We had booked a flight from Lijiang back to Kunming on 23 May 2014. Instead of overnight at Lijiang, we had decided to try out 束河，a quiet town about 3km away from Lijiang.
阿牛 had arranged us a room at 五味客栈，operated by a young and friendly man, a friend of his.
The hotel was basic, but very tastefully furnished. From the hotel, we would take about three minutes walk to the town centre, where the drinking place were. 束河 was basically a smaller, quieter, more artistically furnished (imho) town compared Lijiang. Given a chance, my next stay would be here instead of LiJiang.
The beauty of Shangrila is that every part of it is so scenic, just drive along the road and you may find the scenery at the side is always picture perfect. The time we were there was during May with wild flowers blooming, showing specks of reds surrounded by green leaves.
阿牛stopped at a Tibetian friend’s house and we were honoured to be invited into Tibetian’s house. The house was filled in red and consist of two storey. The second storey was where they lived and was decorated with drape of cloths, or canvas
I had always wanted to visit Shangrila after hearing so much wonderful stories from the local tour guide during my visit to LiJiang last year.
After round of persuasions, finally gained green light from my Home Minister to book air tickets KUL-KMG-KUL during May 2014.
We always preferred to use public transportation during tour, for cost reason of course, and for the fact that we could really experienced the local life style. This time was an exception though, in view of the transportation within towns may not be as convenient, and journey to Shangrila may not be pleasant if we were to use public transport. We opted for the local tour guide I knew last year, and had arranged him to meet us up the second night we reached Li Jiang.
We touched Kunming, and thanks to the help of my friend Moo, who was kind enough to help book return ticket KMG-Lijiang-KMG, we took connecting flight and arrived at Lijiang Int Airport at night.
A taxi ride of around 30 minutes brought us to Lijiang old town entrance. A young man came out and walked us to our pre booked hotel 木石缘. The walk to the hotel was chilling with gushing wind blown to us, we had to stop to put our jackets on.
It was cold at night even during the spring season, and we went to bed shortly after arriving at hotel.
We had some simple breakfast the next morning at 满庭芳, todate, i still remember the piping hot fried rice.
The next stop was to 木府， which i had visited last year. The climb to the top was definitely good exercise.
I had done some readings regarding temples in Chiangmai and was overwhelmed with many names of the wats mentioned. I somehow never jotted them down and relied upon our hired faithful and knowledgeable driver Ah Dee.
He first stopped us at Wat Chedi Luang, which i deemed a must-go if you were to visit temples in Chiangmai. It was an old temple with intricate craftings and architecture. The inner of the temple is grand and yet sirene. I would had snapped more photos if not because of family members wanting to move on to other places.
This trip was specifically planned for my wife, who wanted to participate in the massive Yi Ping event held annually at Myojo University at Chiangmai.
Lots of efforts and studies were done, including speculating when the event at Myojo University would be held. As a norm, a massive event for local Thais will be held near the actual Yi Peng day, while another opened specially for Farang would be held about 2 weeks after the actual Yi Peng day. To prepare for this, I had planned to arrive 1 day before actual Yi Peng day and leaving only 2 days after Yi Peng, but that is only so much one could planned as in this year, the organiser had decided to have the ceremony for local Thais to be held about 2 weeks before actual Yi Peng day but left the actual day for celebration by Farang. Feeling disappointed? For sure, end up wife was the one who consoled me that it was OK to miss the Myojo University celebration.
We were soon to find out that she was absolutely correct, as on the actual Yi Peng day it self, there was a massive celebration near a bridge at Chiangmai town and trust me, the crowd was massive, this was a Yi Peng cum Loy Kratong celebration where ones let go off Lanterns as well as Crating (boat) at the river.
We stayed at the strategically located Centara Duangtawan Hotel where the walk to the bridge took us less than 10 minutes. We saw the crowd started building up by 8pm, where lots of people heading to the bridge, passing by our hotel.
Along the way to the bridge, there are peddler selling beautiful Kratongs, Lanterns (Both plains and some with designs such as Angry Birds, Bears etc). There were also hawkers selling bags, shirts . Along the road were restaurants and also small pubs.
We reached at about 8.30pm, where the place was already so crowded, managed to find a place for letting go Lanterns
It has been at least two years since we last visited Cameron Highlands. People around saying it is no longer cooling like previous due to over development, thus we did not put high hope on getting chilled.
It is indeed not as cold, especially when you were on the street during day time. Somehow, when we reached our room at night, it was getting cold. Wife had to put on sweater to sleep. One thing for sure, Cameron Highlands undergo massive development in recent years, with new hotels and new attractions such as Lavender farms, strawberry farms mushrooming.
This time round, we visited the Sg. Palas Boh plantation as well as Lavender Farm.
After a winding ride downhill from Cameron Highlands, we en route Bidor to get some Petai and biscuits at 品珍 Restaurant. We then continued on trunk road and drove about 40 minutes before reaching 福成 Restaurant at Slim River.
I knew this place thanks to a good buddy of mine Robin and had been patronising this place for years, long before they shifted to the new shop today. The 老板娘 is very friendly and approachable. I surfed through net to find that many people had written much positive comments about this restaurant.
As we just had river prawns at Tanjung Tualang two days ago at 联芳 Restaurant, we had decided to scape them today. Instead, we had ordered Clay Pot Tapah, my long time favourite. With some mandarine orange skin 果皮, ginger and of course the fresh Tapah fish, i can easilly finish two big bowl of rice with this dish alone.