Day 7. Mon 5/17
BBHouse breakfast, motorbiked to Sticky Falls, lunch off of Thanon Chotana, Wat Umong Temple, Wat Lok Molee, Aroon Rai, John’s Place
Good news: So far I only have one mosquito bite. Bad news: It’s huge. And it’s started turning red and swelling. I’ll spare you photos.
After a huge breakfast near the hostel this morning (banana pancakes!) we took our bikes out for a day trip to northern Chiang Mai to visit Sticky Falls and a temple. The hour and a half drive was a ton of fun – we drove between cities and wilderness and saw a lot of cool things all along our road (vendors, shops, temples, homes, a water tower, fields, livestock…) . There were also a bunch of mini temples that were the size of mailboxes posted a couple yards apart out the middle of nowhere. The best part though was the soft mountain shapes in the background. Even on a sunny day like we had they are just barely there on the horizon, hiding behind a light dusting of clouds.
Our bikes got us all the way to the Bua Thong Sticky Waterfalls, where you can literally climb up a waterfall in your bare feet because of the limestone’s natural grippy texture. We spent a couple hours there climbing, exploring the wildlife (Max saw a lil spider) and just sitting in the pools at the base of the falls. With all of the heat from the sun and our bikes, the shade and cool water was exactly what we needed. Since we got off of the plane from Tokyo I hadn’t been so cool, so I was glad to take it all in after a long morning.
On the way back to the main square we stopped at Wat Umong, one of the oldest temples in Chiang Mai. When we arrived, there was a crowd watching a group of men bring in a large fishing net to the shore of a muddy pool of water. It looked like they were being taught to fish, but we were told they were actually rescuing the catfish and moving them to another body of water where they can survive. A nice police officer told me to “take picture!” as he led me to a spot right alongside the fishermen. It was a little too close for comfort – the huge fish were freaking me out – but I got my picture!
The rest of the temple was really cool to see. There were so many Buddha statues and signs with wise quotes all around. We read a bunch of them because a good number of them were also written in English (check out my gallery) and my favorite from the day is below.
We visited another temple once we got back into the city, Wat Lok Molee. We have gathered that “wat” is the word for temple in Thai and also a commonly used word by Mike bc his phone autocorrects it to all caps WAT every time he types it in. 😂
The temple in the city was in a much smaller space, but really beautiful in it’s own way. Wat Umong blended in with nature, with a lot of stone and earthy materials and the temple was actually built into a large man-made stone area. Wat Lok Molee, in the city, used gold, silver and tiny delicate pieces of colored glass to decorate every detail of their structures. While visiting there we also heard and saw monks worshipping in the temple. Pretty cool experience.
When visiting temples, you must cover your knees and shoulders and avoid other offensive or exposed clothing out of respect. We all donned our temple pants and sleeves for the temples and decided not to change before riding back to return the bikes. We were quite the sight: imagine a scooter gang of 6 tourist in elephant pants. Nice.
First thing when we got back we hit up the 7Eleven for our usual large water bottle and Reese’s with nuts, which is halfway melted by the time we walk out of the store because of how hot it is. For dinner, we floundered a little before finding a place. Mondays are like Sundays here – we tried two different spots that were open every day except Monday. We ended up at Aroon Rai where they advertised the best curry in town. We got to try Kao Soi, the Thai specialty Milk recommended, and it so super yummy. Kaija got their red curry, and it was a little less enjoyable and lot more spicy.
Before heading home we went to John’s Place, a rooftop bar with neon lights that played Hotel California and the Grease soundtrack. It was almost like home except we were drinking Chang beer and not even “Jack Daniels” (written on the bottles in Englsh) was translated correctly on the menu. WAT.
- Omelet with veggies (including tomato, carrots, cucumber, mushroom and lettuce), banana pancakes, and a banana peanut butter coconut almond fruit shake
- 2nd best chicken pad thai we’ve had at the street vendor off of Thanon Chotana (the only English phrases she knew were “where you from?” and “beautiful smile”)
- Aroon Roi’s Kao Soi with Chicken Curry (“best curry in town”)
- McDonald’s Oreo Matcha Tea McFlurry (tastes just like Fruity Pebbles)