Posts Tagged With: temple

3 things to add to your “must do list” in Chiang Mai!

Here are a few memorable things that I would suggest doing in Chiang Mai that you may not read about in a travel brochure.

1. Be a guest to a mystery occasion.

Bree and I were headed out for a walk and happen to pass an opening to a gate that lead to dozens of people socializing, walking from table to table receiving food, drinks and desserts. Was this a temple, a church, possibly an invite only special ceremony? Judging from the abundance of complementary items, we assumed it might be a charity event or perhaps some sort of community gathering. The curiosity must of been plastered on our faces because within a short moments time, we were waved in by several happy locals. We politely bowed upon entering and whispered to each other (you know the kind when you talk out of the side of your mouth as if no one would notice or could hear you) “What are we walking into? Who knows, just keep smiling”.

20131215-064127.jpg

To this day, we still don’t know exactly what the occasion was, however it left my cup overflowing with love. What a beautiful feeling to embrace knowing these kind people were not only quick to invite us in, but eager to welcome us to stay.

20131215-064100.jpg

A delicious local lunch, a drink with dessert and a joyous feeling in the soul… $0.00.

20131215-065915.jpg

2. Moving on to what is listed on the top picks for Thailand, but should be bumped up in ranking! I’m sure you’ve heard of Thai massage in regards to the superb techniques and low price. Lila’s made an imprint in my mind, not only because of its high quality service, but its founding mission. Developed 40 years ago, this program provides thorough education and opportunity to female inmates that are soon to be released back into the public. Once they’ve completed training, they are able to make a living and contribute to society without discrimination from possible employers or fellow employees.

20131215-070922.jpg

20131215-070648.jpg

Although you can receive a typical massage in Chiang Mai for $4-5, I’d much rather donate $8-10 to a positive cause that develops confidence and self worth to those involved. Let me inform you that our $10 fee included a warm foot soak, 90 minute full body traditional Thai massage and the best ginger tea I’ve ever had! So good, in fact, that we asked to see the container so we could go buy some. (Sad day when they inform you that they personally make it daily and its not for sale).

20131217-090954.jpg

20131215-072731.jpg

If that’s not in your budget, you can get an even better deal from the program in which they are still in training. That was our original intention, until we were read the sign below.

20131215-072724.jpg

3. Last but far from the least, I’m here to inform you of the best (and I really mean my #1) edible item that I had in all of Asia. Since we never got the proper name for it, Bree and I just referred to the whole experience as “going to see the Egg Lady”.

The first time we approached the stand, we glanced down into a bowl of surprise soup with a shoulder shrug as we discussed if it was worth a try. After a broken english game of Charades, we came to the conclusion that there was no meat, it was sweet and just $1 a bowl. Since neither of us had ever seen it and both of us love to try new things, we had definitely found our mystery meal of the day.

20131214-084646.jpg

Taste time! Judging by the look on Bree’s face, she was experiencing the same euphoria that I was. A perfect combination between sweet and slightly salty left you wondering if you could get away with serving this for dinner and dessert. The texture of the balls that floated around the egg made an extraordinary addition to the warm coconut milk that sweetened the entire combination. A moment of silence wasn’t even necessary to request, as we both sat there staring at one another in pleasant disbelief.

The first night we split a cup and enjoyed every bite. The following day we just “happened” to be in her neighborhood after dinner and made it back to share another serving. I think Nitwadee (Egg Lady) was just as excited to our familiar faces, as we were to find her there waiting and ready to serve up. Our last comment to her that evening was “see ya tomorrow”!

20131215-070039.jpg

The following night was my last day in Chiang Mai, so naturally we agreed to make it to “The Egg Lady” one last time so I could savor the goodness before I departed. We went about our day and while packing up my backpack, it dawned on me that we had never asked what time she closed down. It was already dark and we had a solid stretch to get there in time. “Bree, we need to go…now!”.

