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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Heading North to the Burmese Border

Bridge to the Elephant farm

6th Nov: The next day we hired a jeep from Journey rentals for $1000 Bt a day and drove up north. Initially we passed by an elephant farm, across a swing bridge, where we stopped briefly to glance at the hand craft stalls.

Then up to a Chiang Dao Caves about 70 km north of Chiang Mai where you can walk inside the rough stalagmite formations and view Buddhist shrines on the inner sanctum. It was also surrounded by stalls selling medicinal plants.

Then on through Thai towns with wooden houses into rolling Karst hill country reminiscent of Yangshuo, Halong Bay and Vang Vieng, and then through Fang to Tha-ton.

At Tha-ton we stayed the night at Garden Home in a little bungalow by the river right on the Burmese border (sandbags and soldiers with machine guns) just down the first little side road over the Tha-ton bridge.

I had stayed here in 1999 on a previous visit. It is charming and has neat little bungalows with gas fired hot showers and a little restaurant by the river where you can eat.

On the other side of the river there is a series of Buddhas and statures of the Buddhist goddess Kanon with a fine view over Tha-ton village.

In the evening, we went up to the local Stupa complex and out across the Mae Kok river plain to a more deserted temple high on an isolated hill.

The Garden Home had a map of several accessible Hill Tribe villages along the highway to Mae Salong and Chiang Rai which we used as a guide next day and is shown below. In the morning the women from the nearby Akha village besieged us to get us to buy their handicrafts.

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