This morning, Pati and BeeBee got up at 6 am to get ready for their first official day of touring. After breakfast at their hotel, their tour guide, a very pleasant young woman, picked them up and they drove out of the city and above it on a very steep, narrow and winding road. Their climb took them past one of the residences of the King, who was not there at the time; however, the area was swarming with tourists and their cars, busses, and motorcycles. About a mile beyond the residence, they saw a small red bus, with about 6 passengers still inside, tipped into a ditch. Apparently, the driver had misjudged where the edge of the road was when he backed down a side road to turn the bus around.
The first stop on the tour was to visit the Meo Hill tribe village, where the guide pointed out the various types of items the villagers made for sale as she explained the tribe’s way of life and the improvements to the village that the King had made for their benefit.
They then drove back the winding road to visit Doi Suthep Temple, one of the most sacred temples in Chiang Mai. Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep was built in Thai style and contains holy relics of Lord Buddha. The panoramic view of the Chiang Mai, including the airport where Pati and BeeBee landed just before midnight on Sunday, was stunning despite the haze over the city. The guide’s explaination of the temple and of Buddihism in general was quite interesting. BeeBee was especially happy that the steep trip up and down the hill between the carpark and the temple on top could be accomplished by a modern funicular.
Afterward, they drove to the east side of the city for lunch at a local restaurant. The guide helped them choose dishes and ate with them; over lunch, they had a good discussion on various topics, including the many varieties of spoken English.
They then visited a handicrafts center and watched local people make paper umbrellas, Thai silk cloth, and paper from mulberry tree bark. They also visited a large local market, all under one roof, where the locals can buy just about anything. The guide bought coconut candy, a rose apple, and oranges for Pati and BeeBee to sample.
After that, they returned to the hotel for a break before the evening’s festivities.
At 7:15 pm, they left the hotel to enjoy a Khantoke Dinner, known as the Northern welcome dinner. The guide accompanied Pati and BeeBee to their table and explained the dishes before leaving to wait with the driver in the carpark. The entertainment included traditional hill tribe dancing performed by eight beautifully costumed young women and sword manipulation by two young men.
After the performance, Pati and BeeBee were returned to their hotel for the night.