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Country retreat

A few days getaway to Chiang Dao

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View Just a big holiday on ClareAndTom's travel map.

Chiang Mai wasn’t as attractive as we’d hoped so we escaped to the countryside for a few days. Chiang Dao was only an hour and a half away on a shiny bus, but it was a relaxing retreat from the city.

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Like a magpie, Tom was drawn to the shiny roof of the bus we caught to Chiang Dao

Despite being a bit templed-out we still went to visit some of the wats at the base of the mountain close to where we were staying.

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Samnak Song Tham Pha Plong is a monastic centre up 500 steps

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Clare couldn’t resist taking this picture of a monk hoovering the cave temple

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Tom outside another cave temple

Although we’d left the city to relax, we couldn’t sit still and hopped on bikes to explore the surrounding countryside.

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Another temple we passed on the way

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We cycled up a steep hill to this golden chedi which was still being built

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The chedi had great views across the valley to the mountain

Our hand-drawn, and definitely not to scale map, advised us to take the ‘beautiful road’ into town. This was quite a long detour, but did give us great views of Doi Chiang Dao, apparently Thailand’s highest limestone peak. No matter where we cycled, the imposing mountain always dominated the skyline. The ‘beautiful road’ was indeed very picturesque, taking us past orange groves and golden fields where rice was being threshed by hand.

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The town was holding its Tuesday market. In sharp contrast to Chiang Mai’s touristy Walking Streets, this is what we’d call a big pants market, selling just regular everyday stuff to local people without an ethnic mask in sight. We got some breakfast and some picnic supplies for later.

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We were curious about these snake-like strings of balls, so tried some. They turned out to be tasty little rice sausages

Our sketch map suggested that there were some hot springs just a few minutes cycle away from town so we set off with our picnic to find them. After an hour on a bumpy dirt track, we finally arrived at a collection of concrete pipes next to a river. The setting wasn’t the most scenic, but we enjoyed soaking in the hot water.

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Tom in one of the hotter pools. There were hotter ones but we couldn’t even dip our toes in them, while some Thai ladies completely immersed themselves in the scalding water

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After the heat of the pools, the cold mountain stream was really refreshing. The pipes in the background carried hot water to the local village

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Our ride home gave us more stunning views of the mountain

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Relaxing with crisps and Chang beer in the garden after a tough day of sightseeing

From Chiang Dao we travelled straight to Bangkok, catching an overnight train from Chiang Mai. This gave us 24 hours in the capital before our flight to New Zealand. We used the time to revisit Chatuchak market and check out a photo exhibition documenting the country’s recent floods.

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Thailand or England? Chiang Mai’s mock-tudor railway station

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A photo from the exhibition, showing the extent of the flooding

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This photo from the exhibition showed why we couldn’t visit Ayutthaya

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Departing from the space age airport in Bangkok

Posted by ClareAndTom 16:54 Archived in Thailand

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