26.01.2015 - 26.01.2015 32 °C
Another full day started early with Thai foot massage at the Chiang Mai Women's Prison Massage Centre. Women inmates are trained in Thai massage in prison and then work at the Centre (near our hotel in the old city) so they have job skills and experience prior to their release. The massage was fantastic! According to the prison supervisor who spoke with us, 80% of the women are in prison on drug charges, and of those who train in massage very few re-offend - a successful program! Then we toured two nearby Buddhist temples in the old city - there are ~100 there in total!
After lunch we went by minibus to a Hmong (hill-tribe) village NW of Chiang Mai with two local guides. Living at 1500m, instead of their former opium crop they now grow coffee, vegetables and maintain a beautiful floral show-garden in return for Thai citizenship and services for their community.
On the way back to Chiang Mai we visited the extensive Doi Suthep temple complex, 360 stairs up from the road, a working Buddhist reliquary and temple since 1343, kept in immaculate condition with many ornate stupa, chapels, bells, Buddha figures and and other monuments with incredible views to Chiang Mai on the plains below.
Dinner at an old city restaurant near the Ta Phae gate capped off another great day in Northern Thailand!