Part I: Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, Fang, Doi Ang Khang & Chiang Rai (Nov 2017)

Day 1

Hooray, it’s holidays again. This time mom’s friend organized this trip to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Bangkok 7D6N free and easy trip. We decided to join them though we had been to all the three places before. In fact, we just went to Bangkok last year. All together there were 8 of us. I was the only thorn among the roses.

Arrived early in the morning at KLIA 2 for our connecting flight to Chiang Mai at noon. So in order to kill time, we went to Plaza Premium Lounge for breakfast and rest. Alas, the lounge was not up to expectation! Breakfast was a simple nasi lemak and some bread. Hence we didn’t stay long.

Plaza Premium Lounge outside the departure hall KLIA2

Finally we touched down at Chiang Mai International Airport at around 2.40 pm local time. (Malaysian time is 3.40 pm) Our hired driver cum tour guide Danny was there to fetch us.

A selfie before leaving the airport

From left: Mom, Siang’s sister, Siew Meng, Ah Siang, Poh Geok, Doris Tay and Siang’s sister-in-law

We went straight to Mae Rim, a hilly area north of Chiang Mai to check into our resort hotel, Thuleefa Health Resort, which is situated in a valley. The air here is fresh and crisp with occasional cackle of the chicken reared in the resort breaks the tranquility of the resort area. But it could be quite boring as there is nothing much you can do here. Moreover, there are a lot of mosquitoes! This place is more ideal for meditation!

Thuleefa Health Resort, situated at Mae Rim, about 47 km from Chiang Mai

Thuleefa Health Resort

The cafeteria is situated up the hill

Group photo at the resort. From left: Doris Tay, Siew Meng, Poh Geok, Me, Irene, Siang’s sister, Siang’s sister-in-law and Ah Siang

The boss of this resort is a Chinese Thai national happened to visit the resort on that day

Our handsome driver cum guide Danny

Then we proceeded to Mae Sa Waterfall for dinner. The restaurant is situated at the side of the river and they also have table set-up in the middle of the stream. It’s real experience to have meal at the river side though the set-up is simple. The food was good, authentic Thai cuisine. You would never have tasted this good Thai food  in Johor Bahru.  Then we had tea and home-made cheese cake at Hoo Café at Pong Yaeng on the way back to the resort.  

Dining tables in the water

Tea time at Hoo Cafe which is a simple ‘kampung’ cafe 

Simple but cheese cakes taste good

Day 2

After a simple breakfast, we headed up the hill to the strawberry and sunflower farm at Moncham. Right here you can get a scenic and picturesque view of the valley. The air here is cool, fresh and invigorating, likened the weather in Cameron Highland.  

Hawkers & car park area of Moncham strawberry farm

Beautiful scenery viewed from the strawberry farm

Sunflower & strawberry farm

Here also we got to witness the local formula wooden cart racing, one of its kinds in Chiang Mai.In fact I was more fascinated and also curious about what is this formula wooden cart racing! Actually it is a four wheel drive truck which will pull you with the wooden cart up the hill. Then you sit on the wooden cart and slide down the slope with some manual control. It is more for fun than real racing! In fact within this valley, there are plenty of exciting activities you can engage in, like jungle coaster, flying fox, ATV and elephant rides etc.

Get a feel of the formula racing cart!

The four wheel drive pulls the cart up the hill

The racer slides down freely with the wooden cart

Big  and beautiful sunflower

Then we stopped at the road side café for a cup of coffee and cheese cake again while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the valley. Incidentally, this area is famous for coffee and cheese cakes!   

Beautiful scenery of the valley at the cafe

Another village cafe

After another half an hour drive, we arrived at the Watdensali temple, a Buddhist temple quite alike the Swedagon Pagoda in Yangon. However it is not as big as the Swedagon Pagoda. A trip to Thailand would not be complete without venturing into the grounds of the Buddhist Temples in Thailand!

At Watdensali

Lunch was at the Sanae Doi Luang Restaurant Chiang Mai.

Sanae Doi Luang Restaurant, a garden type restaurant with good food

Authentic Thai cuisin ordered by Danny, really good & tasty

Next itinerary was a visit to Wat Tham Chiang Dao at the Chiang Dao limestone cave. It is one of the most well-known caves in Thailand. It is situated about 70 km north of Chiang Mai and has been known for more than  1000 years! Less than 1 km of passage inside the cave can be visited. Entrance fee is 40 ฿. To further explore deeper into the cave, which is another 734 m, you need to pay another 40 ฿ for a guide and the guide will bring along a gasoline lamp as this part of the passage does not have lights along the way. Only 5 of us opted for it. At certain part of the passage, you need to crawl through as the opening is very narrow and small.

