Friday, 12 June 2009

Chiang Mai

I arrived in Chiang Mai on 30 May, but the first few days were hampered by a bad cold and a touch of the flu - NOT swine flu (I hope). Went birding at a site known to local expat US birder Marie as the 'Trash Patch' due to the huge amounts of garbage dumped there. It was at the Trash Patch that the Thailand list finally got properly going with Ashy Wood-swallow, Green Bee-eater, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, Grey-breasted Prinia, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Streak-eared Bulbul, Pied Bushchat, Red-wattled Lapwing, Greater Coucal, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Wire-tailed Swallow, Black Drongo, Black-collared Starling, Large-billed Crow and Common Tailorbird. Photography was hampered by the heat, the non-cooperation on the birds' part (although I got some flight shots of the lapwings) and the fact my specs kept steaming up.

Also in Chiang Mai, after returning from Doi Inthanon, I did some more 'cultural' stuff, with a visit to Wat Phra Singh. The buildings of the Wat are beautiful, very colourful with gilded dragon-like things guarding the steps up to the entrance and golden Buddhas in many different poses. One Buddha lies in an out building at the back of the gardens; he is reclining (I think that represents Buddha attaining enlightenment) and there is a LOT of gold leaf on that statue, some peeling off.

[caption id="attachment_206" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Wat Phra Singh"]Wat Phra Singh[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_207" align="alignnone" width="200" caption="Golden Buddha"]Golden Buddha[/caption]

I liked Chiang Mai a lot more than the polluted, crowded nightmare that is Bangkok. Sure, it's got bad traffic but is much smaller and much nicer.

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