posted on Sunday, March 09, 2008

Chiang Mai 2nd Day

First full day here. I spent it mostly up on a mountain that is reached in about 40 minutes by minibus, famous for Doi Suthep temple but also and maybe even more, for the Palace of Bhubing, Royal Residence in the winter time. Suprising most people didn't go all the way up but I am happy I did as it was so much worth the extra 15 minutes journey. One cannot visit the inside of the palace but the gardens all around it more than make up for it. It seemed a good effort to create a little paradise on earth. Definitely fit for a King retreat but also unlike some of the royal places around the world, not overdone. Some spaces around the hill and ponds were left to a beautiful and very natural tropical forest with wooden paths and stone steps taking you around coners and slopes filled with the most colorful and perfumed orchids and scented flowers or all kinds. Little brooks and waterfalls along the climbing paths complemented by birds provided the ideal background music to all this delightful scenes. After that i got a lift from an Austrian guy who lives in Chiang Mai and was telling me not to leave it to late to move here as it is paradise! He dropped me off at the temple few kilometres down the mountain. From its 1200 metres height its terrace is a balcony over Chiang Mai. The temple were almost everybody had stopped was indeed worth a visit, only overcrowded by tourists. The entertainment for the evening will be provided by the weekly market that every sunday brings the central street traffic to a halt and opens his space to stalls and a stream of tourists and locals alike.