Thailand Trip Report

Nov 26th, 2004, 11:35 PM
  #41  
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Thanks Bob for your time and effort. When you said you had typed it all and it disappeared, I began to think that the Day 1 and Day 2 posts were bewitched. I tried Day 2 three times before giving up and relying on the kindness of Needhamites.
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Nov 26th, 2004, 11:40 PM
  #42  
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From Doi Suthep, we went to our hotel The Royal princess. This is about a 3 1/2 star place. Many tourist groups. Some amenities, but not at the same level as the ROS. It is convenient. 1/2 block from the night market.

Dinner for 5 at Whole Earth, a Thai-Indian restaurant around the corner from our hotel. The vegetarian newbie was in 7th Heaven. She had Chanur Masala, Nan, etc. The thai food was good as well. I had shrimps in a green curry. The corn fritters were also enjoyed. early bed for our outdoors adventure tomorrow.
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Nov 26th, 2004, 11:56 PM
  #43  
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Up early. No treadmill and no sauna. Definitely not the ROS, Towers or not. One of the newbies was sick and it was raining. Beth thought we should switch gears and skip outdoors and do some indoor shopping. Miraculously, I prevailed and convinced her and 2 newbies to try the morning elephant ride and then decide what to do in the afternoon. The sick newbie stayed at the hotel.

On time pick up by Noi, accompanied by Soi, the trainee, and Noi's dog. Drove about 50 minutes to Sanpetong elephant camp. Noi was very forthcoming and conversational. She was frank in revealing her personal history and how she had come to be a guide. I will refrain from divulging the info. Suffice it to say that it made us feel more like guests than clients.

Beth and I had taken an elephant ride 2 years ago outside Chiang Rai. There was a lot of commercial activity surrounding that ride, even though Beth and I were the only farangs present. That ride was 2 hours long. There was no commercial activity to speak of this time, even though there was a small group of 5 French right behind us. The ride was about an hour and very pleasant, although it continued raining and we got wet. I think an hour isd a good length for the ride. 2 hours was too long. we got sore and cramped. The elephant on which beth and I rode was chained to a small 1 year old elephant, who provided periodic comic relief. Nice ride. This is worth the time.
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Nov 27th, 2004, 12:02 AM
  #44  
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From the elephant ride we went to a small Karen village. Not very many tourists. No men were in the village, only women and small children. Their simple lives and hardships were a sobering reminder that griping about the difference between a 3 1/2 star hotel and a 4 star hotel is mindless. I'm guilty as charged. We bought some stuff, perhaps from guilt.

Speaking of guilt, 2 of the newbies refuse to follow the Thai tipping customs and insist on leaving large tips whenever they eat. Generous cultural imperialism with no apparent losers.
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Nov 27th, 2004, 12:13 AM
  #45  
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We had lunch at a roadside restaurant that catered to the elephant riding and trekking tourists. Very good and simple. We could not come close to finishing the food.

Next the mandatory walk to a waterfall. This is the most perplexing thing about the Thai people, i.e., their absolute fascination with waterfalls. Every guide we've ever had describes them with rapture in his/her eyes. We hiked abouy 1 mile up and down a hill to a nice, but plain waterfall. The kind of spot that nobody would pay any attention to in the states. Beth and I had warned the newbies about this. Noi's dog ran ahead of us and was very pleased. However, when we got to the waterfall, she was shivering with fear. Noi thought that the sound of the rushing water terrified her. She returned to her normal rambuctious self on the way back.

It may be a while before I can post again. Off to Phuket tomorrow.
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Nov 27th, 2004, 05:28 AM
  #46  
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Bob, Thanks for doing all of this so we could share in Gpanda's trip report .. you're not bad for a Republican.
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Nov 27th, 2004, 07:01 AM
  #47  
 
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CFW---watch it we are in control!!!

andy's report continues to be very interesting....what about the towers???
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Nov 27th, 2004, 07:49 AM
  #48  
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Bob, I take it back ... I thought there was some hope, but guess not. I'll graciously leave it at that since we don't want to highjack GPanda's otherwise delightful posts.
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Nov 27th, 2004, 12:04 PM
  #49  
 
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Gpanda and Bob, enjoying Gpanda's report. Makes me re-living Thailand.

