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Begining of my South East Asia Adventure - #1 Northern Thailand

About this blog: Most of the images shot were by me. The images with me in them I will give credit to who shot them, unless I just handed my camera or phone off to some person to take a picture of us.

This blog is primarily about my experiences and the things I have done, the places I have gone, and the people I have met.

Friday November 20th, 2015 A photo from this mornings connecting flight to Chiang Mai. This is a shot from the Hong Kong International Airport at sunrise. I have been in Northern Thailand for one day now, and it is just sinking in that I am beginning to embark upon a 14 week adventure. I am so excited to travel, explore, and journey through South East Asia and capture my inspirations to share them with you :-)

Saturday - November 21st

Today my travel mate Chris Avanzato and I perused around town. We ended up at a beautiful little temple called "Wat Chaimongkol" that was close by to the hotel we are staying in.

We went out to the Saturday Wui Lai Market in Chiang Mai. It was such a good experience with live musid, good street food, and tons of venders selling just about anything. Chris and I bought several pairs of pants which are comfortable and stylish.

Sunday - November 22nd

Today we woke up and took a tour to go visit the Doi Inthanon Temple. Along the way we visited two wonderful waterfalls, a local village, and the Chedi's of the King and Queen.

We then visited the Karen Hill Tribe Village. This is a beutiful view of their backyard ladscape with water buffalo off in the distance.

The tribes women making scarves. It takes them typically about 3 days to complete one.

This man was chopping wood, and Chris and I asked him if we could help, so we both used the axe and split a few pieces.

The socond waterfall was the Wachiratharn Waterfall. It was really beutiful! Chris and I went off the path a bit and went to the top of the waterfal to explore the view.

Chris and I in front of the Wachiratharn Waterfall

We then went to the very top of the mountain which is the tallest part of Thailand, and one of the gateways to the Himalayan Range. The summit of Doi Inthanon also shares the same temperete climate as the Himalayas.

Just below the summit we went on walk through the Doi Inthanon National Park and walked along the Ang Ka Nature Trail. This place is soooo beutiful! The smell was so fresh and pure. Chris and I felt like this was such a wonderful and special place to be.

After the walk along the Ang Ka Nature Trail, we went to visit the Doi Inthanon Temple.

A picture that Chris took of me at the temple.

We just had to do some acro at the highest pont in Thailand. It is a must! We had a blast playing around with such a great view and cool weather climate. When we were done it appeared that there was a group of travelers around us taking pictures of us (I am not sure how many people have seen acro yoga before out here).

On the way down from Doi Inthanon we stopped by this increadible garden.

In the evening, we went to the Sunday Market in the Old City of Chiang Mai. This is definetly a fun place to explore. I would highly suggest checking out the night markets when visiting Chiang Mai. There is just so much going on.

On Tuesday the 24th we walked around town and had dinner at a nice little food vendor square that had some nice music provided by a guitarist and a saxaphonist. They were playing The Beatles. After dinner we saw that there was parade happening in the street in celebration of the begining of the Loi Krathong festival.

On Wednesday the 25th, we wanted to celebrate the Yee Ping Festival at the Lanna Dhutanka Temple, however this year is has been canceled due to the mass release of lanterns and the high risk there is for planes that fly in and out of Chiang Mai. There was a small release scheduled where tourist could purchase tickets for a price between $100-$150 US, and the tickets were sold out.

We went to the river instead to celebrate the Loi Krathong Festival which is the praising of water, and there we were also able to release lanterns. The streets were packed with people celebrating the event. It was a lot of fun and felt like the Thailand 4th of July. The sky was lit up with lanterns and fireworks. And the fireworks could be bought and lit by anyone, and they were the real deal fireworks. Of course we ended up purchasing a few and lighting them off. I am happy to say I still have all my fingers in tact :-)

Sarah took these photos of Chris and I by the river lighting our lantern in celebration of the Yee Ping Festival.

Happy that Sara took some pictures of us.

