Friday, January 11, 2013
Friday started out with a visit to a Lanna Thai textiles shop where the ladies who worked there showed us how they use their large looms to weave the colorful threads into such beautiful designs. The majority of us could not resist buying the gorgeous cloth pieces and left there with many handcrafted treasures.
From there we drove to Chiang Saen along the Mekong River to Wat Pa Sak ruins; the pagoda spire still stands although the temple itself does not. The architecture was of course gorgeous as all the spires here are!
The pagoda incorporates Sukhothai art and the corners have a demon on them to signify that if you get angry you can do anything, even harm yourself or others. These serve as reminders to not be quick to anger. Just be happy and enjoy life for what it has to offer. :)
Wat Chedi Luang was the next stop. This Wat is in a restoration process as the original is also in ruins except for one original post standing proud. An interesting thing we noticed at this temple is that there was a large wasp nest hanging at the front of the temple to signify community and good luck, so go find a nest to hang in your home!
From there we traveled a short distance to the Golden Triangle, which is made up if Thailand, Burma, and Laos. As we stood in Thailand we could look out across the Mekong River to see Burma to the left and Laos to the right. It was a stunning sight!
From the Sriwan restaurant where we had lunch overlooking the Mekong, we went up the road to the Hall of Opium. We spent hours in there and probably could have easily spent a couple more! The Hall of Opium is an educational center and museum that outlines the history of opium growing and trade and how it affected the economy and social life of people in India, Thailand, Burma, Laos, America, England and Singapore. It covered absolutely everything from the different types of poppy flowers, to how people would smoke opium, to all the wars that began over opium distribution and how the drug affects the body (I think the toxicology of opium was the favorite of most of us).
Our tour guide, Poj, wanted us to experience Burmese culture. To do this, he took us to the Burma-Thailand border market to do a little shopping, something that comes often and is readily accepted in a group of 12 ladies!
The last stop of the day was the Baan Chivit Mai Scandinavian bakery for dinner. The bakery raises money and awareness to fight against child prostitution.