This is my 230th post and I thought I’d do something I haven’t done before and publish a post provided by a couple of readers of the blog who recently holidayed in Thailand. The reason I have done this, apart from being lazy, is that almost their entire trip in the North of Thailand was planned using my blog and the stories of places Gaun and I enjoyed in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. It was interesting to see familiar places we visited from another point of view (closer to the ground!) and of course the photos that resulted from the trip.
The words that go along with the photos have been provided by a friend of the readers who travelled along with them.
A warm bear hug from Teddy and Tuk Ka Ta Mhee also known as the Teddies. We discovered this website over a year ago and found the travelling tips that Tony published very helpful. As a way of thanking him, we thought it may be helpful to contribute to his website by sharing our experiences while travelling in Thailand. We also would like to publicly acknowledge his generous and kind predisposition to help, which made our travel more efficient and enjoyable.
For those who may be interested to know a little about us, contrary to expectations, teddy bears do not live in the wild but tend to inhabit homes, shops and, on occasions, offices. We come in different sizes but being bigger does not necessarily equate to being better, that’s our view of course and as they say one size does not fit all.
We do love travelling and we have a passion for food but we are not gluttonous unless it is honey of course. By being in contact with humans, between us, we have learnt to speak a few languages but none carry greater value than Thai when in Thailand and that has bailed us out on a few occasions. If you are a Westerner then you may wish to know that “Tuk Ka Ta” means “doll” and Mhee is the female version of “bear”.
We have a motto and it reads “…Live well, laugh often and love much.” These are not our words actually but those we happened to see displayed in a sheep farm one day. As we liked it so much we decided to adopt it…the motto that is and not the sheep!
Our recent journey began south with a week in Koh Chang
As teddies on holiday we enjoy getting very busy at the beach doing absolutely nothing. We must confess that one of us cannot swim and the other can just about float.
Anyway, we do not really understand all the efforts entailed in staying afloat when there are perfectly sized boats which move faster and keep you dry! The pools, two of them, were beautiful though and we enjoyed being playful, splashing water to one another until we were politely reminded by staff that we should leave the kids area to the kids…oh well, mai bpen rai as they say over here.
When it comes to transport over a short route, most people rely either on taxis and/or tuk tuk but as we are Teddies we use flying elephants and occasionally flying turtles. Some people suggested we should try pigs too but only fools would believe that pigs can fly therefore we decided not to pursue that option.
Because, we are “Teddies in love”, at the end of each day’s beautiful sunset, we marvelled in appreciation and cuddled each other in the comforting thought that mother nature affords us very beautiful gifts and wondered why is it that humans often disregard their surroundings preferring to go to war and mercilessly killing one another over different ideologies.
At the end of our stay in Koh Chang we wowed to return there again.
For our second week we headed to Chiang Rai and decided to fly Teddies first class. As you can see, we enjoy our little comforts.
Wherever we go, we tend to get friendly smiles but in Chiang Rai they even laid a musical welcome for us which was greatly appreciated.
Once there, we set out on a discovery trail and we loved the Night Bazaar, sampled many foods, enjoyed the music and the cooler air in the evenings.
During day time we found time for excursions
One of the places we went to was the splendid Doi Tung Royal Villa, which was the Princess Mother’s residence when she was alive
The colourful and well manicured gardens seem to reflect a French-Swiss theme, possibly influenced by the Princess Mother’s European background when she was younger.
The Singha Park was also lovely and many activities including walking and cycling could be taken there.
We decided to have lunch while overlooking the vast estate. As the back of the restaurant with those exceptional views tends to be very busy, you may wish to book in advance.
We will not quickly forget the atmosphere in Chiang Rai, the slower pace, the kindness of the locals and the general beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Wat Rong Khun, also known as the white temple, was next in our list on our way to Chiang Mai..
This is the incredible work of a talented Thai artist named Chalermchai Kositpipat. When completed it will consist of nine buildings. The outstretched hands in the photo symbolise humans’ unrestrained desires. The bridge shows how the road to happiness can be achieved by giving up on temptation, greed and desire.
Although it is a Buddhist temple and the surroundings are full of meaning, the overall theme is contemporary and unconventional and it also draws reference from several sources including Western idols.
Wat Prachao Luang (we think this is the name but the Romanized spelling may vary) was a little trickier to locate and this is when Tony came to our assistance by emailing a map and photos in the morning which helped us find the place. Once there it felt like a magical place.
The views were incredible and the lack of visitors coupled with the stillness of a sunny mid afternoon rendered the place very spiritual. We spent a couple of hours there including time for our prayers giving thanks and we were lucky enough to meet the chief monk too.
The tranquillity of Prachao Luang was in direct contrast with Doi Suthep just outside Chiang Mai, which although extremely beautiful was very busy with visitors. How the monks can manage to meditate with the incessant din remained a mystery to us.
Once in Chiang Mai and 1,800 metres above sea level, we visited Bubhing Palace. This is where the Royal Family comes to stay when visiting Northern Thailand.
Tuk Ka Ta Mhee loved the flowers and there were plentiful here.
We promised each other that we would return one day.
Visiting Chiang Mai zoo and seeing many our friends from Sarah the giraffe, Alfred the elephant, Philip the hippo together with a sleeping panda, felt like a natural habitat. We had much fun there and walked so much until our little feet begged us to rest and so we did. The photo is with the sleeping panda. As they say…when in Rome…
Although it is developing and expanding quickly, Chiang Mai has managed to keep most of its charm and distinct culture.
A moat and city walls are still standing in the old part of the city. There are various temples and there is an incredible never-ending Sunday market where both Thai locals and those from surrounding districts come to sell their arts and crafts. However, do not take our words for it as it must be seen to be believed.
So thank you once again to our good friend Tony with whom we intend to keep in touch.