Chiang Rai is another small town in Northern Thailand. To me, this region is the real Thailand. It's much less of a tourist attraction than the south, and the people are much nicer, friendlier, and modest. We could tell that they were very proud of their culture and they wanted us to enjoy it.
This was our hotel at this stop. It was probably our favorite of the trip.
Jeab was probably our favorite guide this trip, although they were all very good. When we arrived at the airport here, our first stop was lunch. I told Jeab that I was kind of disappointed in the food so far since I couldn't get a spicy dish no matter what I asked for. She then made it her mission to give us a culinary tour of the region. No touristy restaurants for us. She took us to her favorite spots and made some great suggestions. After a few meals, she got a good sense of what we liked and didn't like, and then steered us to some awesome cuisine.
Once after a long day of site seeing, Jeab suggested a restaurant down the road from our hotel, and told me to order Khao Soi (Northern Thai egg noodle soup) or Chicken Blood Soup. I said, "Yeah, right" and went on my way. The next day when she picked us up, the first thing she said was, "Did you like the Chicken Blood Soup?" When I told her I didn't order it, she seemed to get really annoyed at me. Later on at lunch, she told me again to order Chicken Blood Soup. I'm thinking, "NFW" to that dish, but she gets really mad at me now and orders it behind my back.
Anyway, the soup comes, and I eat it not knowing what it is. It turns out the Chicken Blood is a minor item in this soup. It congeals into little blobs that have no taste at all, and have the consistency of Tofu. You really don't notice it at all. The rest is a delicious mixture of Thai vegetables, curry, garlic, sweet Thai chilis, and herbs. It was one of the best soups I've ever had. The sad thing is that no Thai restaurant in the US would ever put this on the menu because Americans would be too grossed out by the name. I suppose they could change the name and offer it, along with some of the other awesome dishes we've had. Another thing I noticed is that most restaurants in the north have huge menus. Some up to 60 pages long. There are so many incredible offerings over here that you never see at a Thai restaurant in the US.
This shower was big enough to hold the residents of a small village.
This stop is at a village with several different tribes These people still live in grass huts and maintain the traditional life style.
One universal constant is that when you get two chicks together, they can shop with the intensity of a Navy Seal Team on a mission. I could barely keep up with Kelly and Jeab here.
The Thai have an interesting way of roasting chesnuts. They cook them in a skillet buried in fine gravel. The hot stones cook them evenly and this method also seems to hold in the moisture better.
Here we are at the North Eastern boarder of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. You can see all three countries from this point. Laos is on the right, and Myanmar is on the left at the river fork. Our guide said that Laos is a very nice vacation destination because it's so cheap, and the people are very nice. Across the river are some very nice casinos, although we didn't go.
Kelly after a long day of site seeing on our way back to the hotel