We returned to Chiang Mai refreshed and ready for the festival season. The Thai people love a good procession, and the odd lantern or 10,000, so it’s an excellent time to visit and celebrate Loy Krathong (the banana leaf flora floating festival – literally floating your bad luck away) and the Yi Peng where 10,000 large sky lanterns are blessed and released at once, creating a spectacular of light and beauty. In the city of Chiang Mai, there were enormous sparkly floats, dancers, lantern and occasional torrential rain, completing the festive atmosphere. Dear and her family once again made sure that we enjoyed all that Chiang Mai has to offer, we felt privileged to stay with such a lovely family in their beautiful home.
In Chiang Mai we also decided to refresh our memories of the local sights with our friendly taxi driver Mr Wit, visiting the temple on the mountain Doi Suthep, BhuBing Palace (the holiday home of the King & Queen) and the Baan Tong Luang Tribal Village which is a tourist village made up of families from the different hill tribes in Thailand. It felt a bit like a cultural Disneyland, but gave us a little flavour of the diverse range of cultures in Thailand.
To complete our Thai culinary education we took an evening cooking course with the funny and lovely Mam at We Cook. The four of us cooked up a feast of local dishes and once again ate until we were crying for mercy!
As a final treat for the boys we spent the day at BaanChang Elephant Paradise, for a crash course in elephant riding and care with Bird and his brother Jonny. It was lovely to spend time with these gentle giants, and we loved being in the lake brushing them down and getting sprayed with water by the elephants to reward our efforts – dodging the big yellow bombs they occasionally dropped made it all the more challenging and fun!!
From here, it was a quick few days in one of our favourite cities, Bangkok, dragging the boys around yet another collection of markets (although they always find something they ‘must have’), and travelling by the various death defying modes of transport that they have here – anyone tried the Klong speed- ferries – they collapse the roof when you go under a bridge?! The boys favourites were these ‘future’ rollers – lots of fun!
Now it’s back to Australia, pick up the car and camper trailer, to drive across the Nullarbor Desert and up to Brisbane in time for Xmas. 5,000kms in 2 weeks? No problem!