Rarely do I think of having video cameras around, however on this evening I would of loved to have seen the 8 minute process from start to first bite. Friends and fellow backpackers, please picture this:

The two of us in flip flops speed walking along the broken streets of Thailand giggling at the idea that we had dropped all plans and responsibilities to reach our sweet Egg Lady. As our jokes turned into serious thoughts, “Would if she is closed?”, our speed walking turned to a jog and the giggles increased to the kind that almost prevents you from being able to breathe properly. By the final corner, we were now sprinting through traffic with tears of laughter and partial relief to see her adorable little stand still lit up.

I won’t go into much detail on what happened in the next few minutes, but just imagine the two of us girls out of breath, laughing hysterically while trying to explain to a new lady (who we later found out was Nitwadee’s mom, the original Egg Lady!) that we indeed wanted 2 bowls. She had already began to clean up so I’m not sure if it was our red cheeks and happy eyes or the fact that we came barreling around her stand full speed that caused her to fire it up and make another batch. Either way, the small smile on her amused face spoke in volumes when Bree and I jumped with innocent excitement. I repeat, we literally jumped up and down like 2 squealing school girls as she reached for the eggs.

After we finally tamed our enthusiasm, we were able to get the granddaughter to translate for us. She told “grandma” that we had been coming every night and today would be the last visit. We then proceeded to ask about the recipe to see if there was any way we could even get just the ingredients to attempt to make it on our own. What happened next was unexpected and it solidifies my impression of the people of Thailand…

She proceeded to call her daughter (the one we had been visiting every night) and handed the phone to me! Bree busted out a piece of paper and before I could even grasp what was happening, we not only had the recipe but her personal contact I for for any questions! All of this being a memory that still fills my heart with ecstasy.

20131215-070012.jpg

If you find yourself if Chiang Mai leave city central, exit the North gate and walk diagonal to your left crossing the street. There will be a line of food vendors (near the 7eleven) and our precious Egg Lady is directly under the big “Ford” sign. I send you with high expectations and an “above satisfaction” guarantee!

UPDATE: I tried to make it on my own! Of course this first attempt wasn’t anything as magnificent as hers, but I wouldn’t consider it a failure. Simply means I get to keep trying.

20131222-190116.jpg

Categories: Edibles!, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Orange robes, bright streets and a local organic cafe!

There’s a poem that talks about people entering your life for a reason, season or lifetime. Some may think this is coincidental, others wonder if it’s work from their angels, guides or even their intuitive self. With that said, believe what makes you feel the best and enjoy the following sequence of events… they couldn’t have been planned anymore perfect than how they turned out.

Quick back story in under 30 seconds (depending on how fast you can read).
Deep breath in… and go!

A month ago, Bree met a German woman named Claudia in Bali while studying Yoga.
Two weeks ago, I met Bree on a flight to Cambodia.
On this day, all three of us connected in Chiang Mai in order to experience Monk Chat (to be described soon).

We got lost, followed a monk and found our way. Ironic?

Met the monks, spoke in their classroom, received a gift and was fed a meal while viewing a ceremony outside of the temple.

Later we stopped at a hidden organic cafe that is owned by a local chef who was having her first cookbook release in a few days. She personally invited us to come back and celebrate with free food, live music and book signing.

Wouldn’t you know it, the English teacher from the monks ceremony was also a fan of this mysterious hang out and was pleasantly surprised to see the three of us plus our other friend Maddie (a new gal along the path to be introduced later) supporting this driven local woman and her vegetarian cafe.

We returned for the book release party, met more people and heard a speech. On that day, with all of that energy in alignment…
I decided on the next step in my beautiful journey.
Thank you universe.

…and breathe.

Ok, time to explain these enlightening adventures and expand a bit out of the nut shell described above.

Back to step one: Claudia, Bree and I headed west towards the temple where we would get to experience a conversation with willing Monks that in need to practice their English. For more info on this popular Thai excursion, please check out the website at www.monkchat.net.