On Thursday we ended up playing at the park and in the evening we went to this really awesome hang out spot called the Tea Tree Cafe. Upon entering we were welcomed home. Indeed this place felt like a little slice of home. It was filled with travellers from all over who were all open mind and heart individuals. We enjoyed a night of music as everyone just jamed out together. I was happy to drink a very tasty Kambucha and do a bit of acro-yoga on the floor with a talented girl by the name of Kena (from Oregon) we met at the park earlier that day.

(The photo of Kena and I doing acro at the Tea Tree is taken by Sara Moh)

(This photo of our group was taken by: Kena Noel Heck, she is in the photo on the far right)

After the Tea Tree, we lit off a few more lanterns on the way back to our hostel.

These shots of us lighting the lanterns by the old city are now taken by Kena using my camera.

This one was captured by Chris.

Kena lighting her first lantern.

The photo above and below of me are taken by Kena Noel Heck using her camera.

On Friday the 27th we went to the Grand Canyon of Chiang Mai. Wow! What a magical place to hang out for the day and beat the heat. This quarrel is a great place to go cliff jumping. The largest we went off was about 14 meters high. It was an awesome thrill. The water felt clean and refreshing.

From below :-)

From above :-)

Chris jumping in. I did it to, but he had issues using my camera to get it.

A picture with me and Sara. She has become our new travel buddy.

Friday evening we went back to the Tea Tree Cafe for open mic night, or as Howie (the space holder) described it as open heart night. It was another great night of fanstastic traveling souls on their own journeys. We heard poems, songs, confessions, and things that people just felt the need to say. The environment was safe, welcoming, and without judgement. I personally dislike public speaking, but got out of my comfort zone and read a letter i wrote a while back to my future self during my smoking cessation course. It was well recieved from everyone. I also said what I was thankful for this year in honor of our Thanksgiving back home. I felt my voice was trembling at times, but my friends said I did great. I was happy to have been apart of the wonderful energy that was there that night.

Saturday - November 28th

It has been a few days since I have had a chance to update this post, so let me catch you up to speed.

The past few days we have met many friendly travelers from all over. Chris and I have gone to the Buak Had Park almost every day now. It is located in one of the corners of the old city, and we have been able to meet many like minded travelers. We have had fun doing acro yoga, and playing on our new friend Sara's 40 meter slackline. It is a really good challange for us, but we have enjoyed the struggle and have been getting better each day with more practice.

Here are some pictures of us playing in the park the past few days.

Sara training on her high line. This day we were practicing about a distance of 25 meters.

At the very end of the first day of training, I was able to make it to the very end :-) Hooray! Although, a few days later I fell from fairly high up and landed pretty hard on my elbows hurting my right shoulder just a little bit. Ouch! At least it is pretty inexpensive to get a nice massage here.

I encouraged Chris to practice and exposure for the photo. He fell just a few seconds after, but he is getting better with more control each time.

Photos of Chris and I doing Acro are taken by Sarah Moh

On Saturday I rented a bicycle and rode around town visiting temples and taking photos. Then working on a few images and catching up on this blog.

This is a photo of the Wat Monthian Temple.

This is Wat Lok Molee Temple which is across the street from the Wat Monthian Temple

I am very happy with the way these two HDR images of the brick wall and temple came out.

This shot is from the Wat Chedi Luang Temple which is located in the old city of Chiang Mai. This temple was fairly impressive with the statues looking to be about three stories in height. This temple of Lord Buddha with his right hand up signifies peace to the world.

A look from outside the Wat Chedi Luang Temple.

On Sunday November 29th, we met Apple who runs the Hug Academy in Chiang Mai. The Hug Academy is a place where children can learn a variety of arts, from musicac, to visual art, to baxing, and dancing. Sara was helping teach children how to slackline, and we wanted to come join and help as well. Sara introduced me to Marie who is a Physical Therapist and is studying Thai massage in Chiang Mai. She did some therapy on my shoulder from my slackline two days prior.

While we were at the Hug Academy we met Mai Who was a teacher at the Academy, and he told us that he would be playing at the North Gate Jazz Co-op. In the evening we went there to listen to Mai and his band play blues. He killed it playing the blues that night.

