Friday, September 17, 2010

Chiangmai - 11 to 14 September 2010

As mentioned in the previous post, the family cobbled together a last minute getaway to Chiangmai last weekend. We originally wanted to leave on Friday but was impossible to find tickets at such short notice. After much effort (by Richard) but no success, we decided to fly on Saturday (instead of Friday) and managed to get a flight via Bangkok on Thai Airways. The rest of our group (Richard's parents, two sisters,  niece and nephews) flew from KL, also via Bangkok.

We woke up early and got to the airport at 5.30 am for our 7.40 am flight. We had breakfast as the sun was rising through the misty drizzle.

The last time Ryan (and we) were on a flight was when we went to Sydney in September last year. I was wondering how Ryan would behave on the flight now that he is a year older, more vocal and more mobile. As it turned out, he had no problems. He slept peacefully through the flight to Bangkok and on the short flight from Bangkok to Chiangmai, he was happy and fuss-free.
The bag is a gift from Ryan's nanny's daughter.
We packed it with some books and toys.
We arrived safely and checked into our hotel, the Le Meridien Chiangmai, at about 1 pm. We went for lunch and explored the surrounding area. It was pretty dead, apparently everything comes to life during the night when the night market/bazaar gets going. At that time, there were just a lot of empty stalls lining the streets. Apart from the local shops, there are lots of 7-11 stores and places that serve coffee, a Starbucks, a Burger King, a Haagen Daz, a Baskin Robbins. Here we are outside a McDonald's.
After our short foray, we went back to the hotel and caught up on our sleep while waiting for the rest of the family to arrive. When they got into the hotel, it was already dark and so all of us went out to the night market/bazaar for dinner and some shopping.

The next day, we rented a van and a driver to ferry the whole group around. We started at the Mae Tang Elephant Camp where we got up close to lots of elephants. There are elephant rides and ox-cart rides on offer. You can also watch the elephants taking their bath in the river. The elephants put on a short performance for the visitors, they play musical instruments, play football and paint pictures. A buffet lunch is served which apparently is pretty good (I didn't have any because I was suffering from food poisoning from something I ate the day before).

This is the clinic where the elephant calves are kept with their mothers (there is a calf hidden behind the column)
Feeding the elephant a banana
After that, the driver ferried us around to a few factory outlets - gems, silk, leather, umbrella and lacquer,  etc. Picked up some nice souvenirs and gifts. Then it was back to the hotel where the kids had a swim while I concussed in the room with Ryan. The family went for a traditional Khantok dinner while Richard, Ryan and I stayed in the hotel to let me shake off the rest of the food poisoning. When the family got back, we had an advance mini birthday celebration for Richard. Just a simple birthday song and cake, but it was great to have the family together for the occasion. 

Happy Birthday Richard!
Richard's family left early the next morning while we stayed on for another night. We went to visit some temples and we did some more shopping. I'll continue the report in the next post!


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