Misty Mountain Haze in Mae Hong Son, Ziplines and Strange Eats in Chiang Mai, and More Amazing Sunsets in Bangkok

Mae Hong Son, Thailand:

Journeying even further into the remote outposts of Thailand’s Northern provinces, my next stop was that of the tiny border town of Mae Hong Son.  Lost in the mountain haze and practically a part of Myanmar, both architecturally and culturally, this diminutive, sleepy town of only 6,000 people was originally a founded as an elephant training center, but now offers unbridled views of what life would be like living relatively isolated from the comings and goings of the outside world.

Getting to Mae Hong Son is half the fun, too, as the only ways to access the town are via a short, but nerve-wracking, flight from Chiang Mai or the famous Mae Hong Son Loop road — often touted as one of the best motorcycle rides on the planet, as it boasts over 1,600 curves as you navigate switchbacks up and down the mountainsides the entire way there.  I opted for the flight, being that I only had a few days to explore the village and the 6-8 hour drive would have only left me exhausted.  However, given the “misty mountain haze” I spoke of earlier — which is really a smoke-screen created from the slash-and-burn agriculture that is practiced here — I still found myself stranded in Mae Hong Son trying to get back to Chiang Mai after all flights were grounded due to poor visibility issues.  Eventually, I was able to hitch a ride in a mini-van headed for Chiang Mai, so I did make it back after all.  Alas, the woes of a traveler…

The main drag in Mae Hong Son

Wat Jong Khlang in the center of town, as seen from across the lake

The rural countryside just outside of town

Wat Jong Khlang lit up at night

The view from Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu, which sits atop a peak overlooking the town

The Morning Market in Mae Hong Son, as seen above, was also my daily breakfast stop before heading out to explore the surroundings

An unknown Thai breakfast as procured near the Morning Market. I can identify the eggs, but the rest of the mystery meat products shall forever remain a secret to me (though a tasty secret)

Another of the local specialties was listed as Mae Hong Son Style Mixed Curry — which, as far as I could tell, was pretty much everything they could find in the kitchen all thrown together

Chiang Mai, Thailand (again):

After having spent a few relaxing days in Mae Hong Son, it was back to Chiang Mai for another week before heading back to the big city of Bangkok.  To keep myself busy, I booked an adrenaline-filled trip trekking along the tree tops and coasting over the jungle below via a series of ziplines just outside of the city.  And if you’ve been following along with my adventure so far, you’ll be as pleased as I was that I got a chance to check off yet another death-defying extreme sport from my wish list (sorry Mom).

If you look closely, you can see the zipline extending out into space

That’s me out there in the red shirt. All in all, the course took us across 24 ziplines, 3 foot bridges, and 2 repelling platforms. Pretty fun stuff.

A small waterfall near the zipline course

So far, I’ve only presented photographs on this blog, but today is a first: I’m trying my hand at video.  Though I’m not planning on using it extensively, it is another avenue that I may employ from time to time if I see something that is particularly movie-worthy.  In this case, I’m taking you for a ride on the longest zipline of the whole course, streching over 800 meters (over a half mile) across the entire mountainside.  Have fun!

Another of my favorite activities (as you likely well know by now) is scouring the cities I visit in search of whatever new and creative culinary creations I can find.  And although I never seek out foods specifically because they are “weird” or “different” (it is only our misplaced Western sensibilities that label something weird or different, after all), I can’t help but find them from time to time.  Back in Chiang Mai, two of the best places to indulges ones hunger pangs are the Saturday and Sunday Walking Streets, respectively, which are essentially large outdoor markets that are set up once a week selling everything from tee shirts and pashminas to tribal artwork and handicrafts.  The eats are what I was after, though, and below are just a few of the fun foods I was able to find:

A scene from the Saturday Walking Street Market

Bee Larvae Omelette — I also tried the Ant Egg Omelette, but it wasn’t quite as photogenic

Grilled Pork Intestines (on the left) and Chicken Hearts (on the right)

Fried Quail Eggs

Sticky Rice with Red Bean Paste (on the left) and Fried Pumpkin (on the right)

Sausages stuffed with any type of meat you can think of

Small little puffs made from steamed palm hearts

Another unidentified noodle roll-up thing (with more noodles on the inside, too)

Fried Mussels presented in an almost-Tako-Yaki-like manner

If you take the yolks from both duck and chicken eggs, mix in a bunch of sugar, and then roll the resulting mixture into small balls, this is the delicious result you’ll get

A variety of fresh fruit and herbal juices available, all priced at about 30 cents a piece (why is juice so expensive back in the US, again?)

Sticky rice grilled inside banana leaves

Japanese-style crepes. Though I frequented this stand quite a bit while I was in town, it really only succeeded in making me miss the ethereal, angelic creations that were bestowed upon this world by the Foodie Cart back in Columbus. I miss you Foodie Cart!

And lastly, ice cream in block form. This one happens to be Taro flavored (thus the purple color)

Bangkok, Thailand (again):

After my 3 week stay in Chiang Mai finally came to an end, I had to head back to Bangkok for a few days to pick up my primary camera, which was being fixed after I broke it way back in Koh Samui (I’ve been using my old back-up I brought along ever since).  And to celebrate having it back, I decided to try my hand at documenting the changing light of the sunset as seen from the Sirocco Sky Bar off Silom Road.  For those movie buffs out there, this was the rooftop bar that was featured in “The Hangover 2,” though luckily I didn’t have to deal with any of the shenanigans that the wolf pack did:

The view of the bar as you walk outside

And a few minutes later:

This post has been quite a mixed bag of sights and experiences, so I apologize for the lack of a theme, but I’ve been moving around quite a bit this last week and I’ve had a lot of material to get out to the way.  This will also, very sadly, be my last post from Thailand, as I’m heading into Cambodia tomorrow.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my stay in this beautiful country and am mournful in that sense, but I’m also looking forward to the change or perspective that accompanies a new country and new culture.  Until then, Choc-tee from Thailand!

About andrewamiet

I'm a 29 (now 31) year-old former desk jockey who is now making my way around the world, experiencing all of the sights, sounds, tastes, people, and culture that the world has to offer.

8 Responses to “Misty Mountain Haze in Mae Hong Son, Ziplines and Strange Eats in Chiang Mai, and More Amazing Sunsets in Bangkok”

  1. Video is awesome! I especially enjoyed the un-sure “O…K…” I hear you mutter after the instructor rattles off what appears to be directions in Thai and then proceeds to push you off the edge. Great stuff.

    • Yep, there’s nothing like being given directions that potentially could be a matter of life and death when you can’t understand what the person is saying. It was fun though!

  2. so, no photos on the windy Mae Hong Son Loop road back to Chiang Mai?

  3. Beautiful pictures, but I think I would skip some of the foods.

    • Very understandable. Even amongst the very open-minded travelers that I meet up with along the way, I’m still usually the only one to try most of this stuff. At least I was born with an iron stomach – ha ha!

  4. Love the video!!! And I must really commend you for your very adventurous appetite! Iron Stomach! Nice!

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