After an amazing night’s sleep at Na Nirand hotel in Chiang Mai, we had a delicious breakfast of passion fruit, guava juice, eggs, bacon and coffee. Bruce then picked us up and we met the rest of the group at the Chiang Mai Gate Hotel. We met our fellow travellers, Russell, Karen, Jim, Gill, Pam and Geoff, a group of Kiwis, all of whom were friends from home and had travelled together before. We also met our two guides, Tony & Graham. The adventure begins.
We made our way to Mae Wang to meet our new friends the Tuk Tuks. After checking in, we went to a small Thai restaurant on a lake, where we sat cross-legged and ate lunch of pork, chicken & basil, shellfish soup …. Tony described this as the kindergarten of Thai food.
After lunch, we were taken to an old basketball court to do some basic training on driving the Tuk Tuk. I have to say I was very nervous as was Maddie. David seemed to take to it like a duck to water but I was bit more of a slow starter. We even had a driving test, navigating round some cones which I managed to completely knock over!
Once we got a bit more of a handle of the driving, Tony decided it was time to hit the road. We drove through some rural villages, up a hill to reach a remote temple. We met one of the Buddhist monks who gave us a blessing, after we offered him some food. Tony gave us our first insight into the religion, explaining that the monks are not allowed to acquire anything themselves. Everything must be offered to them and their purpose is to find the middle way …… fascinating! We walked up to one of the original caves and I drove home!