arena and they put on demonstration of logging techniques. There were perhaps 20 to 30 other tourist there and was very well done.
They also did an elephant painting demonstration. Katie actually bought this piece of artwork.
Katie and Pueo pose for a picture with the baby elephant (the artist) and its trainer.
They did a good job with the signs at the elephant training center.
Near the entrance to the training center, there were handicrafts for sale by members of a local tribe.
We had a great lunch at Chiang Dao Nest 2, a mini-resort with bungalows catering to tourists.
After lunch we drove to Chiang-Dao Caves. These are temple ruins (of Burmese design) carved into the side of the mountain near the cave entrance.
We learned there are five interconnected caves that make up the Tham Chiang Dao complex. Supposedly they extend for 6 or 7 miles into the mountain. Two of the caves are illuminated by electric lights. The other three can be explored with a local lady who carries a kerosene lantern.
There were a number of alters and Buddha images in the cave. This statue was near the entrance.
After going through the lighted Tham Phra Nawn cave, we decided to hire a couple of lantern ladies to take us through one of unlit caves. Here, Cheryl and girls stop for a picture with our guide for the day.
The geology of the Chiang Dao area is limestone and the formations in the cave were beautiful, despite some obvious deterioration from visitors over the years.
After visiting the cave, we passed by another Buddhist temple.
This newly built pagoda was also near the cave entrance.
That same day we took a raft ride. It was relaxing for the most part with some exciting moments as Katie and Cheryl's raft almost flipped - due to local children hopping on for a lift down stream.
Lauren slightly looking bored with Todd at the end of the raft ride.
We learned that after they take tourists down the river, they disassemble the rafts and load the bamboo into a truck for the ride back to the starting point. We never saw any other tourists, but we saw these rafts waiting to be loaded.
There was a lady selling cold drinks at the end of the ride.
A typical street on the outskirts of Chiang Mai. We stopped here on the way back because our guide wanted to show us an outdoor food market (across the street, out of the picture). We spent about 15 minutes walking through while he explained what the different stalls sold. It was fascinating, although the smells were strange and pungent and the girls were eager to get back to the van.
On our last night in Chiang Mai, we had to visit the Night Market one more time.
Lauren and Katie buying dessert from a street vendor near the night market. They ordered a crepe with chocolate, banana and sweetened condensed milk.
Todd noticed that a street vendor offered iced coffee. So, he put down his 30 baht (79 cents) and they give it to him in a plastic bag. It was good.