Photo Gallery & Impressions 28a

PHOTO SAMPLER - Chiang Rai - Golden Triangle, Burma & Laos - Sept. 11-12, 2003

After a wonderful 3 days visiting the Cambodian city of Siem Reap and the Angkor Archeological Sites, we flew back to Bangkok, then a flight north to Chiang Mai, then a bus further north to the city of Chiang Rai which would be our base for a few days of touring the far north of Thailand plus a couple of neighboring countries.


Our first night in Chiang Rai would be at the Chiang Rai Inn. This seemed like a pleasant place, but we were the only guests, &, more importantly, it was inconveniently far from the center of town. 

However it was an interesting long walk from the hotel to where we found the bustle of this interesting Thai city.

At one of the handicraft shops, Keith was fascinated first by the natural wood furniture made from tree roots, but his feline deprivation was eased by this friendly guard cat.

In addition to walking around town, our adventure on this day was hiring a tuk-tuk to show us more of this city & its environs. Here is an interesting monument & mini-park in a main traffic intersection out on the edge of the city.

Going further out to the north of town, we get this faint view of a rainbow over the Mae Nam Koh River & the large modern hotel resort.

Out in the countryside now, we stop so that Keith could get this photo of Peg & our tuk-tuk driver.

Back in to the edge of the city, we find these shops offering traditional Thai dress both colorful & attractive.

One local attraction that was recommended to us was this Chinese Buddhist temple. 

Peg found this wat's wall art, both inside & outside, most interesting.

To be a little less farther out of town, we decided to move in to the centrally located Golden Triangle Inn.

We engage the very professional services of Mr. Somporn to take us touring north for a day. His office is located on the main street in the center of Chiang Rai.

Our first stop was the "King's Mother's Palace on the mountain" - the Royal Botanical garden - also known as the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden.

This water feature greeted us near the garden's entrance.  Nice touch on a warm day.

Peg was altogether enthralled at the plantings.  They truly rival any in the world.

This garden had the advantage of the naturally lush Thai mountain forest plantings.

And the further advantage of an extensive crew of professional gardeners 

This kind of annual and perennial color and variety is very labor intensive.

Hmmm - faintly reminiscent of the monolith at Oslo's Vigeland Park.

Next stop further north was this interesting water source at the base of a jungle cliff. While usually called the "Fish Cave" we found the great attraction here were the monkeys. Feeding the fish was also fun, but not as photogenic.

While many monkeys descend from the jungle, this mother & child keep above the fray.  Several were more interested in playing among the trees, sliding down roofs, and diving & swimming in the water.  

Some of these monkeys are rather aggressive.  The little Thai lady selling bananas kept the big nasty males at bay with her slingshot.

Keith enjoyed feeding these smaller fellows that knew how to use their charm to get a treat. While we had seen many monkeys during our Thailand stay, this was one of the most enjoyable close-up monkey experiences.

Peg tries to get Mr. Somporn's attention so Keith could take their photo before going through the government check at the Myanmar/Burma border. This is at the Thai town of Mae Sai, 62 km north of Chiang Rai.

Having crossed over the bridge & border in to the southern edge of Tachileik, Myanmar, we are greeted by the typical touristy shops & food stalls.

With the help of a friendly salesperson, Peg tries to find an appropriate souvenir to remember this visit. Next we would leave the Tachileik-Mae Sai checkpoint & drive east to the center of the famous Golden Triangle. 

Handy GPS in hand, Keith stands at the popular photo op site in Thailand with the fork of the river & Myanmar in the background -  with Laos just out of sight to the right.

Dutifully we enter the Opium Museum to learn a little more of the infamous history of this area.

Along with a huge collection of opium pipes & other paraphernalia of the opium trade, we find this painting of earlier times here of interest. 

Peg & our new friend Somporn head for the waterfront, as we get ready for an excursion on the Mekong River.

With clouds threatening to the west, we head north up the Mekong and pass this Burmese "Paradise Casino."

After turning around & heading down river, we pull near the east bank, the Laotian side. 

Here is a long Laotian island with a handicraft village catering to tourists. The sign reads, "Bane Donsao la ville Tonhpheung, Province Bokčo du Laos."

After a walk around the village & a little shopping, it was time to relax near the river & have a cool local drink.

Back on the Thai side of the river, we get this view of a local fisherman with his fish traps heading down river.

Back in the car with Samporn, we drive south along the river to the old city of Chiang Saen where many boats & barges from China tie up. Running short of time & daylight, our visits to the old city's historical sites were brief.

Arriving back in Chiang Rai after dark, we still have time to visit the city's night bazaar & see this young group perform on traditional Thai instruments. A long, but great day!

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