Sunday, 23 September 2012

Time Out Chiang Rai

Sunset over the padi, Northern Thailand

A few weeks back we decided to take a break from our refit work on Crystal Blues.  The last few months have been a hard slog and, although we are not quite finished, we can see water at the end of the tunnel.

Fortunately Neil was invited to a Kramer Technology Conference in Chiang Mai for three days, so we decided to add on a few more days and explore Thailand's Golden Triangle.

We collected a rental car and drove north from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai.  We were impressed with the infrastructure the Thai government has put in place here.  The roads, signage and telecommunications are excellent.  Navigating with Google maps via the iPad, we were never lost, even though we usually well off the beaten tourist track doing our own exploring. Click here to see our travel photos.

Beautiful Chiang Rai
Wat Phra Kaeo, Chiang Rai

Chaing Rai is our kind of town - great food and very friendly locals, all surrounded by interesting history and wonderful scenery.

Wat Phra Kaeo is just one of the many beautiful temples in Chiang Rai.  It is over two hundred years old and has a fascinating history, with the discovery of a beautiful 5th Century  Jade Buddha that was masked in clay to disguise its beauty and value.

Making friends in a Hill tribe Village
We drove for miles each day, exploring Chinese villages, tea plantations and so many stunningly beautiful temples. The mountainous terrain and fertile river valleys were lush with emerald green padi and golden tasseled corn. Every square inch of farming land was cultivated, even road side verges are planted with swaying tall corn.

Driving off the beaten track we saw the Hillside tribes, some dressed in their traditional clothing, farming their new cash crops of padi, tea, coffee and corn, which have replaced opium.

Walking through the villages, chatting and watching the children play gave a small glimpse into their lifestyle.


The Kramer Technology Conference in Chiang Mai whizzed by with a series of tech presentations, product launches and fun evenings.  It was good to be there too !

We headed back to to Phuket after 8 days away - our mini break was over and we had more refit work ahead of us.

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