Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul met with the PCEC group during their visit north last February. Judith Edmonds and 7 others from the Pattaya City Expats Club traveled to Chiang Mai; primarily to see Chiang Mai’s famous Floral Festival. Judith shared their experience with the Club at the Sunday September 2 meeting. After being introduced by Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg, Judith began her photographic presentation.
At a very early hour, the eight of them traveled by luxury vehicle to Suvarnabhumi airport where they boarded an Air Asia flight for Chiang Mai. They were met at the airport and whisked off to the Empress Hotel, a 4-star luxury hotel at Chiang Mai’s center near the Night Bazaar.
MC Richard Silverberg begins the meeting by inviting new visitors to introduce themselves, before asking Judith Edmonds, Club Treasurer, to tell us of the trip to Chiang Mai she and husband Les made with other club members.
A highlight of their visit was a meeting with the Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul, who Judith described as a very charming gentleman who spoke excellent English and made them feel they were honored guests to his province. He also gave each PCEC member a commemorative coin as a memento of their visit.
Since their main purpose was to see the Floral Festival, Judith described the beauty of this annual event. It is held in the public garden of Suan Buak Haad; a very pleasant public space at any time, with formal gardens arranged around a series of pools and bridges. There is a children’s play area, and places where refreshments are available. Another highlight of the trip was watching the night procession; a well lit up colorful parade of beauty and flowers.
But, there are also many other things to see in Chiang Mai and the PCEC group took advantage of them including visiting many beautiful temples. One of these Judith described was Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep which is situated on Doi Suthep Mountain about 15km from the city. Its complex includes a gorgeous gold-plated pagoda, many murals, and the famous Naga serpent stairway that brings you to the top and for those that have visited in the past represents a very long climb. However, the PCEC group were undaunted by this challenge as they took the easy way; cable car to the top and a leisurely stroll back down those stairs. The temple is well worth the trip as the view from this height is spectacular. They also visited an Elephant park and show while in Chiang Mai.
Although the sightseeing was great, good food and refreshment was another worthwhile activity. Judith had special thanks for Thai member Sermsakdi, who in helping to arrange the trip chose the different restaurants they used where the food was abundant, flavorful, and reasonably priced. Judith highly recommended Tian Zi Restaurant and Tea Room, an open air vegetarian restaurant. Judith pointed out how all of the tables were different adding to the ambiance. Another restaurant that she highly recommended was the Good Earth restaurant. It served excellent Chinese cuisine in its enclosed and air conditioned dining area. Not to be left out, she said the Empress Hotel also had a great lunch buffet offering a variety of choices.
Judith describes the geothermal geyser at the Spa in Chiang Rai. The geyser erupts very frequently in a spectacular performance.
But, Chiang Mai was not the only stop on their excursion. They traveled from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai stopping at some interesting places on the way. One was the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun). A popular sightseeing stop because of its uniqueness, such as the use of skulls in the design and a bridge over a pit of hell; which has sculptures below of people with hands raised trying to escape from hell and climb to heaven. There was also an unusual spa where water trickled down to a fountain that was located in the middle of the road. Of course, they also found Chiang Rai to have some fine restaurants with Judith giving specific mention to the Fuan Jarin; located on the river with a great view and Thai food. But, upon entry, it is the sight of many pastries on display that catches your attention; the owner’s mother does the baking – a skill picked up during her many years in the USA.
In conclusion, Judith mentioned their visit to the palace of the King’s Mother which was built fusing Lanna and Swiss architectural styles. Judith noted that it looked much like a Swiss Chalet; it is built on top of a mountain and surrounded by beautiful gardens.
After Judith answered several questions, MC Richard Silverberg updated everyone on upcoming events and called on Roy Albiston to conduct the always interesting and lively Open Forum where questions are asked and answered about expat living in Thailand; Pattaya in particular. Read more about the Club’s activities on their website at www.pattayacityexpatsclub.com.
Some of the prize winning orchids at Chiang Mai’s famous Floral Festival.
Trip members celebrate the end of the day with some refreshments at a restaurant in Chiang Mai.