Thailand Diaries - Chiang Mai Part II
For the second half of our stay in Chiang Mai we headed up north-east to an Airb n'b in the mountains, to get a feel for what life would be like as more of a local in the surrounding area. Our rental was a beautiful house built on a small coffee plantation. There was a gardener and his family that lived in a smaller hut on the property who owned chickens and roosters, and they had some cats that would make appearances from time to time. One thing I learned from a local while staying here is that most of the dogs and cats in Thailand are actually owned, but people let their animals wander during the day- So although it may seem like they have a massive stray animal problem, if you look closely you can see that most of them are well fed and cared for. Our place was close to a little mountain village that seemed to be quite a tourist destination for locals. We were a few of the only North American tourists, though there were many people staying in and visiting the village and the nearby attractions.
Close to our place was this gorgeous waterfall. I don't remember the name and all signs were in Thai, but it seemed like everywhere you turned there were amazing waterfalls. Definitely worth pulling over and stopping to explore, though I'm not sure I could ever find this exact waterfall again.
One of the highlights of this area was Muang-On Cave. There were absolutely no people at the cave when we arrived, and from the outside I wasn't expecting much. But one thing I learned about this area is that everything is incredibly under-rated. This cave cost 30 Baht (a couple dollars Canadian) for entrance, whereas in North America something like this would like cost $50, and be packed to the brim. The cave itself was absolutely massive, though very difficult to take photos in without a tripod.
And, because we didn't know what we were getting ourselves into, we decided to follow the staircase the rest of the way up the mountain to a little temple at the top. It was an incredibly sweaty, long hike, but the view from the top was absolutely worth it. Although I can't recommend the hike to get there, I can also pretty much guarantee a monkey sighting on the way. The villagers feed them bananas (I don't quite get why), and they flock to the little huts at the base of the cave entrance to get some. I personally am weary of monkeys and don't see the reasoning behind feeding them, but....there you have it!
In an attempt to keep these posts fairly manageable, my next post will be all about our visit to the Elephant sanctuary!