A Travellerspoint blog

Thai Farm Cooking School, Sunday Walking Market

sunny 32 °C

We spent most of today at the Thai Farm Cooking School, on an organic farm in rural Chiang Mai [www.thaifarmcooking.net/home/#.VMUBpuAAA].
We stopped enroute at an early morning market to see how people shop for their Thai food ingredients, and then the companion planting of herbs, fruit and vegetables on the farm itself: basil, galangal, ginger, turmeric, kaffir lime, eggplant, chili peppers, lemongrass, onions, long beans, shallots , starfruit, mango, papaya etc. Our group instructor, "Ning", an irrepressible young Thai woman who called us all "honey", put us through our paces at our cooking stations preparing 5 different Thai dishes we had preselected - we even managed to eat most of them for lunch and snacks! It was fun, though some of us definitely have more potential with Thai cooking than others!
When we got back to our hotel the Sunday Walking Market was setting up all around us - it covers the equivalent of at least 20 city blocks filled with vendors of everything you can imagine, and a huge crowd "walking" through it all, enjoying the ambiance, handcrafted items, food and performers! It goes on till midnight apparently, but we covered half of it and decided to quit for the day - an early start tomorrow at the Chiang Mai Women's Prison Massage Centre for Thai massage!

Posted by alangcampbell 06:35 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

Visit to COSA, Cultural Centre and Ping River Dinner Cruise

sunny 30 °C

A busy day in and around Chiang Mai, but the highlight was definitely the group visit to the Childrens Organization of Southeast Asia (COSA) just outside Chiang Mai. 27 girls (ages 7-17) from northern hill tribes who are at risk of sexual exploitation live here while they go to school and are helped to get their official Thai ID so they can have a safer, better life. Their families and communities support their involvement and they become role models for other girls when they return home. We had brought craft materials and they had a great time making decorative hairbands, bracelets etc. Lunch and singing together capped off a moving experience for us all. Check out http://cosasia.org/. Later we went through the Chiang Mai Cultural Centre, and then enjoyed a dinner cruise on the Ping River, but the girls and the efforts being made to stop sexual trafficking in Thailand by NGOs like COSA made the biggest impression on all of us.

Posted by alangcampbell 06:22 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Markets and Temples in Chiang Mai

sunny 32 °C

Early morning breakfast at Tapae Place Hotel and then a mind boggling wander through the flower market and the huge Warorot market where virtually everything is sold. We transferred via red truck to the Parasol Inn on the other side of the old town, and then left with Jeannie and Ross for a day of markets and temples here there and everywhere, returning for dinner and tour orientation with the rest of the Global Pilgrim Thailand Cultural Exposure group. We are 15 in all, with 2 guides, and begin our tour tomorrow with a visit and craft session at a girls' orphanage in nearby Mae Rim.

Posted by alangcampbell 06:54 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

We're in Chiang Mai!

sunny 30 °C

We were up early at Chai Lai Orchid to pack, have breakfast and check out, then take a "troop carrier" taxi for an hour to our hotel for the night in Chiang Mai, near the Night Market in the old town. Buddhist temples, beautiful fabrics, tantalizing restaurants and shops are everywhere here! We walked the streets to get a feel of the area before meeting our friends, Jeannie and Ross White, and heading for Bosang where umbrellas and other handcrafts are made. Took the public minibus (troop carrier style) and explored lots of shops as well as the Umbrella Centre. We returned to downtown Chiang Mai by minibus again (Ross enjoyed hanging off the back like a local!), enjoyed a very nice Thai dinner and then wandered through the Night Market back to the Tapae Place Hotel. More room to manoeuvre here than in the Serene Bungalow and better WiFi. Tomorrow we join the rest of the group at the Parasol Hotel not far away. We are hoping to fit in a city tour in advance to get a better understanding of Chiang Mai as a whole.

Posted by alangcampbell 06:18 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Hiking and Elephant Riding from Chai Lai Orchid

sunny 28 °C

Early mornings here in the hills by the river are misty and cool so we wisely chose to hike into the village and ride/wash the elephants in the afternoon. Even this small village has an impressive temple and of course beautiful flowers and plants are everywhere. Elephants move in slow-motion it seems, but ours were perhaps slower than most as Catriona's voice did not apparently carry the tone of authority needed to encourage hers to lead a little faster! The river-bath at the end was a treat they enjoyed, despite rafts coming by, and amateurs like us doing the splash/rub-down! Lazy late afternoon watching the river traffic and the elephants...Not many photos again as the WiFi here comes and goes, so I'm hoping to get this post out as well as the one lost yesterday before it winks out again...

Posted by alangcampbell 01:02 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

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