Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Later, Thailand!

After our wonderful week in Pai, we headed back to Chiang Mai to spend New Years.  Our days were filled with wandering around town aimlessly, trying out different food stalls, going to the daily markets and having one last massage.

We stayed in a hostel not far from the east gate of the old city.  We met so many friendly and interesting young backpackers there!

 It doesn't matter where we eat.  The food has been delicious everywhere.  Even the most humble establishments serve up great food.

 Thailand is a backpacker's dream destination.

Homes on the Ping River.

The markets were very busy the morning of December 31st.  Everyone was preparing for their New Year celebrations.

 This woman was selling a net full of live toads at her market stall.

 A busy food counter is like a magnet for Joe.  He always wants to see what everyone is eating.  Turns out it was little bowls of coconut milk pudding with sweet beans and fruit.  Dee-lish!

This man made us the best iced coffee in all of Thailand.

The host from our hostel invited Joe and I to join her and other guests for a roof top New Year's Eve party.  We were so thrilled to be included!  We bought paper lanterns at the market that morning.

 "Is this how you do it?"

We rang in 2018 with new friends from Holland, Thailand, Chile and England.

At midnight, Joe and I went down onto the street to mingle with the thousands of people releasing their lanterns.  What an amazing sight!

We got up early on New Year's Day to take a 6 hour bus ride to Chiang Khong, a border town in northern Thailand.

We stayed in a very charming, very rustic guesthouse on the banks of the Mekong River.  It was a quiet reprieve from the bustling city of Chiang Mai.  Roosters crowed, birds flitted about and we spent a lot of time just sitting on our deck watching the fishermen go up and down the river.

  Sunrise over the Mekong River.

Boats and cyclists go up and down the river all day long.  Laos is across the river.

 Paper lanterns lined a temple's entrance.

 The local transit system.

 Our delicious breakfast consisted of two lattes, one huge bowl of noodle soup and a vegetable omelette.  The cost?  190 baht.  That's $4.00 Cdn. And the red crocheted utensil cover?  Come on, how adorable is that?

This dog was sleeping soundly on top of the display case until I walked up and quietly motioned his owner if I could take his picture.  Then he started to bark at me like crazy.  I wonder how that is for business?  (Check out his friend laying on the lower shelf.)

A lone fisherman on the river.

We are leaving Chiang Khong early tomorrow morning.  Joe and I are taking a slow boat down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang in Laos.  It will take 2 days to get there.

Our three and a half weeks in Thailand has been nothing short of excellent.  Its people, food, and culture are all top-notch.  Our experiences have been new, fun and different.  Just how I like it!

We'll be returning to Thailand in March.  I'm sure we'll need some beach time by then!

We are looking forward to exploring the country of Laos and its city of Luang Prabang.  I can't wait to visit this UNESCO World heritage site.


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