Thursday, July 16, 2015

Chiang Mai, Thailand Day 3: Doi Inthanon & Khantoke Dinner

Day 3 in Chiang Mai started off early because we wanted to get to Doi Inthanon in the Chom Thong District of Chiang Mai before the crowd comes in and also so that we can catch the breezy fresh cool air. It was quite a long ride to get up to the mountain, almost 2 hours. We all got some grub before embarking. The breakfast in Thailand is pretty much staple. The usual noodles soup and stir-fry basil rice those sorta thing. Simple but so much of flavour to it.

Disclaimer: It's a pool of photos in this post. I tried to reduce but just keeping it in my laptop will do it no good either right? Hehe

We all sat in a van to reach the half peak of the mountain and then we were told that we had to get off. You see the line of parked cars behind me? Yeap, that's where all the big cars park because everyone is required to take the "Song Tiao" to get to higher ground!

Along the way to the summit of Doi Inthanon, we dropped by Doi Inthanon National Park to visit The Great Holy Relics Pagoda of Naphamethinidon and Naphaphonphumisiri (two chedis) near the summit of Doi Inthanon. There is an entry fee of 40Baht for adults.

Phra Mahathat Naphamethinidon  was built to commemorate the 60th birthday anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej on 5 December 1987 and Phra Mahathat Naphaphonphumisiri was constructed to honor Her Majesty Queen Sirikit's 60th birthday anniversary on 12 August 1992. The sun was striking but it was not hot because the air was so cooling and fresh. The view was splendid! I'll let the pictures do most of the talking here.

This is somewhat the gathering point where people wait for transport and have a bite to eat.

To get to the chedi, from the gathering point, people will actually need to climb up the stairs to get to the top. Alternatively and luckily, they provided escalators for the ease of some people. If I remember correctly there is also an elevator for the disabled.

One of the carving on the walls outside the chedi

One out of the two of the chedi where people come to pray and give their offerings

The view from inside the shrine

On the same level as the shrine, there is the garden that overlooks the misty mountains. Definitely a postcard material picture.

This was taken from the other side, which was near the shrine

The picture above you see is, actually a spot which we found to capture this photo. It looks like we are standing on the highest peak of mountain (we are technically) but in actual fact, we climbed onto this bush just to get this picture.. haha.

After that was done, we headed onto the Doi Inthanon summit! You will need to take a short ride to the summit which is where the visitor center is located as well. 

The summit is within the forest, visitors will need to walk approximately 50 meters (as the signboard says) to arrive at the summit. It's a lovely stroll along the way to the summit, not too sunny, as there are trees providing sufficient shade.

This was the first stop, I think this is halfway to the summit. Still abit more to get to the highest spot Thailand!

Tadaa!!! We made it! 

The path to reach the summit is an easy going walk to get there as the trail is quite flat. Just take note that there are lots of visitors so you will and I pray for you to please, queue up to take pictures. Sometimes people are just ass, the fact that you were there 10 minutes earlier but yet they fail to realize that. *sigh*

The shrine of Chao Inthawitchayanon, the former prince of Chiang Mail is also located at the summit of Doi Inthanon. I find it very interesting how the shrine is placed in the forest. Feels like the forest is at peace.

So up till that point, it was about close to brunch time when we headed back to the half peak which I mentioned earlier was where all the big vehicles park. While waiting for our driver to get out from the "flock" of vehicles, we went to freshen up and get some road side food.

Look at him firing up the grill man.

You can smell the goodness of the meat from a distance

The roasted chicken looks damn good but we skipped cause it would be a hassle to manage eating it

Herbed pork sausage - had it almost at every chance we came across it

Next stop was the Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon. This is where they research and cultivate fruits, flowers and vegetablesThis is where you can see the some of the most beautiful flowers, vegetables. It is just like a park where you can take a stroll. Below is a picture of map of the area. 

Look at em sheeps!

In the picture below you can see that it is pretty much similar to Cameron Highlands. And actually you can camp in Doi Inthanon. They have a propoer ground for people to camp there. This camping ground is somewhere across from where we were standing. We didn't went to camp there during that trip but the boyfriend's parents made a second trip with their friends and from their experience, it sounded like fuuuuun! 

I took a few photos of the plants and flowers in the Royal Agricultural Station but I am not posting it here because it would take up probably 1/3 of this post. We headed to Wachirathan Waterfall but along the way, there were these stalls by the roadside just like those you see in Cameron Highlands. These stalls sell lots of fresh fruits, dried fruits, vegetables and some food. Their goods were very fresh! Their strawberries were HUGE! Honestly, much better than what you can find in Cameron Highlands.

