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Chiang Mai

Girl & Petals, Wat Umong, Chiang Mai

I'm not sure what to think about this picture. On the one hand I like it - the colours, the petals, the temple, even the pose. But you couldn't call it cute. The girl was with her mother and a photographer, striking practiced poses until they got the shots they needed. It made for a nice picture.

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Chiang Mai to Ayutthaya by Train

The ticket cost around 800THB - a second class, air-conditioned sleeper carriage for the 680km journey from Chiang Mai to Ayutthaya. After yesterday's morning with the monks at Wat Phra Singh, I'd said an emotional farewell to my trusty red devil before I was back in the back of another songthaew ...

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A Morning at Wat Phra Singh

Nothing good can come of waking up late when you’re travelling. I'm sure of it. Get up at 08:00, get there by 09:00, and by the time you've had chance to wish you'd woken up earlier, the sun's burning a hole in your back and the place is crawling with tourists.

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To Wat Phra That Doi Suthep on 115cc of bike

A 05:30 wake-up and still I hadn’t beat the sunrise. It was already light outside. Lighter than I’d thought it would be. Lighter than I’d hoped. If we were operating on monk time, it was already alms-giving hour, and those quiet lines of orange-robed novices would be filing out onto the city streets ...

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Morning alms and sunburnt arms at Wat Suan Dok

I’d been to Chiang Mai once before, only a few months before. On that occasion, I’d left not knowing what all the fuss was about. Everybody I’d spoken to about the city had spoken of it as some kind mystical, mountain-ringed Xanadu, where every cliché about what life in Thailand for the soul-searching foreigner should be like rang true.

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