As I mentioned before about my Chiengmai trip, Our first reason is to drive my mom to visit her 96-year-old cousin and since we drive up that far we plan to make a visit to the library in Chiengrai. For theses past years Chengmai trip is like and annual trip for me and I try to make it different but try not to push myself too hard to discover or find out unseen since it is a holiday.
Day One: We left Bangkok around 9.00am, made couple of stops, arrived Chiengmai around 6.00pm. After dropping my mom, we made a first explore around the hotel area. We took Tuk Tuk to Nimanhemin road which known for cool restaurants, home decorations and boutiques. After wandering around we end up at the Ice cream shop “Ibery” although it is not quite a right weather for ice cream, the place is worth visiting. We tried ice cream from brown rice which is fantastic! This place really made our first day memorable.
DayDay Two: We took off to Chiengrai, visiting Tarn Jew and the library as told you before but not only seeing the library tarn Jew showed us the site of his new project to renovate day care center for hill tribe. It will be another interesting project for him and we will be more than willing to help as consultant if need.
After that we went directly to our hotel call Phu Jai Sai. It is the place that famous for its great scenery, carefully design and great food. The weather quite chilled out. The view from the window is layers of mountain except the giant hotel that build on the lower hill and decorated with blink blink Christmas light really ruin the scene. The food is great as its reputation, fresh vegetable salad, freshly baked pizza and freshly cook pasta. It was so good that I was over eat and got sick , not a good start. The room is mostly decorated with bamboo, lots of nice bamboo details for furniture. All their soap. Shampoo and lotions are organic and really good. It is a great retreat place, strongly recommend.
Day Three: I was sick, but the tour has to go on. We went to Mae Fa luang or Doi Tung it is a palace of King’s mom and a royal projects that help hill trip to grow fruits and flowers instead of opium and recover destroyed forest. We all love our King and King’s mom. They have done so much for us so. King’s mom passed away for over ten years, seeing where she lived how she moved around can easily bring tears into my eyes. There are three parts at this place, first royal palace, royal garden and hall of inspirations.
For the garden although we are not the type that a big fan of man-made decorative garden but seeing people enjoy the place, all bright colorful flowers blooming is a pleasant scene and have to say the garden is huge and well made, well maintain and worth bringing your mom.
On our way back to Chiengmai we made a visit at Doi DinDang a ceramic studio. I have seen this place in the artist house book by khun Nitti and really love what I have seen, clean simple have some accent of Japanese (personal feeling) so to visit here is a must for me. All the buildings all in earth colors and you will see shops, studios, gallery and coffee corner. With beautiful music in the air really blended every thing together. We can observe the beauty with all our senses. And best of all I had a chance to meet the owner briefly. He greeted with smile before walking in to his gallery. It just right, matching the spirit of the owner to the architecture that you have seen. Although I didn’t bring back any ceramic pieces but I am full with inspirations
The drive from Chieng rai to Chiengmai around Doi Saket area really winding but worth the drive, so beautiful. You will be surrounded by mountains and forests and you will cross same creak over and over. Better do it during the day time.
Day Four: We start with visiting an old little temple that well-known among architects from its simplicity and beautiful proportion, name Wat Ton Kwen. The simple earth court-yard, like a plain canvas letting shadow cast on. Peaceful and inspired.
At night we decided not to drive but take Tuk Tuk to the city and walk. Chiengmai old city is surrounded by the canal and city wall. We walked from one city gate to another across the city, about 3-4 kilometers back to where we stayed. It is a pleasant walk and best of all is they light up all the buddhist temples. Seeing temples at night, I got different experience in persiving space and details
Day Five: on our last day which was Sunday, we start with taking mom to see tulip, yes Tulip in Thailand. Although this is not what I will normally do but flowers always mom’s best friends
In the afternoon we wandering around the city inside the city wall, visiting the Hotel Rachamankha for afternoon tea, actually to explore their hotel. We were very impressed with the design, great lay-out, beautiful details great taste in colors and materials. I had a chance to see khun Ongart the owner who is also the architect in his library. For me, charming of this hotel is the great lay-out that gives privacy in the middle of the city. It not only is the hotel but also the residence and the studio of the owner, therefore it gives the real charm to the place with many court yards, library, gallery and studio. Carefully design.
We ended our tour with the famous street walk, miles of shops lying one after another. Since I really in to sewing, handicrafts are what I did pay attention to and here millions of them. I got a couple of handicrafts, not that I will use them it just to remind me that craftmanship here is high quality in a real cheap price. The most expensive in here is 350 baht(about 12 dollars) which is the opium crochet purse, the blue party purse is 190 baht(6 dollars) the puppet purse is only 58 baht(2 dollars) and the key chain is 25 baht(1 dollar).