Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Frontier of Three Land

CHIANG RAI – Thailand’s northernmost province captures the spirit of larger-than-life Thais who left their imprint on the land.

Took Thai Lion Air from T2 of DMK airport, early morning arrival at Mae Fah Luang Chiang Rai Airport.

A van was hired to bring us around, the first stop was: Baan Dam Museum.

The provocative take on time-transcending Buddhist values that is the signature style of National Artist Thawan Duchanee, who passed away in September, permeates his greatest masterpiece, Baan Dam, the Black House.

In many of the 40-odd Lanna-style buildings of this museum village a short drive north of Chiang Rai town, and especially the biggest of them, images of animals leave and indelible imprint on the subconscious.

Baan Dam is most memorable for its wildly elongated, curvaceous chairs crafted from spiraling horns and massive antlers, as well as skulls built on a matrix of swooping buffalo horns affixed together in ways that somehow look as if nature intended them that way.

The next stop on the trip is a visit a Northern Thai hill tribe village of the Long Neck Karen.

The Karen people originate from Myanmar and are the largest hill tribe group in north Thailand.

They traditionally live in stilted houses, cultivate rice, raise animals, and craft silver jewelry.

The Karen villages near Chiang Rai are known as the “Long Neck Village” for the stacked gold bands the women wear around their necks.

I have seen few of them during my Bagan trip, but here in Chiang Rai, they seemed to have more population probably due to the economic / business opportunity in this region.

After we had lunch, the tour continues with a visit to Mae Sai, a small trading town on the Thailand-Myanmar border crossing. 

This is also the most northern city of Thailand.

Next we proceed to the Golden Triangle, a region of Thailand that was once infamously known for its opium trade. 

It is also home to an overlook where the Mekong and Krok Rivers join and create the spot where the three countries of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos meet.

The day ends by resting in Amarin Resort.

Few meters away is the restaurant called De Lanna Riverfront Cafe & Restaurant, where we had our dinner by the river.

We dined on the riverside. They brought a portable electric fan, to circulate the air and avoid mosquitos. Very attentive staff. Broken english but lovely disposition We ate assorted dishes. Fish, Vegetables, Beef stew and Mushroom.

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