A question - who are the newbies? Gpanda's friends or relatives or families? Or a group of tourists?
How many newbies?

Maybe we will employ him next time as a tour guide for our Thailand bound clients - sounds like a great tour with guide and a guide dog!

sophia in still Blue state CT.

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Nov 27th, 2004, 01:32 PM
  #50  
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The newbies consist of a female cousin of mine, who lives in Godforsaken Detroit. Our invitation to her was an act of mercy. She declined to accompant us in 2003, but accepted in 2004. The other two are women who work with Beth. They were captivated by her tales of luxury and intrigue in the Far East. I'm sorry to say that one of them is a Republican actually living in Massachusetts. They are all independent and more than capable. Hence, I'm unable to manipulate them in any meaningful fashion. They do seem to be enjoying themselves enormously.
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Nov 27th, 2004, 01:48 PM
  #51  
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After escaping the waterfall, we have a 10 minute ride to the river rafting location. A "raft" consists of about 10 20 foot bamboo poles lashed together at either end. In the midddle, there is a cross piece of bamboo lashed to the poles. This is the "seat" for the customers. The raft is propelled by the current and steered by a man in the bow (a nautical term picked up in the Bay state) of the craft. Off we set, two newbies in one raft and Beth and me in the other. In the newbie raft, Soi, the trainee guide stood in the aft with a pole. In ours, Noi stood in the back holding her dog. We were on the mae Wing river. Mae apparently means mother and is the common prefix in river names.

The ride was a lot of fun. It rained so we got wet, but it was not cold. Occasionally, we would encounter ripples in the water and had the opportunity to get wet from the bottom up. Do not let this deter you. The whole thing was very amusing and should be included in atrip to CM. One of the newbies is from Ireland (Boston, remember) and she kept exclaiming that the rain made the trip more fun. Ay one point, the river narrowed and only one farang could ride in the raft. Beth in one, I in the other. the newbies walked 100 yards. To the great delight of all, my raft got stuck because with me on it, it still weighed too much to negotiate the narrowing. A personal note here. I'm 6 feet tall and weigh 205 pounds. I run triathlons, slowly, and am in pretty good shape for an antique. Nonetheless, I periodically suffer these types of degradations through the vicissitudes of fate. I merely point out that the fatter the Buddha, the bigger the smile.

The raft trip took about an hour and we changed clothes for the ride back to CM.
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Nov 27th, 2004, 01:54 PM
  #52  
 
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Gpanda,
thank you. So if I got this right, you are traveling with 5 women? So far you handle it very well!

The raft trip looks like fun. Is the water on the river as muddy as in Chao Praya river? That's what turned me off from the raft ride.

Will be waiting for your next adventures. Where do you get internet in CM? At hotel? Seems like you are posting all the time.
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Nov 27th, 2004, 02:02 PM
  #53  
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Upon our return to CM, Beth and I and one of the newbies got massages from the Yogi Massage in the basement of the Royal Princess. This is Northern Thai massage. It is slighly different than those from the people from Wat Pho. They are very nice. Beth likes them better. They are given in individual rooms with bamboo wall coverings. Very peaceful and relaxing.

Two newbies were on their own for dinner and Beth and I went with the sick newbie. She had ransacked a drug store for various remedies. She said that the store personnel were entirely different than in the US. Instead of telling you the cough medecine is in aisle 4, they inquired after her symptoms in great detail and made specific recommendations. Try this at CVS. After slleping much of the day, she recovered enough to go out for dinner. She's the vegetarian, so back to Whole Earth. My inclinations to try something new were ignored. The food there is very good. The fried taro root with creamed corn is especially tasty. I don't know about two visits, but this restaurant is a very good place.

Before dinner, we spent a little time in the Night Market. The stores in the building hold the most interest for us. There's some good stuff of much higher quality than the items in the stalls. Whole Earth is an easy 10 minute walk from the Night Market, so if you're not staying downtown, both can be smoothly enjoyed.
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Nov 27th, 2004, 02:08 PM
  #54  
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Up early, no gym, no sauna, so I got on the internet and finally figured out that I could post in small installments, so I fired away. It's interesting to see the difference between posting while I'm here from waiting until my return. I'm not using notes and therefore cannot include as much specific detail, but my sense of joy has not been clouded by memory. Who knows, it's too early in the morning for epistomological hair splitting.
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Nov 27th, 2004, 02:28 PM
  #55  
 
