The road got worse and we left the farms behind and entered the mountains. Mostly all jungle now, with nice views and once in a while we could see the river to our left and Burma on the other side.
Got to the town of Mae Sariang just before dark and again, got one of those hotels that seem to be the biggest in town, yet only cost 300 baht and get pretty full. This one seemed to full of truckers as there was a big parking lot in the back. Just up the road was one of those 99 baht AYCE barbecue’s where you cook your own food at your table on a charcoal fed cooker. I don’t see how they make any money as I made about 7 trips to the chicken/pork/ and beef section and then had 4 ice cream cones for desert. Our total bill for the 3 of us was $10.00!
Have internet Wi-fi access at the hotel so, was able to catch up on some work although the real work of building a new website will have to wait until we get back to Phuket.
Yesterday, I had a phone call about a job for the 24th of Jan. I had to make a quick decision and decided to take it. Now our trip has a much different feel to it as we have a schedule of some sorts. I am still driving away from home but realize that we are going to have to head back at a certain time. It is a much better feeling to not have a plan and just take things day by day and go with the flow. I wish I would’ve said no now that I’ve given it more thought and experience this feeling of urgency now. Oh well. We still have 10 days to go so I should just calm down and enjoy.
Well, I thought it would be a 4 hour drive to Chiang Mai from Mae Sariang but it turned into 2 days. But they were 2 good days.
As we got closer, we saw signs for a National Park that Thum said was no. 1 in Thailand and it also was home to the country’s highest peak. It seems the Kings mother loved this place and turned it into a royal project to growflowers, coffee, and indigenous vegetables and trees and all kinds of horticulture.
Although it was cold, we could camp for only 30 baht a night ($1) which we did. The campground turned out to be very crowded and we were one of the few with a fire as we had our little square charcoal grill to build one in. In the morning, we headed up the road to the high point and, sure enough, it was very cold up there. The views weren’t so good but the trees were big and the top was a grove of woods that was pretty cool. Also, we stopped at the Royal Project and it was very beautiful with flowers, irrigation ditches planned out with waterfalls and very natural looking and picturesque place. It was the most beautiful part of Thailand we’ve seen so far.
On the way down, we stopped at 2 big Stupas that were very picturesque with flowers everywhere. We took lots of pics and then stopped at a nice river to cook a bit before heading into the big city.
Once in the city, we used the GPS once again to find the hotel that I had found on the internet. The Royal Guest House was the name and it had a good location near the night bazaar and the canal. It was a bit expensive after all of those 200-300 baht rooms. This one was 580 baht but had a swimming pool.
We took a walk around the night market and Thum bought some long pants as it is so much cooler here than Phuket and she is not well prepared.
In the morning, we headed out to go to Doi Sathep which is an old temple on a mountain about 17 kms northwest of Chiang Mai. But on the way driving there, we saw the zoo so decided to go there instead
Pretty impressive zoo although I haven’t been to one in about 20 years or so. It was very big and we put some miles in this day. First up was the giraffes which you could feed and Simon always loves feeding animals. Then, after the white tiger, we paid again to go into the Panda building. They have 2, a male and a female. You had to be quiet, no flash pics and even had to walk through some water that was disinfectant for bugs I guess. The male was pretty cool sitting on his big throne and eating wood it seemed. He put on quite a show for the cameras clicking away. The female was sleeping but they both looked healthy.
We then headed up a steep hill and headed back, seeing penguins, rhino, lots of monkeys, and 2 lions among playgrounds and lots of cool stuff. Simon was pretty excited the whole day.
Back in our room, I found that if I stood outside on our balcony, I could get WiFi to login and do some work. We’re finding Wifi more and more all over the country.
Now, all pictures from this trip have been uploaded and can be seen here