05 June 2012

Chiang Dao
Srisangwan Waterfall
Hot Springs
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Hill Tribe ladies at Chiang Dao Markets

We decided to head out of town today to see a waterfall.  This shouldn’t be too hard, but we were still sans bike.  There was the Chiang Dao Tuesday market.  This is a local market.  The villages from around the area all come in to sell their wares.  This ranged from knives like our Laotian one, through to woven fish traps and bird cages.  There were lots of clothing stalls and shoes, yet we still couldn’t find Anna a pair of shoes that she liked.  I almost wish we were returning to Australia soon, with unlimited baggage, as there was a lot of things that we would like to get so we can store it in Mum and Dad’s garage!  We stopped at a fruit stall with a green fruit.  We still don’t know the name of it, but we asked about it.  They gave us one to try.  You peel off the thin skin revealing a creamy white fruit.  This is very sweet and juicy.  It also has a large smooth brown seed inside.  We had to get a bunch.  It is now in our fridge waiting for tomorrows bus trip to wherever (It is 8pm and we still havent decided.  Trying to catch up on the blog first.)

Asking at the guesthouse about motorcycle rental she confirmed what we already knew.  There was only the one place in town.  She did give us a good tip though.  Take a taxi that already had Thais in it.  This would be cheaper than an empty one as they usually don’t pick anyone else up after you and you pay tourist price.  When we mentioned we wanted to do the waterfall, she said this was definitely the way to go.

Doing so we caught the taxi for the 35km or so out to the waterfall.  This set us back 60 baht.  Off we went.  It was going well for a while until the taxi pulled in to a rest area.  It spent about 10 min here and we thought it would never move again.  The locals we not worried though.  Eventually we moved on.  It is hard to look out these tuktuks as there is a roof and only small windows.  With the benches along the walls you have to crain your neck sideways to look out.  It was not that short a trip but really wasnt bad at all.  We even found the right stop.

THE Waterfall. Named by the Queen and everything!

At the entrance to the waterfall we found that it was a national park.  This was a 20baht fee for Thais and 100 for farang (foreigner).  A bit miffed at this as we only wanted to see the waterfall.  Thailand.  Paying it we found that the ticket also allowed us into the hot springs about 4 km down the road.  This made it a little better if we had planned on going there.

Walking into the park there are a lot of camping grounds and a nature trail.  The waterfall was named by the Queen when she came out to open the border guard training camp (we are only about 20km from Burma here).  The waterfall was different.  There was no long drop or anything, and the amount of water coming down the hill wasnt massive.  There was also a cement barrier in the middle of it.  What made the waterfall interesting was the mineral content of the water, and how it was forming up over the levels of the waterfall.

There were several different viewing platforms as you move down the stream to see different sections of the decent.  There was also a herb garden.  Crossing a bridge made from a fallen tree we found ourselves on an old disused road.  I am assuming this is the old road before the bitumen road was put through the area.  Going back we decided to skip the nature trek as it was basically a walk through the jungle.

Going back out to the main road we had to wait for another yellow tuktuk to pass to take us back to town.  We decided to start walking as it was something to do.  As we went down the road we came across one of the houses selling food, and decided on lunch.  Walking in there was no one there.  The fridge was there, and full of beer, and not a soul to be seen.  Waiting around, someone eventually noticed us and came over from the main house.  We then proceeded on the best lunch we have had in Thailand.  Shrimp fried rice for Andrew and fried Omelette for Anna.
She wasnt sure If I wanted the shrimp, so she brought out the bag to confirm these were what I was after.  At the end of the meal it started raining, so we sat there under the shelter waiting for the next taxi.  With one coming, we ran out to it trying to flag it down.  They only waved at us and continued on.  We were holding the woman up from what she wanted to do and as the rain had eased off we decided to keep walking.  With one heavy patch of rain, we sheltered under a nearby tree and then found a taxi.  By then we had decided on doing the hot springs.  We didn’t know what to expect, but the ticket price was already covered.  We got in the taxi, only to get out less than a kilometre later at the turn off.

Good Soaking 58 Degrees!

The walk to the hot springs shouldnt have taken long.  It was signposted as being 1km.  about 2km in, we were talking about turning back.  It was up hill.  Steep up hill.  However there was an interesting beetle floating around and a lot of massive spiders off to the side of the road.  On hitting the top of the hill we went down the other side. Each turn was going to be the last.  We then came across a sign that said in english hot springs 500m.  A few metres from this was a sign in Thai saying something 2.2km?  Well, we had come this far.

About 500m down the road was the hot springs.  The guy at the gate inspected our tickets.  #28 & 29  (not sure when this ticket book was started but it wasnt today) and let us in.

The springs are not big, and basically there are another two camp grounds (I think camping may be popular with Thais). Like the other park there was no one here other than staff.  The pools that were bubbling up from underground, were quite small. One was at 51 degrees, the other at 58. A bit to hot to sit in. The water was streamed down to a bigger pool that you can bath in. We did not bring our swimmers, but as we had the place to ourselves decided to go in, in our undies. A quick mandatory cold shower first. This pool must have been around 35 or 40 degrees. Really nice to soak in, but it does get a bit hot after a while. Advice is that you should not be in it for more than 15 minutes.
After getting dressed we took on the walk back. We had just done the worst bit, the uphill bit, when a car stopped to offer us a ride to the main road. We happily accepted and crawled in the loading tray of their ute. At the road we got out and thanked them, only to discover they were heading towards Chiang Dao and were happy to take us along. Our driver has a bit of a lead foot, and soon we were flying along, overtaking all moto’s and cabbage trucks. They did not go all the way though, so for the last bit we caught a yellow tut tuk again.
All in all a pretty good day.

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