Chiang Dao : "Thiss waa look like Fun!"
Chiang Dao Travel Blog› entry 95 of 268 › view all entries
Well, my one night of discomfort in Mae Hong Son over and done with, I still managed to drag my sorry ass to the bus station and catch a coach back to the safety and home comforts of SpicyThai in Chiang Mai, passing through Pai once more en route. One day of recovery too.
I’m on a mission to start heading back down south now. My 30 days visas speeding towards its conclusion and I’m yet to see a stretch of silvery Thai sand. The plan is to just grab a couple of days sun ‘n’ fun paradise on my way to the very south of Thailand where I will cross the land / water border from the Thai island of Ko Lipe to the Malaysian island of Langkawi as part of an extended visa run.
Today I’m just gonna take a day trip up 60 kilometres or so north and east of Chiang Mai to the town of Chiang Dao. Whilst I’m sure there are many points of interest in this mid-point town between Chiang Mai and the northern provincial capital ( I think?) of Chiang Rai I am only going today for one purpose. A brief visit to walk around the Chieng Dao caves. This involves a bus ride first and then a fixed price Sangthaew taxi out to the cave and temple complex.
There are a series of interconnected, mostly natural caves present here within the mountain. Now a place of tourism, shrines, buddhas and holy veneration they were once - if my memory doesn’t trick me - used also by various waves of political insurrectionists for hiding and protection.
First into the gloomy recess of the Thum Ma cave at 735m winding metres long. The ‘guided tour’ essentially consists of stumbling, slipping and following along behind the steady-footed Nithaya who beyond responses to my 3 or 4 sentences of Thai small talk limits her interactions to lifting her lamp towards various limestone formations, crafted patiently by nature through the drip-drip-dripping of millennia, and her exclaiming in broken English (clearly the only English she has learnt bless her!) what these geological sculptures are believed to resemble.
The light is lifted. “Thiss waa loo like elepharn!”.
Crawling through small cave wall openings. Ducking and slipping. Some manmade steps occasionally to aid one’s passage. A series of calcified rock banks form an amusing natural portrait frame but the shy Nithaya declines to have her picture taken so I step forward, always happy to make a twonk of myself in front of a lens instead. Nithaya stands, light in hand, and points “This waa loo like why lock!” Excuse me? “Thiss waa loo like why lock!” Sorry Nithaya I don’t understand. “White lock.
My tour with the amusing Nithaya over, I stroll around another of the caves, snapping away at some of the Buddhist statuary that’s either been carved, but more often than not placed within the rocky crevices. I head back into the sunlight and stroll; sit down besides a large pond where super sized carp fish swim around in large numbers. Food can be purchased and fed to the fish for “Good Merit”. I decide to feed myself whilst staring at the fish and contemplating how admirably sized the breasts of Hindu - Buddhist goddesses always are. “Hey man! My waters run deep on the subject of religion I swear!”
Not a lot else to be done. So back to town for a dozy ride back ’home’ on the bus and a final super-chill session at my home away from home SpicyThai.