Monday 11-30 we met with Apple who took us out to an awesome lunch at her favorite local restaurant. After lunch she took us to her factory where she makes silver jewlery and has her store. She gave us a wonderful tour around. We all ended up purchasing something from her. I got a silver feather to add to my Russ Lock that is atached to my hair. It is a great new addition.

we hung out with Apple longer than anticipated, and we thought we had missed our opportunity to go to Doi Phra Wat Suthep, Apple ended up bringing our group there with her son Harley and her husband. This is photo of us in the back of her truck on the way up. (Apple gifted me the awesome bag I have around my shoulder)

This is Harley and Chris in the back of the truck.

This is a view of Chiang Mai from the temple at sunset.

Our Group :-)

Harley and his mom Apple.

The Monks were praying and chanting at Doi Phra That Wat Suthep.

A beutiful HDR of one of the spaces at Doi Wat Suthep.

Tuesday 12-01 We left at 6:30 am to go to Chiang Rai, and visited the White Temple. It is a beautiful tourist attraction, and very artistic in dark ways. We did not enjoy our visit. It felt like visiting Dysneyland. Upon getting off of ou three hour ride, and endtering the temple premisis. We were getting yelled through a megaphone to continue walking and to not block any walkways. It was very unfriendly, especially at a temple. We were getting whisles blown at us, and kept getting encouraged to keep moving. It was awful being rushed like that. Upon entering the temple where photos were not permited to be taken, the artwork was very beutiful. I turned around to look at each panel of the walls to notice Neo from the Matrix, along with the transformers being held by some type of squid or octupus. I was baffeled at seeing this. Then upon exiting around the premisis we noticed hanging heads on the trees. A few of the heads looked very familiar, it was Iron man, batman, and other iconic superheros. On the outskirts of the temple there was Alien vs. Preditor. It was just awful to be attracted out to a beuatiful temple to only find out that it was like an uncomfortable touristy Dysneyland experience.

Here are some of the photos I came up with from the temple. Just enjoy the images. It is not worth the visit.

We then went to the Black House Museum (Baan Dam). I thought the art there was fairly weird. It was dark and tons of animal bones and animal parts. There was not anything to read about while we were there, so we did not know what any of it signified. We were happy it was much less of a tourist attraction than the White Temple.

I gave my camera to someone there to take a photo of Chris and I with the White Temple.

We then went back to Chiang Rai to eventually make our way to Mae Salong to try to ride poies through the tea fields in the mountains. We got half way there before it became too late and too dark to travel. The roads were too dangerous to continue at night, and we found out that chris would be too heavy to ride the ponies (over 80 kg). We ended up hitch hiking back to chiang rai with a very friendly Thai person with a truck. We then tried our luck with catching yet another ride to chiang Mai that night by hitch hiking again since the bus transportation had finished for the day. We did not have any luck, but had a great time trying to get a ride. Tons of laughs. We ended up checking out the Chiang Rai night bizzare and stayeing the night at the Jasmine Guesthouse. The accommodation we had that night was really nice. :-)

Wednesday 12-02 We took a green bus back to chiang Mai. For cheap travel, these buses are great for getting around. I spent the afternoon editing photos and udating this blog. Then went to the park to play on the slackline and do acro yoga for the evening. We met friends at park and met up again later with most of the people at the North Gate Jazz Bar.

Thursday 12-03 We took a bus to Pai today to arrive at the Circus Hostel. We arrived to find people playing with poi, juggling, doing acro, slacklining, swiming in the pool and stretching. We felt that we arrived in the right place. This hostel is holding a circus festial this weekend from the 3rd-6th.

Friday 12-04 Today I did acro yoga all day. And held me first acro yoga class with a girl I met here by the name of Kristina Pipova.

(Picture Taken by Adam Tyler Davis)

(Picture Taken by Adam Tyler Davis)

In the evening, there was firespinning performances. Chris lit his rope dart on fire and gave a really great performance for the crowd.

Pocket catching his fire staff.

