Exploring northern thereabouts!

Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai

Chiang Mai

Once we got back to the city, we had it planned to rent motorbikes out to wade out a bit. So we did.
We went to the National Park, about 70 km away, having a nice full-day ride on our semi-automatic scooters ;) It was truly amazing, we had the road all to ourselves (almost), especially through the further part of the park while plodding up on winding roads, surrounded with a dense, stunningly juicy-green forest. I couldn't help myself smiling all along the way, I really enjoyed it, so did J. We had a great time, popping by beautiful waterfalls (the last one, in particular, blew our minds completely!), eating some deep-fried squash from the local market, and some pat-thai (typical Thai dish) in the village we finished our ride before heading back to Chiang Mai. Such an amazing day indeed! And what an enjoyable ride it was, as well. Even though they were just scooters we went for the 'semi-auto' ones at least to have some fun from changing the gears ;) But still the speed we gained was the same or even slightly higher than the one we used to ride while in India (when two on one bike). At least we had two bikes this time, so so much more fun. The Doi Ithanon National Park was one of the most beautiful I've probably seen in my life. Not too many people there, despite the weekend, and even in the touristic sites we felt quite comfortable. We went to the top of the mountain – the highest peak of Thailand apparently, but It was getting late already and, even more what we were concerned about, really cold. The difference in temperature reached about 15 degrees, easily, and we were not prepared for that. Already shivering, we reached probably the penultimate stop before the top and decided for backtrack. Anyway, that was a fantastic and really energy-charging day.

Here are some photos from the ride:

one of the most stunning waterfalls I've seen^^

the second one we visited,
not that impressive, but still..

easy rider in his fancy helmet. hihi.

green hills and forests embracing us

scooter crank riders, that's it :D

local trade

these tiny little creatures were taking over the entire trees
resting upon them calmly

the light wasn't that good, to take a picture reflecting
 the charm of the place...

...but it looked all like from a fairy tale, 
I assure you.

Mr (dead) beetle

the most petrifying of the eyesores...
And the loudest..

We also went for 2 days trek while there in Ch.Mai, with another 3 couples (what a coincidence;)) in a minibus we visited an orchid farm and butterfly garden on a way to spot where they dropped us off for the lunch and to start our few hours trek through the jungle. It was nice, although a bit slow for my taste and finished while reaching the traditional village where we spent the night in. Before the dinner we still went for a stroll around there, with J., enjoying sole walk and the mountainous landscape surrounding us. There in the village they had small piggies, hens with small chicks and other farm animals, so all I needed to make my day more amusing ;) We shared a big dorm-alike space in someone's house and the following day set off again for the further trek (even better than the previous day one) ending up in an Elephant Camp. We and another couple from South Africa, decided not to take part in this awful entertainment. Awful for those huge animals of course. Elephants, as such big animals, must be 'broken' before starting to work in the recreational camp for tourists. The whole process is very barbaric and deprives them their real nature, otherwise nobody could probably even approach this powerful and independent mammal. For us it was enough to watch them from the distance, despite the fat that in captivity, which was only making us upset. The amount of free elephants drops down drastically every year all over the world, I wonder if I'll even have a chance to watch them in the wild... It's pretty sad where it all leads us to. Either way, we skipped this dubious fun getting ready for rafting, awaiting us for the end of the day. Thereafter...it was the funniest thing ever. We had normal, pontoon, rafting first and, although all arranged and prepared to have fun, it was a nice one. Then we had a bamboo-rafting...and this one was pretty woeful, so funny at the same time. We were sunk in water to the hips, trudging along in a heavy, monsoon rain that started shortly after we took off.*  Veeery awkward. Haha.

*no pictures taken due to the obvious weather conditions

amazing butterflies in their garden house

hmm, let's think how to attract a customer..
oh yeah, a white-face will do... :D

snacks stall - ekhmm...maggots?! 

disgusting cicadas.. yeah, what a delicacy... O_o

our first stopover in the jungle,
a lovely trickle waterfall with..

...a natural slide! straight down to the pool :)
(was higher than you man think!)

somewhere there, among the picturesque hills^^

at the entrance to our hosts village - at the holy gate,
preventing from the bad spirits to enter their dwelling-place
(in accordance to their tradition,
whoever touches the gate it must be rebuilt again..)

stayed overnight in on of the village's huts
morning cuppa tea ;)

views from the veranda
after breakfast, back on the trail again

another waterfall on a way

savage jungle man!

...and me, the nymph :P

balancing on the edge;
jungle is a tricky, deceptive shelter indeed...

some of the trees grow really up high, unimaginably!

poor, empty-soul elephants..
so big, but so helpless at the same time;/

Chiang Rai

from the other hand, is when we went, most of all, to visit the famous Golden Triangle - a place where three countries: Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet together. Although that was our main purpose of the visit itself, the town happened to be very chilled out and peaceful, all we needed back then. Pretty scorching, but nowhere else we would find a relief anyway. All in walkable distance, there were plenty of nice coffee shops (we even found our favorite one ;)) and it's where we had our first Thai-massage, a delightful stretching, pressing, tingling and tickling experience. 
Firstly yet, we visited WHITE TEMPLE (Wat Rong Khun), an unconventional Buddhist temple, which is a creation of one man, famous new-age Thai artist, who raised this piece of art to manifest a religious object under a different disclosure. Whole building and its surroundings are full of modern figures form contemporary and most well-known movies like: The Matrix, Hulk, Avatar, Star Wars and characters like Michael Jackson or Harry Potter, etc. Pretty amazing, have a look:

an appropriate rag they gave me..:>

lovely passage way

intricate entrance

toilet !

Who can you recognize on these ones?

Golden Triangle moto-trip: 

On a way we visited staggering and very unexpectedly...confusing (?) ominous and lurid art dwelling of Thawan Duchanee, who passed away last year. It was an extraordinary, let's say, fantastic and definitely astonishing, indeed. I won't add any more not to spoil the impression of the place you can figure out from the pictures... ;)

Here then: 


yes, there's a gutted alligator on the table...

cozy stool

I'm not sure what that was,
but impressive it was for sure ;)

I'm taking it home with me. Cheers. o/

let's feast, there's space for every degenerate
in the neighborhood!

another pleasant gathering space

a chapel?

another quaint building

brave the ones who slept there...
...or whatever purpose it serves.

fellows meeting area

I leave this one to your interpretation

at the entrance to the whole black complex

ominous look, I fell in love with this owl!

Our second moto-trip was nice and long, we finished up red like a beetroot unintentionally (I kept putting sun-screen with such a frequency that let me think it'll prevent me from getting sun burnt, nonetheless - I did get tanned, or better to say = crawfish-red -.- ) 

Anyways we saw the point where three countries meet, took some pics and hanged around there for a bit, climbed up the hill with a nice Buddhist temple on the top (appreciating patches of shade among the dense forest) and headed back along a very pleasant road within mountainous landscape with some cultivated land patches here and there. So beautiful! 

I didn't take many pictures, but here are some:

big Buddha, where you wouldn't expect him to be, hehe

J. rushing forward

hand fan at the ready

I'm unable to refrain from love to such a tiny, fluffy creature <3

Mekong separating Thailand
from Laos and Myanmar

Our last stopover in Thailand ahead - Kanchanaburi, where the 'Death Rail' is ("The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1957")!


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