Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chiang Mai

Hello to you fine people once again.  We ended our day in Kanchanaburi in a hotel that rented out river houses which floated on the river.  What an experience!  However, we didn't stay too long and left for Chiang Mai rather early. 

Chiang Mai was founded in 1296... to put it in a little bit of perspective: my home city Berlin was founded only 59 years earlier.  Chiang Mai has a rich history not only limited to it's close location to the Ping River, but the River plays a huge role in its rich history, especially in regards to early trading and migration.  It was the trading route put in place to avoid the pirate infested route through the Malacca Straight.   In 1556, Chiang Mai was captured by the Burmese and caused isolation and the decline of development.  Defeating the Burmese (I will spare you the details ;-) ), Chiang Mai became part of Siam (Which became Thailand in 1949) in 1776 but because of its weakness, Chiang Mai was abandoned until 1796.  In 1868, Chiang Mai saw a lot of new reformation allowing for some modernization.   the American Presbyterian missionary McGilvary introduced education and medicine to Chiang Mai in 1867.   The main trading commodities were coffee, opium, silver and tea.   That was my short version of this beautiful place. 

 Chiang Mai has a lot of temples, but to go and photograph all of them makes little to no sense as its representation is always the same and does not really speak to the historical aspects I am after.  However, I picked out the most famous temple in Chiang Mai: Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep and we made our way there.  I picked that one because of how this temple came to be.  A neat story, really.  Although, as with all legends, one has to be careful when it comes to believing the stories.  To me, it doesn't make it less romantic though, true or not true.  Again the short version:  It's been said that a monk  riding a white elephant climbed up the mountain due to a vision he had.  I am leaving a lot of stuff out, but the elephant died on that journey.  The temple was erected on that site in 1368.  The entire story is much better than my hacked-off short version, but it will have to do for now :-)  

We finished up at the temple and went to a nearby waterfall...  quite the beautiful site/sight. 

 And now to the night life of Chiang Mai:

 This was Chiang Mai in a tiny nutshell.  Next stop: Mae Sot... right at the Border to Myanmar... stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. No one has commented, so let me be the first... I love these pictures, it so captures so much of what I see as your life's journey. I see the beauty and majesty of the temples, so much mystery and each with its own story to tell, a rich history, things to be learned and discovered. In every picture that you appear, thre is that smile, that inner joy that shows through... how much you are feeding that curiosity that drives you. I know why you thirst and hunger so to return there, you have only been introduced, now you want to deepen the relationship...

    So much beauty, the waterfalls, the natural wonder and spectacle and the awesome array of sights and sounds, natural and manmade... And you ache, I know you, you ache because you can't see everything, taste everything, experience everything and learn all about all that is around you... And that is why, you do have to return, you can't not do it, it has captured your imagination... and I know what that means.
    Thank you for sharing so much of you, and your heart's desire, all that travel and learning and seeing does for you. You are such a unique and wonderful treasure


What say you?