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Doi Suthep Temple Chiang Mai

 My early riser trip to Wat Phra Doi SuthepTemple is a must. This is one of the most visited travel destinations in Chiang Mai. Here is some great travel info on the site. Most commonly referred to as Doi Suthep, however Doi Suthep is the name of the moutain the temple is on.Advice for people visiting: Get there super early. It is to be 39 degrees celsius today. I left Chiang Mai at 6.30 I was the first one there in the temple. It was great had a monk to chat to educated with a Masters in Economics from UCLA guide me around for about 30 minutes. Amazing! Had the place to myself. Transport Cost 400baht return and my driver waited for me. Admission 50 THB

Upon entry you can buy a blessing bell which I had the monk bless for me and I hung it up at the Temple to leave there.You writee your name on it. For more info: Find complete travel information see Article

Chiang Mai Zoo & Aquarium

 Chiang Mai Zoo and Chiang Mai Aquarium were on the cards today. Yes, I believe in ethical travel and Hate Zoo's and seeing animals caged up , but at the same time as a journalist it is equally important to see what is happening in emerging countries.Chiang Mai Zoo is over 200 acres in size. started as an animal hospital and grew from there.I will start with Chiang Mai Zoo. when you buy a ticket I suggest you pay for the package which is 520Baht for both the aquarium and zoo.

The aquarium is located in the zoo about a kilometer into to it. So best to rent a golf cart if you can.I suggest once you buy your ticket you are welcome to walk but it also a drive through zoo. You can bring you scooter, car or do as I did and rent a golf cart to get around. It took me 2 with the golf cart. Cost $350baht It can seat 4.

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Chiang Rai White Temple

Wat Rong Khun (Thai: วัดร่องขุ่น), perhaps better known to foreigners as the White Temple, is a contemporary, unconventional, privately owned, art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand. It is owned by Chalermchai Kositpipat, A famous Thai Artist, who designed, constructed, and opened it to visitors in 1997.

The style of the temple is a mix of modern anime and ancient asian looks. The white symbolises the purity of heaven. 

There is a completely golden building which believe it or not is the toilet block.

It is fitting that this is the 20 year aniversary of the temple opening and I have a visit.

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Golden Triangle

 I took a tour to the Golden Triangle. I am not really big on tours but 2 Italian Girls and Eve our Tour Guide made the day enjoyable. Ben was our driver and all I can say is "He got us there and back alive." LOL At the end of ti I am glad I went but would have enjoyed a slower pace. is the tour company in Chiang Mai.Anyway the Golden Triangle is an area where the three countries of Thialand, Laos and Myanmar (Burma) meet. It was and still is known as the second largest opium producing area int he world second only to Afghanistan.

Though Narcotrafficking has been impacted by the Thai border patrols and the shift to methamphetaine as a cheaper drug to send to the United States.The Golden Triangle covers more than 950,000 square kilometers......

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Hill Tribe : Karen Long Neck

 Before I begin this post I need to explain I have some serious ethical issues with this visit. I will give you a brief history of the Karen People and then explain my view. I did not pay to view these people personally, but do include a photos from Trip Advisor as a point of reference.Photos of the village are mine: They do not even live in the village but come from elsewhere and just go there like a studio set for tourism.The Karen People are an ethnic group living in South-East Asia who are culturally and linguistically diverse. There are approximately 7 Million Karen people living in Myanmar (Burma) and about half a million in Thailand with the rest scattered throughout South-East Asia.

Thousands have had to flee Burma over the decades due to political unrest. Fleeing to Thailand was a very safe choice for many, but the ones that came are largely illegal immigrants and do not have options for gaining Thai citizenship. While things are much better for the Karen that have fled from Burma, the lack of opportunity for the Long Necks has confined the groups to small pockets separate from most of modern Thailand.On one hand it is beautiful they have been able to keep their traditions alive and on the other it is a struggle to balance the new world with the old. A visit to a Karen tribal village as a tourist isn’t without its own ethical questionsWhy Do The Women Have Long Necks?
While it may seem that the Karen women have unusually long necks, their traditional brass rings actually smash their shoulders and rib cages down just making their necks seem longer. 

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Laos Special Economic Zone

I visited the Laos Special Economic Zone which is a duty free area in the Golden Triangle so to speak. 

You leave Thailand by  boat, but no need to worry as you do not loseyour Thai Visa. It is a weird set up as this is a special zone and almost like a neutral place with no immigration so to speak  

I paid a 30Thai Baht"Land Tax: to my tour guide and received a piece of paper as my visa for the time there. Here you can buy almost anything: The weird and the Wonderful I suppose. There are handmade gifts, about 10 different types of whiskey with everyting from cobras and scorpions to herbs in them. I was not brave enough to sample these. Duty free cigarettes and I belive there is no limit how many you can purchase. Every major handbag brand you can think off is in a knock off shop.  As we arrived off the boat we were swarmed by children beggars but our guide said not to engage them or give them money as they are "really not beggars" it is a scam....

Glad to see it no reason to ever go back....