08 March 2009

Doi Suthep and the truck of terror

On Friday we paid a visit to Doi Suthep which is a temple on a 1676 meter high hill 16km from Chiang Mai. The site is one of the most sacred in Thailand and was, a legend has it, founded in 1383 when an elephant carrying an important relic collapsed and died at the site.

The route up the hill was via an incredibly twisty and steep mountain road. The driver of our sawngthaew was taking things at a fair old pace anyway but went into a crazy Lewis Hamilton mode when he got a minibus in his sights. The driving was atrocious as they raced each other side by side at breakneck speed up the twisting mountain road. By the time we got to the top Liz had gone a strange translucent colour and had to dash to the nearest toilet to say hello to breakfast again!

The temple at the top was a really nice oasis of calm after the wacky races ride up. Although we again seem to be visiting somewhere during the repair season!

From the top of the hill there are supposedly great views over Chiang Mai. However; we could hardly see anything as at this time of year it is really hazy due to the popularity of slash and burn agriculture that is used on the local farms.
Not sure whos Mom this is a statue of but it certainly isn't mine . . .

The drive back down to the bottom wasn't much better than the one up and left Anne seeking a bin!

In the evening we headed over to the Nimmanhaemin Road area of town which is where all the local trendies hang out (we of course fitted right in!). We ended up in a great bar/club called Warm-up where we were entertained by a local band who were belting out some impressive covers of Radiohead and Muse songs. It was really nice to go to a bar where the locals go for a night out rather than the usual tourist haunts.

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