In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Today Was a Good Day.”
Anyone who was following my other blog, DS Photography and Visionary Digital Art, knows how much I loved Thailand…many of the Weekly Photo Challenges had photos taken there. Today’s Challenge is no different.
November 8, 2010 will always stand out in my mind. My friend and I were staying in Chiang Rai, Thailand and he hired a driver (through the manager of the hotel we were staying at) for the day – the driver was to take us to four locations and stop at a restaurant that had vegetarian food for me.
Our first stop was to be at Doi Tung (the Royal Villa) and Mae Fah Luang Gardens. It was a nice drive there with lots of pretty scenery. We arrived a little before 9:00 and walked around the grounds for close to an hour and a half. Because we still had other places to go we quickly walked through the Hall of Inspiration; if I ever make it back there I will take more time in that building…in fact, I think I’ll make that a half-day trip and eat there.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that the driver, nor the manager of the hotel (who helped us decide where we wanted to go/what we wanted to see) told us that visiting the villa is the equivalent of going into the Wats (temples) – no bare shoulders and no shorts! Luckily there is a place outside where you can borrow a pair of long pants that are pretty much one size fits all. You can walk around the gardens in shorts.
I noticed that if you click on the photo a second time (not near the arrows) it shows it the way it is meant to be seen (with added black bars above and below)
Our next stop was at a restaurant in a very lush, tropical setting. We split a bottle of Chang beer and had a very delicious meal; I had rice with tofu and vegetables. We offered to pay for the drivers’ lunch only to find out that he has a deal with them – he brings them customers, he gets a free meal. I think we stopped for about 40 minutes to an hour then it was back on the road.
Our next adventure was to be Kun Khorn Waterfall. Little did we know that it was a 1400 meter hike one way – I just did a conversion and found out that’s 0.87 miles…it felt more like 2 miles one way as it is uphill (mostly) and like doing an obstacle course in others. My friend had just had a hip replacement earlier that year so he decided to stop and wait for me; I probably hiked 3/4 of the way up and back to where I left him by myself. The waterfall is definitely worth the hike even though I was soaking wet (from sweat) when we got back to the car!
If you’d like to see more of what the trail looks like, check out Eight Miles From Home’s video where J’s 80-year-old father hiked the trail with them.
Lucky for us our next two stops didn’t involve much walking. We were now on our way to the Karen Tribe Elephant something or another (wish I would have written the name down in my journal), where we were going to feed elephants. I was surprised by the texture of their trunks…one side is very soft and smooth while the other is very rough. I was totally in love and mesmerized by these giant creatures!
Our last stop was to Doi In Cee, home of the (very large) white Buddha. The road up is very windy and steep, think riding a roller coaster. I think most people walk the 800+ steps up the side of the mountain to get to the top. Our driver had never been here before and I think he was as taken with the place as we were. The view is spectacular and the Buddha…left me speechless…in awe…crying. It was already after 3:30 so the sun was behind and to the left of the Buddha, not the best time of day to get a full photo as of the hot spot in that area. As I was zooming into his face and taking photos I got a close up of the eyes that hit the center of my being and the tears started to flow.
We continued walking around the area and I took photos (and some videos) of other statues as well as the view. The drive down was very, very scary! Remember how I said the road was windy and steep? Well it’s worse on the way down! You can’t even see the road, our driver had to unbuckle his seat belt and lift himself up off the seat in order to see the road. He did a wonderful job of getting us safely off the mountain and back to the hotel.
Well, that is my story of “Today Was a Good Day”. To see other entries, click here.