Okay I just need to show you this food. I am not sure what is it but we believe it is sort of a rice paste? It's a little sourish but the condiment that came with it matched up to it. It's sort of a sticky kind of texture which you dip into the sweet sauce.

Basically it is wrapped in banana leaf and this guy, he bakes in on top of the charcoal grill over low fire. The fire is what soften and makes it sticky. I think he was entertained by my amusement towards the food. I could see his eyes squirmed from smiling. 

This is how it looks like though dry but the insides sticky

The humidity was rising by then cause it was around 4pm and we barely ate a concrete meal! Thankfully there is a hut similar to a "gerai" that serves local Thai cuisine. We didn't ordered too much as we were going to have a feast at night!

BBQ Pork

Pad Thai

Fried Rice

Pork Soup

Sitr Fry Vegetable

After filling our tummies, we went closer to the Waterfall to take a closer look. The waterfall was really strong that it kept sprinkling water towards my face. You know that annoying feeling you get when cold sprinkles of water spray towards your body, that was how I felt during that time. Then with the constant gush of wind coming from the rush of the waterfalls, just standing there feels cold. Then yes, it was refreshing.

One last picture at Doi Inthanon before we head back to our resort to rest

There are much more other attractions to explore in Doi Inthanon. You can head to their page to find out more. I have copied and placed their details and link to their page at the bottom of this blogpost. :)

Night time was a visit to the old Chiangmai Cultural Center - The Magic of Lanna Kingdom Khantoke Dinner & Shows. Take note that you WILL and MUST make a reservation if you plan to get good seats or even get a seat. When we arrived, there were alot of people already, of locals and tourists.

The main entrance to the cultural center

I love their lanterns!

So the program of the night was:
7.00pm                      Dinner starts
8.00 - 8.50pm           Thai Lanna dance show
9.00 - 9.30pm           Hilltribe and local Lanna performance (outside section)

Registration area

This is a painting hung at the registration area of how the dining room looks like.

Entrance to the dining room

The atmosphere was very traditional. Loved the concept of dining under the stars sort of thing. It is advisable for you to bring a scarf or a jacket to shield you from the cold. It being winter in Chiang Mai, the weather just got cooler later in the night.

This is the dining "table"

The stage where the musicians were played

The menu of the night was Burmese pork curry, Pork tomato-chilli paste (mildly hot), Fried chicken, Fried pork skin (for dipping into the paste), Fresh and boiled vegetable (also for dipping into the paste), Fried pumpkins, Crispy noodle, Stir fried vegetable, Steamed rice, Sticky rice put inside bamboo baskets, Fresh fruit, Fried rice crispies were served as dessert with tea or coffee. The food is free flow and the waiters and waitresses just kept coming back to refill the dishes even without you asking for it!

Note that it is advised for Islamic and Vegetarian food to be ordered in advance for faster service.

You can take some information sheet from the registration counter. Extracted from the info sheet, below is a brief explanation of khantoke:

"Khantoke is a pedestral tray used as a small dining table by the Thai speaking people of the sticky-rice culture. There are two types of khantoke: the Yuan khantoke, made of teak wood and predominantly used in Norhern Thailand; and the Lao khantoke, made from bamboo strips and rattan woven together, and used by the people of Nothest Thailand, Laos and Sibsong Panna in South China"

The food although seems simple but was superbly delicious. Yums!

Dessert which will be served almost towards the end of the program

Let the show begin!

After we were pretty much done with our dinner, this happened.

After the last performance ended, there was a short session for visitors to join in with the dancers in a simple dance. 

Not too bad? haha

Dinner ended close to 10pm actually. We were so full and kinda tired but decided to take a walk at the night market since it was along the way.

Okay, #truestory, I was very full so to speak till the point that my tummy hurt very very badly. I think because during that point of time, I was eating eat clean alot and my portions were very small. So when in Thailand, it was non-stop chow down. The pain wasn't the "I need to poop" kind of pain nor was is period cramps but I think can challenge. It felt like my diaphragm was stretched so much that something inside tore and an alien is bout to come out. What a way to describe it but... You figure it out yourself... haha. I was in so much pain that walking was such a chore and we were walking through the night market (mind you, the night markets here are like dragon-length) before we decided to call it a night. When we got back in the hotel I just slumped on the bed and got the boyfie to place a warm towel onto my tummy to ease it. From then on.. Note to self, not to overeat.

Phew, what a day it was but my Chiang Mai Trip is not done just yet! I still have our second last day to share. Till the next post! :)

Check It Out!

119 Ban-Luang, Amphur Chom Thong,
Chiang Mai, Thailand 50160

Tel. 0 5328 6728 - 9

185/3 Wualai Rd., Haiya, Muang,
Chiangmau 50100,

Tel. (66.53) 202-993-5

Opens Nightly 7.00 - 9.00pm

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