Subject: Re: Chiang Mai, Thailand

We were in Thailand in ī97, but I suppose the information is still valid.

In Chiang Mai we stayed at a lovely place called River View Lodge. It is by the river. Our room had a balcony overlooking the river and the other shore. The view at night was simply beautiful. The garden is a joy to wander around. The owners are most gracious, speak fluent English. They helped a great deal about what to do, where to go. It has a very good location - almost everything is within walking distance.

They have a van that took us to Chiang Rai and other places close by. It was a good way to get around since we did not feel like driving in a country where we did not know the language and could not undestand any of the road signs.

There are several very interesting temples worth visiting. Sorry I donīt remember their names - but they will tell you at the hotel. Also there is the night bazaar - a real experience. The stalls sell everything you can imagine from clothes to antiques. What I liked most was just watching the people and all the colours!

Two things we enjoyed outside Chiang Mai. One was the elephant training place - very good and one gets real close to the elephants. Actually I fed bananas to two of them. They grab the bananas from your hand with their trunks. The elephant ride through the forest, across streams, etc. takes about an hour or so. It is worth it - the only chance I ever had to ride an elephant.

The other was a porcelain factory - Celadon porcelain which is something I have always liked very much. It is interesting to see the whole process and how they get the two famous colours - light green and light blue.

One restaurant we enjoyed very much. It is by the river with decks going down to the water. The food and service were very good. At the street entrance there is an art gallery - one walks through it to the restaurant. The gallery is very good. Has very good stuff. Their teakwood elephants are beautifully carved - couldnīt resist to buy three of them.

Canīt help with the trekking - never have done any of that.

Hope this helps. Susana São Paulo, Brazil