The journey started with our fingers crossed that we were going to find it on time, that was until we found (or he found us) an unexpected guide, thank you orange robe!

20131119-204557.jpg

20131119-204614.jpg

We arrived and got seated at a private table with three monks ranging in age from 24 to 35. (I only know their age because one of my questions was in regards to celebrating birthdays (FYI- they acknowledge the day, but don’t necessarily “celebrate” it). After an hour of casual conversation, they invited us into the classroom where they were holding an English speaking competition. Each participate gave a speech and was scored and voted on by the three judges. What an honor to sit right along with them and get to witness the “behind the scenes” of a day in a studying monk.

20131119-235351.jpg

I’m not sure what this student was executing on his phone, but it makes me wonder what he possibly could of been doing at this moment.

20131119-235708.jpg

…and the winner? This gentle smile!

20131119-235748.jpg

After the awards were handed out, the attention unexpectedly turned to us sitting so I innocently observing from the back of the room. They called us to the front of the class and kindly proceeded to ask us questions ranging from personal history to recent travels. Here was our view:

20131120-001221.jpg

To complete this memorable event, we all posed for a group photo and bowed out gracefully (literally… bowed our way out).

20131120-001402.jpg

As if we hadn’t already had an evening full of stimulating conversation and heart warming attention, on our way out this crowd invited us over to partake in the complimentary food, drink and desserts that they were sharing. People of Thailand, your hospitality and genuine courtesy continues to shine, thank you!

20131120-120655.jpg

The sun was down and the three of us enjoyed a walk back to the city, taking in the vibrant street decor that was in preparation for the Loi Krathong and Yi Peng Lantern Festival . What a colorful Illumination of an already brilliant city!

20131120-114322.jpg

20131120-005019.jpg

Handstand shot? I would be honored to be a part of this colorful backdrop!

20131120-005042.jpg

Add this gorgeous view to the list of things that you don’t get to see every night!

20131120-003833.jpg

20131120-115942.jpg

After being embraced at the Monk Chat and then surround by the street lights, our walk turned even brighter with a quaint cafe that opened their doors and invited us in. Yao, the owner of The Birds Nest Cafe was days away from celebrating her first cookbook release. Guess what the next post is about…

20131120-140954.jpg

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Temple festival to a night market… What a day!

Even though there’s no secret pass word or handshake to get through the entrance, I was still honored to partake in this day at a festival in a temple. If I was traveling without a local, I would of been a bit hesitant to shuffle on in and check it out, but after being invited, I was all in!

20121024-105649.jpg

On the outside is where you purchase they special made Poa that you bring into the temple to pray with.

20121024-105902.jpg

20121024-105913.jpg

20121024-105933.jpg

Before entering, you’re senses are taken over by the amount of insence that is being burned. Each participate has their own bundle in which they carry around to each pot for prayer and distribute them amongst the different statues. These are just some of the sights outside of the temple.

20121024-110154.jpg

20121024-110209.jpg

20121024-110217.jpg

20121024-110237.jpg

20121024-110244.jpg

20121024-110257.jpg

20121024-110318.jpg

Time to go in and lay out your offerings, light your incense, and begin prayer.

20121024-110925.jpg

20121024-112558.jpg

20121024-112608.jpg

20121025-205626.jpg

20121025-205700.jpg

20121025-205707.jpg

20121026-094127.jpg

20121026-094213.jpg

20121026-094220.jpg

20121026-094152.jpg

I wish I could read this:

20121026-094657.jpg

After this eye opening experience, Kuldip surprised me with the perfect ending to our day…. A night market!

Similar to the morning market, there are several vendors with stalls prepared for whatever you desire. Fruit, veggies, hot meals, and sweet treats. This isn’t including all of the clothes, shoes, bags, tools, and other random objects that are displayed to grab your attention.

