thomas m wilson

Return from the Kingdom – Part Two

February 13th, 2011

Next the windows swung open to me on northern Thailand.  Wherever you are on the planet the temperature generally drops six degrees for every thousand metres you gain in altitude.  Getting off the train in Chiang Mai in north-west Thailand bleary eyed after a night of little sleep I felt the cooler air and gave thanks.  Chiang Mai has less air pollution than Bangkok, but still seemed, on first sight, polluted and overly tourist-orientated.  I was, however, a tourist.  As such I praise the tradition of ridiculously cheap traditional Thai massage available on every corner.

The above sign advertises massages for 150 baht which is less than five Australian dollars.  At such prices I was getting one per day. Another obvious pleasure in south-east Asia is to have one of these every day for less than a dollar…

A wat in the forest outside old Chiang Mai…

After Chiang Mai I wound my way four hours north west, further into the mountains, to Pai.  This small town is the perfect size to rent a scooter and not fear for your life while in Asia.  Zipping along the road out of Pai to a natural hot spring in the forest I saw scenes such as this…

After going further off the tourist route again, into Mae Hon Song, I found far less hassle from touts and more of the quiet and gracious rural Thais.

Walking around the hills of this area there was plenty of slash and burn agriculture.  Corn fields each had one of these little bamboo bungalows in – I suppose for resting in after work when it was harvest time.  Bamboo is used so inventively in rural Thailand as a building material that I am tempted to see it as one case of poverty giving birth to beauty.

After wandering in the north-west I spent time in Ayutthya where I took the following photos.