Gail Scrivener reflects on the ever colourful Thailand
The recent Thailand tour was an amazing experience for the twelve participants from the CHS. Every day there was an adventure to enjoy, sights to see, history to discover and cuisine to tempt from this colourful land.
Two experiences stand out for me: While we were staying in Chiang Rai we travelled into the northern Highlands to Doi Tung and the Mae Fah Luang Gardens. These landscaped gardens are situated high up on the mountain of Doi Tung and we were rewarded with a stunning display of familiar plants and flowers. Set over 10 acres, the ornamental gardens owe their existence to the Princess Mother (the late mother of Thailand’s present king) who wanted to give those Thai people who have never travelled overseas the opportunity to enjoy a temperate flower garden. The decorative flowers in Mae Fah Luang Garden are grown and nurtured by local villagers who benefit from the tourist revenue and job opportunities offered by the garden.
The other highlight was attending the flower festival parade in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is popularly known as ‘The Rose of the North’ and with its enchanting location on the banks of the Ping River, the city and surroundings are blessed with a stunning natural beauty and a uniquely indigenous cultural identity.
We were fortunate to enjoy the parade from our very own reserved viewing platform. This provided an optimum view for the colourful and creative floats featured in the parade. This year there were twenty three flower floats, accompanied by numerous performers and marching bands.
The floats were cleverly and meticulously designed with intricate decorations utilising a variety of vegetables, marigolds, daisies, orchids, roses and seeds.
We were treated to a boxed mid morning snack, sun-hats decorated with orchids, and comfortable cushions. The ‘Go See Thailand’ team made sure our every need was met in genuine friendly Thai style.
There were many other wonderful experiences on our 12 day tour, such as the Maesa Elephant Camp; Long necked Hill tribe people; walking across the bridge over the River Kwai; shopping in the night bazaar; enjoying a traditional Thai massage; Thai cooking class and so much more.
To my fellow travellers, thank you for your great company and the memories we share.