Mon. Dec 31, 2012 (B.E. 2555) – After Dec 31 (Part 3) :
We left the Art Gallery, went along Route 1080, which was the only road anyways, and found a noodle place that looked more like a garden with tables. The late lunch we had here was more delicious than what we had expected! Five servings of noodles and a bag of rice snack cost only 180 Baht. Incredible!
(Original photos by Sompote, resized by me.
The same for the rest of the pictures below.)
After lunch we stopped by a Tesco Lotus. The view here was absolutely stunning. Was the mountain range in the distance Doi Phuka?
Before this trip we were told not to miss the ticklish tree at Wat Prang (วัดปรางค์), a temple in Amphur Pua (อำเภอปัว). The tree was "ticklish" because upon stroking its trunk the leaves would tremble, said the travel guide books.
Dik Deam Tree (ต้นดิ๊กเดียม)
The word Dik Deam, which sounded foreign for us, is a Thai Lue word that means ticklish. See more details in the screenshot below. This tree was planted in Wat Prang in 1907, or the Buddhist Year of 2450 - more than a century ago!
To our disappointment, the tree leaves did not move at all no matter how we touched or stroked the tree trunk. One tourist said the tree could have already been too numb with too frequent paddings. (See the little kids in the picture! ) In addition, there was a daycare center on one side of the courtyard (Above: the building next to the picture of the Buddha statue ). It is not difficult to guess who "desensitized" the Dik Deam Tree!
We left Wat Prang, went along the narrow winding roads, passed by a few houses and wats, and reached Wat Baan Tonlang (วัดบ้านต้นแหลง). This old temple was said to have been built by the first Tai Lue immigrants more than 400 years ago. Its main hall indeed looked very old - with holes on the ceiling! The wooden drum tower was much newer and looked sturdy. People could go up there and pound the huge drums. I was impressed with a few palm trees by that drum tower. There were stalls in the courtyard selling traditional snacks made from fruits. We bought some sweet banana crisps but did not take any pics. Delicious though. Only 20 Baht for 3 bags of slightly different flavors. In the garden we saw small banana plants with bright red flowers. See pics:
It was already past 3 in the afternoon, too early to go back, and yet a little too late to go to any national park as most would be closed at 4:30. What a dilemma! The mountain range in front of us could be Doi Phu Kha. It did not seem too far. We decided to try that way and make a U-turn at once should we feel insecure. Travel books said Doi Phuka was the highest in this province and was about 1,980 metres above sea level. Those mountains ahead of us did not look that tall. We had been to Doi Inthanon in Chiang Mai, which was the highest in Thailand, and Doi Angkhang in Chiang Rai, which was the steepest. We had been so sure this one should be piece of cake.....
Soon we found that we had underestimated the situation! By then the road was too narrow and steep to make any turns! Fortunately the sky was still bright and the road signs showed that the tourist info center of Doi Phuka National Park was definitely within reach before sunset.
Thank heavens, we indeed made it. But guess what? The location of this tourist center was in the province of Phrae! Not in Nan.
There was a camping area (see pics below ) full of the campers and their tents. Weather up here was cooler than Naan downtown. The entrance to the camping area was by the winding mountain road. Tope left picture below: Tony standing near the entrance. While strolling past the tents we could hear some child screaming from a bathroom nearby that the shower water was freezing. It was indeed cruel to force any children to take a cold shower! I was not sure if the bathrooms had hot water. Probably not!
Dec 31 (5) →