Saturday 12-05 I held another acro yoga workshop today, It was a such a delight. We had another class consisting of over 30 people. Many people who participated in the class are trying it for their first time and are really enjoying learning acro yoga. In the evening there was an instructor performance and I did a performance with Kena which consisted of me basing her while she spun one hoop on her foot and two on her hands.

Here is a picture I took of Kena with her light up hoops soon after the performance we had.

Sunday 12-06 Today was our last day we taught acro yoga. We played at the circus hostel all throughout the day and then went out to the Sunset Bar to enjoy shakes for the evening.

Monday 12-07 We rented scooters and went as a group to visit the Pam Bok Waterfalll.

Kena basing me on the bridge.

We are starting to try and do acro everywhere. Double Thrown.

Shoulder stand

Over the water.

The water was refreshing, it felt really nice, however there were a few water snakes to be weary about.

Our group for the day :-)

We went to the Land Split afterwards. This view was great!

We had some Roselle juice for free on the way back (that is all the red on the tarp)

Some of the locals picking the Roselle.

We went to the White Buddha in the evening for sunset. It has a spectacular view, and the Buddha is quite impressive.

Acro Everywhere :-)

A picture of the sunset behind the mountains.

Wednesday December 10th

We took the scooters over the hill about 60km to the Cave Lodge and spent the night to explore caves in the morning.

This is a picture of us at the top of the hill on our way to The Cave Lodge over. We had a great group, and our group was called "The Herd"

The day we arrived we went to the exit of Cave Lod at sunset to watch the swiffs return to their homes. There were probably a few thousnad birds flying above entering the cave.

The Heard in front of Cave Lod

Thursday 12-11-2015 We did three caves the next day, one of which was a waterfall cave. The hike along the caves was amazing. Wonderful scenic views, and we had amazing tourguides to lead us on the hike and through the caves.

The hike in between the caves was so scenic.

Our group that went on the hike throught the caves that day including out tour guides.

Our crew doing a Power Ranger pose at the top of the mountain at sunset coming back to Pai after our cave tour.

In the evening we went back to circus to hang out and shoot pool and play around. Here are a few shots of people playing with LED poi and Chris doing his dire ropedart.

This one of Chris came out really well.

Friday December 11th - We went to the White Buddha today and did acro yoga in the morning. I am not so big on doing movies, but my acro partner Kena was happy to put one together from the footage we shot. We filmed ourselves playing around this morning, and then edited it while playing at the Pai Circus Hostel.

In the evening we went to the Canyon in Pai for sunset. It is a spectacular unique ridgeline that offfers a great view of the nature below and the surrounding landscape.

After visiting the canyon, we tried uploading some images and video at this wonderful cafe called Art in Chai where we were able to listen to some awesome live music and enjoy a delicious Indian dinner.

Satudarday 12-12-2015 We took it easy today, Chris got sick and is now on what we call the "Pai Diet".

Here is a video of Chris doing his Rope Dart in Thailand that Kena put together. I did most of the filming :-)The music in both movies is done by Stephen Kaminanda.

In the evening we went out to enjoy some live music with friends at the Edible Jazz Cafe.

Monday December 14th We said our good byes to all of the friends we met in Pai, and had a great breakfast at Lemon Thyme. The avocado eggs Benedict is really good there. At 6:30pm we hopped on a mini bus to go to the chiangkong, close to the Laos boarder to take a slow boat the next day. We spent about $1750 baht through AYA, which was also the company we rented our scooters from. The ride to get to Chiangkong took 7 hours, and we arrived at 1:30 am. Went to sleep. Tuesday December 15th- We woke up around 7:00 for breakfast and went to the boarder at 8:30 to cross. By 11:30 we were getting on the slow boat which was able to accommodate 150 people. We rode for just over 7 hours where we spent the night at Pakbang. The ride was fairly smooth with beautiful sites of Laos's green hills from the Mekong River. There would be local fishing along the way from beautiful jagged rocks that were on the sides of the river. I was in the center of the boat, relatively close to the bar and a group of men my age got really roudy drinking beer the whole way. I enjoyed my music the for the duration of the boat ride. Pakbang is a place that is very expensive. It is because they know that there are no other options, and it is a stopping point for the people on the slow boat.

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