Entrance to the Chiang Dao Cave

First part of the passage will only take you here

This is natural and almost untouched. There is no special lighting like some other caves to make it ,more attractive

On the way back to our hotel BB & B hotel at Fang, which is a small town in between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, we stopped at the road side to buy some fruits. Fang is about 130 km away from Chiang Mai. Dinner was at a Chinese restaurant there. But it tasted more like Thai cuisine.

This is not sweet potatoes but it looks like. It is called
冰山雪莲. It doesn’t taste good.

Thai peach but also not nice to eat!

Day 3

After a simple breakfast at this boutique hotel, we headed to our next destination, i.e. the Tropical Forest waterfall near to Fang. However the road to the waterfall was closed. So we had to detour and changed to another route. As the telephone network was poor or sometimes no connection at all, the driver couldn’t use Google map or Waze to guide him. He had to depend on the villagers for direction. In the end, we ended up into the wrong route and reached the Thailand/Myanmar border which is part of the  Doi Ang Khang National Park! Anyway, it was a blessing in disguise as the scenery there was amazing and picturesque. The road to the border was winding and undulating. The air was cool and fresh. We passed by some villages habituated by the indigenous natives of Northern Thailand. Many of the tribes can speak mandarin as they also have Chinese schools there. On the way back, we had our lunch at a village near to the Royal Agricultural Station, Doi Ang Khang. Of course we visited the agricultural station to see the various species of beautiful flowers in Thailand.

Cafeteria cum lobby at BB& B Boutique hotel , Fang

Stopped at some natives’ village in Doi Ang Khang National Park

At the Thailand/Myanmar border – not the Golden Triangle where a lot of tourists will visit there

The scenery is so beautiful that you can’t resist to take more pictures!

Part of the road at the National Park

Another small village at the national park where we stopped for lunch

This is the restaurant most hikers to the national park will take their lunch here

We also visited the Doi Ang Khang Royal Agricultural Station where different species of flowers are grown

The natives are selling wind bells

On the way back to Chiang Mai, we stopped at the road side store for a rest as well as to have a beautiful view of the gorge.

Road side store to rest and buy some local produce

Look like a giant guava huh? But is not. It is tasteless! Must eat with honey!

Picturesque gorge

We were delighted when the driver stopped at Doi Chaang Café at Mae Rim which is the most popular local brand of coffee in Thailand.  The landscaping of the café is very unique and fascinating. The café is just like situated inside a garden.  Normally I won’t drink coffee after lunch because it can cause insomnia. But I couldn’t resist the temptation of trying the finest and famous coffee in Thailand. So I ordered 1 cup and sure enough that night I was staring at the ceiling until almost 3 am!

Garden style cafe : Doi Chaang Coffee Mae Rim

The stylish cafe

Finally we reached Chiang Mai and checked into At Pingnakorn Huay Kaew Hotel. Immediately we set out to the popular night market in Chiang Mai. Dinner was just packed mango sticky rice and pad thai which we ate while strolling the night market.

At Pingnakorn HuayKaew Hotel

Chiang Mai night market

Trying out the local snack

Day 4

After breakfast, we proceeded to Waroros Wet Market looking for dried longan. Everyone bought a few kilos.

Waroros Wet Market Chiang Mai

You can find anything you want at this market, the price is cheaper than the night market.

Then we headed to Chiang Rai which is another 3 hour drive. We stopped at the hot-spring but didn’t stay long as everybody had been there before. Then we stopped at Wat Rong Khun, the white temple for some noodles. Again we didn’t go in as all of us had been into the temple before and the weather was very hot! We then visited the Chou Fong Tea Plantation. The rustic terrain of green tea plants looks so refreshing and soothing.   We had some freshly brewed tea and cake there  before proceeding to Chiang Rai town for a massage and dinner at the Leedawadee Restaurant by the Kok Riverside. Finally we checked into the Teak Garden Resort near to Chiang Rai airport.

Hotspring

The white temple

Chou Fong Tea Plantation

Live band at the Leelawadee Restaurant

Teak Garden Resort Hotel Chiang Rai

Our hotel room

Chiang Rai International Airport

 

To be continued….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About HP Lim

An experienced Form 5 chemistry teacher from Johor Bahru.