Sunday, Mom and Pam’s first full day in Chiang Mai. We hired a car and driver and traveled about an hour out of town to Mae Rim to visit the Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden. Tee unexpectedly had the day off and was able to join us for the day. The botanical garden is huge and it takes several hours to walk through all the gardens (when I went with Pheebs and Leonie we were gone so long the garden staff was worried we’d gotten lost and sent Tee to look for us) so we stuck to the glasshouse exhibits that are all grouped together at the top of the hill. We spent a couple hours admiring orchids, water lilies, cactus, and a jungle exhibit complete with a waterfall. There also was a neat room that was a life-sized diorama showing rural village life. Split bamboo walled homes, woven baskets that hang over the backs of water buffalo and trays for winnowing rice. Photos of lush, green terraced rice fields and of villagers in their vibrant traditional dress weaving, cooking, and living covered the glasshouse walls. Next a stop at the gift shop to pick up some beautiful orchid postcards and other floral goodies.
On our ride out we’d spotted a place with deliciously crispy skinned chickens rotating over a fire so we stopped in for a huge lunch of roasted chicken, spicy herb pork salad, papaya salad, tom yum and sticky rice. It was a feast.
Then it was off to the Elephant Poo Paper Park. We had a funny poo filled tour, Mom and Pam got to get their hands dirty and this gift shop was also a big hit. Trying not to ruin any holidays surprises here.