20121026-095220.jpg

20121026-095336.jpg

If you read my last post, “A ray of green light in Malaysia”, under the edibles page, you’ll find the struggle I’ve been having with the amount of fried, grease soaked and sugar based choices here in Malaysia. Tonight didn’t fall short of some prime examples.

Will start with some treats. The photos I didn’t capture this evening were the cakes, pastries, fried sugar, and fresh fruit that was soaking in sugar water. However, I did snag a few I hadn’t seen so far in Malaysia.

20121026-095512.jpg

20121026-095522.jpg

20121026-095535.jpg

This is a fresh soy milk stand. They pour it directly into a bag then puncture it with a straw… Viola, a drink!

20121026-095925.jpg

20121026-100029.jpg

Before you see the next stall, I suggest you stand up and do a few jumping jacks first to get your cardiovascular system pumping.

This is a deep fry station. Already prepared for you on a stick is a variety of veggies, egg, tofu, fish or other kind of meats. You pick your sticks then drop them in the deep fryer. When you think they’re done, you pull them out and follow with the spicy cream sauce provided. Although this is not my ideal “snack” I just wanted to play! I snagged a green leaf stick that had a piece of fish on the end. Well… At least I tried it right?

20121026-100224.jpg

20121026-100241.jpg

20121026-100409.jpg

Ok, maybe you should get down and rack out a set of push ups before this next one. A Chinese hamburger. A fried egg, cheese, deli ham with spicy sauce held together between two pancakes. I should of asked what the “chicken floss” was…

20121026-100748.jpg

20121026-100740.jpg

Here is a range of other offered items along the markets path. (Baby not for sale in the last photo).

20121026-101514.jpg

20121026-101521.jpg

20121026-101541.jpg

20121026-101533.jpg

20121026-101701.jpg

20121026-101712.jpg

20121026-101729.jpg

20121026-101744.jpg

20121026-101756.jpg

20121026-101803.jpg

20121026-103156.jpg

Wait… What’s this?! A thin wrap lined with a non creamy spicy sauce, layered with fresh lettuce, raw jicama and cucumber, complimented with sprouts, and your choice of a vegetarian or fish mix… I found dinner!

20121026-102129.jpg

20121026-102155.jpg

Categories: Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Temple + Cave = Amazing!

Another hidden surprise entered my journey as Kuldip and her family took me to a temple that is hidden away in a cave. Before we entered, I watched this monkey patiently wait for a group of visitors to walk away from their motorbikes. With a flash, this smart little fella checked each bike until he found a tied up bag of fresh food… Jackpot!

20121023-195249.jpg

20121023-200200.jpg

20121023-200238.jpg

I think this sign is saying please no cats, sad dogs or bunny rabbits on the premises.

20121023-200516.jpg

The following photos are from the entrance, through the interior and towards the gardens. Please take notice of the thousands of tourists that are not here. Brilliant!

20121023-201144.jpg

20121023-215606.jpg

20121023-215808.jpg

20121023-220001.jpg

20121023-220311.jpg

20121023-220352.jpg

20121023-220137.jpg

20121023-220457.jpg

These shots are from within the caves so please allow the lack of lighting to add to the mystical feeling of the experience.

20121023-221144.jpg

20121023-221235.jpg

20121023-221340.jpg

20121023-221528.jpg

20121023-221545.jpg

The light from the other side exposed the way to the water and gardens. The walk around this pond encouraged deep breaths and many photos… Here’s just a few.

20121023-221946.jpg

20121023-222017.jpg

20121023-222424.jpg

20121023-222713.jpg

20121023-222813.jpg

20121023-222906.jpg

Where was your last business meeting?

20121023-223241.jpg

We had our own little photo shoot before seeing the mini figurines.

20121023-223534.jpg

20121023-223744.jpg

20121023-223843.jpg

20121023-223832.jpg

20121023-223956.jpg

20121023-224028.jpg

20121023-224113.jpg

20121023-224210.jpg

20121023-224318.jpg

My favorite picture of the day using a special effect on the camera.

20121023-224753.jpg

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.