Trekking the Golden Triangle, visiting palaces, tea plantations, mountain waterfalls, feeding elephants, and falling and injuring myself on the return trek #11

with some fellow trekkers at camp one

our smart and helpful trek leader, ICE

With my crown of thorns, before I fell

The high camp of the trek, beyond all mobile or electric lights. In dark space. Wonderfully isolated and near a great waterfall.

the first waterfall

Skinny dipping at the high waterfall

I had already sold my bicycle and I had 2 weeks before my flight left. So I hopped on an overnight bus to Chiang Rai, far into the north of Thailand, near the Mekong river and Laos. Next morning I joined an all-day tour of of the north lands of Thailand. This included 3 palaces, a tea plantation, ruins, the actual golden triangle, an opium museum, a visit to the Karan village, and some great views of the Mekong valley from mountain tops. We were an international group, traveling in a van. Interesting travelers with a very knowledgeable guide.

The White Palace. 35 years in the making. They plan to finish it all within the next 100 years

The Blue Palace

The inside of the Blue Palace

The Black Palace

Then I visited two local museums in Chiang Rai. One was the Hill Tribes museum, which covered the lives of the many different hill tribes in the area. I had no idea there were so many different groups, or that they were so different. The other museum was the Cultural Museum of North Thailand. A wonderful narrated a fascinating tour. There is simply so much to learn about on this wonderful planet.

The Singha Tea Plantation

I could not find anyone else to join me on a 3-day trek, so I took a bus to Phayao, to see the great swamp there, that is surrounded by mountains. I visited the sinking Buddhist monument on the Phayao Swamp. I was the only white person I saw for 3 days.

The immense Phayao Swamp

The boatman taking me to the sinking Buddhist Temple on a small island

the sinking temple

Then I returned to Chiang Mai. Here I joined a larger group of mostly young European trekkers on a vigorous 3-day climb into the mountains.
I was 70 years old and the next oldest person was 50. Added to that, I had my full 35 lb back pack while most of them were carrying light day packs. So I was the slowest person in the group. But I made it to the top.

Nature Girl Tereza of the Czech Republic

We went swimming under two beautiful mountain waterfalls. When we were coming down, I lost my footing on a steep slope and severely sprained my left ankle. The young Europeans then carried my gear while the guide carved me a crutch out of bamboo. I made it down, of course, but with electric pain with each step. I was so impressed with how kind and helpful everyone in the group was to me, and how they literally carried my weight and helped me down the mountain.
This has been a wonderful trip, and now I am very ready to come home.

Animist eros at the Karan camp

Gawking at the KRn ‘long necks’. I did not ask to visit them. But once there, I did take a picture, even though I felt I was gawking.

Feeding elephants near Chiang Rai. I immensely enjoy their presence.

The knowledgeable guide at the Cultural Museum of North Thailand, in Chiang Rai.

At the Mekong River, where Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand meet, and China is nearby

The fascinating Opium Museum at the Mekong River

The modern, private train sleeper compartment that I stayed in the 14 hour return trip from Chiang Mai to Bangkok.

The bathroom in the Thai train even had a hot shower

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