1 year Anniversary – Trip to Chiangrai

Our first year together!! Date to be engraved in stone is 18 Nov!! What better way than to celebrate it by going away. =) And so on the morning of 18 Nov, we left for a 1 week holiday in Chiangrai, Thailand. It was definitely an amazing trip! Of course there were the classic moments…we took Tiger Airways, being practical and budget conscious people. It was a first time for both of us. We were just loitering at the duty free shops, waiting for the gates to open, when suddenly this throng of people started grabbing their luggages and ran like madmen in some direction…yeah thats the kiasu syndrome in action. It was free seating. Ty and myself brisked walk and there was already this long queue ahead of us, but we still managed to get a window seat. Yay. :P

?We stayed the first night in Chiangmai and took a 3hr coach ride up to Chiangrai the following day, where we got free lodging for the next 4 days at this guest house owned by Ty’s uncle. Ty’s uncle also had some other guests (these 2 australian couples)?and we?followed them in their tour of Chiangrai. Other than the gorgeous landscape of rolling hills and stretches of fields, there’s just?too much to write about the beauty of the place. I will just mention?a few of the more memorable?moments.?:P

Elephant riding.?A must when you go to Thailand. Usually, each elephant would have a personal?trainer (or Mahout) who will follow the elephant through all the years of training. A usual ride would have the visitors sit on the designated chair atop the elephant and the mahout would sit?on the elephant’s?bare back,?at?its neck, to guide it.?It was?great fun seeing Ty being the temporary mahout! Esp when the elephant went into the river and?it was deep! Ty almost had his shoes submerged…yeah he had me yelling into his ear to lift?up his legs…:P

Crossing the border into Myanmar:?Ty and myself weren’t exactly informed that we might be crossing the border into Myanmar, so it was lucky we brought our passports with us. At the checkpoint, there were military personnel all around and there was this tiny and kinda dinghy room which had a sign that said “Foreign Passports”.?And so we trudged in, six of us (we had another 2?Australian couple with us), to have our passports checked. Now this was the part i was uncomfortable with…the?Burmese authorities kept our passports, in exchange for some cardboard visa with a rather poor print out of our photos.?And they kept all the foreign passports in this drawer in a wooden table, very much like those teacher’s tables you see in classrooms 10 years ago…Anyway, when we crossed the checkpoint, peddlers swarmed us. I just saw hands from all directions, offering their goods for sale and many had suspicious-looking tablets which they claimed were “Viagara”. Thank goodness we were only there for a couple of hours.

Buying?Rubies in Myanmar: One of the australian men, Ross, was a gem?trader.?He buys his own jewels, cuts and sets them, then sells them at a very handsome profit. He gets an unset ruby for about US$80?and sells it for about US$500! Fwah..I want to be a gem trader too…Anyway, the process of bargaining for the rubies was indeed an eye opener. The starting price was US$200 for about 5.58 carats of rubies and we squeezed them right down to US$90. Well, the deal was sealed anyway. :P Yeah and staring at all those beautiful shiny gems…I was thinking it wouldn’t hurt to buy one ruby to set a ring…maybe 2 more for a pair of lovely ruby earrings…oops.

SHOPPING!! Haha its amazing how patient ty is when shopping with me…well ok towards the end i think he switched off…:P The night market at Chiangrai was the best! Simply cos the things there are even cheaper than?those in Chiangmai. The things are not fantastic but cos they are so cheap, you just can’t resist buying…a few..haha. So in all, I bought shawls, t-shirts, a hat, accessories, lanterns and a whole lot of other stuff which?I normally?would not have bought on my regular shopping trips here…:P Oh yes and ty (so sweet of him) bought me a red glass?rose that’s just utterly pretty! (Actually I?requested for?him to buy it?for me…does that count??) haha. Nah he’s really such a swweeeeeet guy…*blink* :P

Lighting?lanterns: On our last night in Chiangrai, we bought like about 10 lanterns to light on the hill top. These lanterns are not your usual hand-carried paper lanterns. These lanterns are huge cylinderical ones and they are like little hot air balloons. When the fire heats up the air inside the lantern, it just soars up. And the thai people, they light these lanterns during some festivals, make a wish and send it up to heaven. Of course some lanterns catch fire midway and come back down to earth in ashes. My first?lantern?had a hole in it and so it didn’t rise very high…one of ty’s caught fire midway in the air…thankfully my second lantern went right up… :)

In a nutshell, it was a great trip and we had loads of fun! Wonder where will we go the next time…:)

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