Overnight train to Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Travel Blog› entry 5 of 27 › view all entries
September 19th, 2008 – by: amanda576
I was able to share with Susan and Gerry and Esra were across the isle. Feeling pretty tired I was looking forward to getting to sleep early, but for some reason I got no sleep the whole way, so by the time I arrived the Chiang Mai I was exhausted but was not the only one as a few others also didn't sleep. The train officials came around at about 6.30-7am to wake everyone up so they can make the beds and put them back into place. As soon as we arrived we were herded onto the vans and taken to one of the hotels for breakfast. Then we were taken to our hotel called the "People Place Hotel" to off load our gear. This guest house was one of the better guest houses we've stayed in so far. This time I was sharing with Susan. Not long after arriving at the guest house we were taken to a place which does elephant treks through the jungle. All of us were looking forward to seeing the elephants as we were told they were treated well, but as we started the trek we all saw the guides hitting them over the head with a metal hook. Not impressed by this we informed the trip leader when we returned. Also along the trip you were able to buy Bananas to feed the elephants and as Marie put her hand into the bag to feed the elephant she was bitten by a Scorpion. A little freaked out by this she asked the guide to take her back but we don't think he understood, but eventually they got through to him and they were on their way to the nearest hospital. They returned only a little while later and Marie was given a clean bill of health. Next stop was the bamboo rafting down one of the rivers. Due to my fear of water, which surprisingly I wasn't the only one, myself and Eion (pronounced Owen) and due to Marie's bite we sat this one out and waited for the others at the end. Once the others returned all soaking wet from the bamboo raft and getting pushed in from the guides, we headed back into town for lunch. Later that night we were taken up to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep Rajoravihara, which is located on the top of a mountain north west of Chiang Mai. The story of this temple is that the location was chosen by placing a relic of lord Buddha on the back of a white elephant. The elephant was to roam with this relic until it came across a place to keep the relic. Once this place was located he trumpeted then laid down where he was to eventually die. This was then to become the location where the temple was to be built to hold the relic of Buddha. To reach the temple you have to climb 306 steps, but the climb is worth it. There is a golden stupa surround by a courtyard and a magical view of Chiang Mai. Within the temple our guide told us the story of Buddha. She also told us our birthday color and Buddha stature which was relevant to the day we were born. My birth day was Tuesday, so my color is pink and the reclining Buddha is the relating stature. She also showed us the fortune telling, where you knee in front of a Buddha stature and you have a bamboo tube full of numbered sticks which you hold and make a wish. You then shake the tube until one falls out. If more than one falls out you have to start again. Once you've shaken a stick out you pick a piece of paper from the board relating to the number on the stick and that tells you your fortune. I got number nine and my fortune read that "I should not go away". Hmm are they trying to tell me something? When I showed the guide she told me to take it back as number nine is bad luck. Typical! Also at this temple you are able to be blessed by a monk. Needing all the good karma I could get I was defiantly was going to do this. Kneeling in front of the monk he said something in Thai and well kind of flicked holy water at us. Once it was over we were given a white cotton band to tie around our wrists, but as monks aren't allowed to touch women our guide had to tie it on. After this we moved on another thing you can do to bring good luck and that was a row of Buddhas with a oil burning lamp front of it and to bring good luck you take a spoon and scoop oil into it, then put it into the lamp of the Buddha relating to your birth day. Whilst we were there we also got to see the monks chanting, which was really interesting to watch. This was defiantly one of the more interesting temples Ive been to as there was so much you could do to experience Buddhism. Later we went for dinner in the night bazaar. The group the went to the arena for some amateur Thai boxing and the lady boy cabaret. Myself and Susan wondered through the bazaar then called it night.
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