Spent 6 wonderful nights at the Anantara in the Golden Triangle and enjoyed a mix of relaxation, fun and culture.
We had 2 days out with Jermsak and his driver the lovely Mrs Air who was always ready with cold towels and water when we got back to the car. Our first day started with a visit to the Monkey cave, 2 females with babies came down to be fed peanuts, it’s quite fun but I would not have wanted to drive miles for the experience, but as we were driving by, no problem. Then on to Doi Tung and the Queen Mothers house and gardens which were beautiful and interesting. Next we visited to the Mae Salong Tea Plantation and while the heavens opened sampled several teas. We then stopped for lunch at a Chinese village where I tried black chicken soup (delicious) We then called at 2 hill tribes, the first Jermsak had a bag of clothing and toys from an Australian Family that he handed out to the delight of the people. The second was more geared for visitors having several stalls set out with their handmade produce and we found cushion covers and a throw that are a perfect match for our lounge.
For the second trip we crossed into Burma, we were glad again to have a guide who could explain the procedure. We hired a tuc tuc and headed for the local market an education to see the ladies with their powdered faces and an eye opener at some of the ‘food’ on sale – not for anyone with a delicate stomach! We drove for into the countryside and saw a temple and then visited a village where met a lady who had set up a stall was cooking a sort of spicy rice dumpling with morning glory. After sampling one we proceeded to buy several more as they were delicious. We then headed back to the border town and stopped at the tourist market. There were many more fake bags etc on display and all better quality and cheaper than across the border in Thailand, we grabbed a few bargains but now wished we had got more as we did not find the like elsewhere. We headed back to the Golden Triangle and boarded a long tail boat for a trip on the Mekong and a short visit to a Lao tourist market ending in Chiang Saen. We made a quick visit to a temple with an ancient Chedi then back to the hotel.
We did a days mahout training at the Anantara, a wonderful experience getting to know these amazing animals. The highlight was bath time, and it must be the only time we have taken a bath and come out muckier than we went in!
The Golden Triangle area is some where we have wanted to get to know for years, we are glad this trip we managed to spend some time here.