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is the TOWERS so bad you just refuse to tell us about it?
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Nov 27th, 2004, 07:02 PM
  #56  
 
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THANK YOU JIM....typical lawyer....he ignors anything which might cast a shadow on his case....

jim---the fact is the towers are not in the tower at all but are budget rooms in the celler of the hotel and have constant leaks from the river...the furnishings are the ones that were left over from the original oriental hotel....gpanda's bed in fact was that of the famed w.s. maugham...well used no doubt...i understand that the massage people have refused to return to these rooms until boots are provided to keep their feet out of the water...
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Nov 28th, 2004, 08:48 PM
  #57  
 
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andy---did you fall in the water????
where are you....shall we send out a pose....W has some extra men available...
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Dec 1st, 2004, 08:25 PM
  #58  
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Relax-We were in Phuket and the price of logging on at the hotel was prohibitive. Big surprise. There is some truth to the addage that Phuket is not really part of Thailand. I'm in the airport now, flying back to BKK for 2 nights again staying in the Towers.

Conncerning the Towers, my memory is that Kathie is or is about to be on vacation. I'm very interested in her responses to my posts, so I'm going to hols off on describing them until she returns. Don't worry, I won't forget any crucial information. I did note that Mr. Bob Kimball's name did not carry any weight in Chiang Mai.
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Dec 1st, 2004, 08:48 PM
  #59  
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I already did this day, but it appears to have been lost in the ether. Our second full day in CM was devoted to shopping. Overruled again. No outdoor adventure for this group. Two newbies went off on their own to Sankamphaeng Road. Beth and I and the other N hired a driver to take us all over creation. We went to Bann Celadon out S-peng Road. Nice stuff, mostly very traditional. We also went to an upscale cotton store on S-road. Pretty stuff, nothing in XXL. A few scarves were purchased. We went to another ceramic place beginning with a "P" in both names of the store. Don't blame me for not remembering, I was a victim. This was a very nice contemporary place. Many great pieces. Definitely worth it. It's off S-road somewhere. Took a pass on the silk stuff, we had been to Shinawatra.

Ate lunch at the Grand Lanna. Very nice. I think that this is the future location of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, now due to open in July 2005. The grounds are very pleasant. Looks like it will be great. the food at the GL was super. A good break from S-road.

Then we went north of the city to a cooton store Nuankadeng (?, who knows). This was a very good store. They even had a couple of things that fit me. I bought a shirt. Several other items were purchased.

Fom there we went to the silver street, Muy Lai (?). Walked around and browsed, but bought nothing. Back to the Royal princess with many bags.

Next, our incursion into Loy Krathong.
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Dec 1st, 2004, 09:04 PM
  #60  
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So, we had bought the nancy Chandler map for Chiang Mai. The BKK one was so helpful, we thought to use the CM one, even though noone mentions it here. It was a difficult thing to track down, but we got it at the BOOk Zone on Tha Pae.

Having suffered through an entire day of shopping, I was determined to get us in the midst of the Loy Krathong celebration. We had seen a portion of a parade the night before. It was the slowest parade in the history of mankind. The procession would move 50 feet and then stop for 10 minutes. Repeatedly. The shopkeepers were complaining that it was to slow. Back to my plan. I had to overcome the inertia of 4 people who had spent a day shopping. First I had to circumvent an initial plan to return to the Whole Earth for a third night. Remember the vegetarian? I had them convinced to try the Gallery Gourmet, but they were not accepting reservations due to Loy Krathong. I opened the NC map and looked at the restaurants near the river. There was an Italian Place, named Piccola Roma, so I lobbied for a change from Thai food ( Beth had to know this was a ploy because normally I eat Thai every meal). Somehow this seemed to win the day and we hiked over there. This is a great place. The food is wonderful.eabass in mushroom sauce that was superb. The other dishes were fantastic. The prices are high by Thai standards, but about 1/2 what a meal of this quality would cost in the US. The propritor/chef came out before we ordered to show us the cuts of meat and mushrooms he was using. He had some girth to him, but seemed very content. He married a Thai woman. Their teenage daugher cam in with her friends while we were eating. If you want a change, this is a very nice spot.

Off to catch a plane. The LK stuff will have to wait.
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