Thailand 2017 – Lamphun

What a big break I did between the trip and this description. When I came back home to Utah it was so busy. Lots of guests, lots of garden work, and it distracted me. Right now it is the very heat of the summer and we are closed to survive this natural disaster time. At the same time – it is appropriate to connect with the hot weather we had in Thailand and to continue my travel descriptions. I am reading a book by Isaakson about Einstein’s life and his scientific works – and with their diligence and consistency they both inspired me to finish what is unfinished, that is my Thailand my blog. So here it is – we took a bus ride from Phang-Nga to Phuket – we needed to get to the airport, not the city. So the bus let us out on the highway and not on the right side of it. They said they are not permitted to drive to the airport, for the taxi drivers need work and only they can take us to the place. But it was not so easy to get a taxi – luckily there was a traffic jam and we could try to talk to drivers and ask them to send us a taxi. The taxi person drove to where our bags were and then he got out of the car – yes, he put our bags in to his car, but also started changing his clothes – which was a little strange at first – he even put on nice socks and shoes and uniform pants and jacket – evidently they don’t let drivers without nice shoes to enter this “precious” airport. So here we are on a flight to Chang Mai – very good views of the seashores of the parts of Thailand that we visited. If I remember correctly – it was around a 1.5 -2 hour flight. And they feed you, of course! There in Chang Mai we already had a shuttle ride ordered   – a person named Om came to meet us from Lamphun ant drove around 40 min to the town south of Chang Mai. That was the plan – Om is running a B&B in Lamphun. The Pick Baan B&B is in two traditional Thai houses, which is on “legs” by a gardens with lots of trees and bird songs. Ideal!Seemed like ideal. In the very center of this marvelous temple town, nice architecture and we were alone! That saved us. Because when we figured out how the floors squeak, how you can hear every noise outside and under your floors where the living area is – it would be impossible to enjoy neighbors :-). But we were alone and the breakfast was traditional Thai, everything was good enough, the AC worked.  I felt sorry for the poor thing AC – there were such holes in the floors that the cool air escaped  and the mosquitoes entered, and therefore I am not suggesting for you to stay there unless you are patient like us and value such aspects as authenticity. To add insult to injury – every morning when my sleep is the most pleasant that is at 7:30 am – I was woken up by radio anchor’s voice from a loudspeaker, for exactly half hour, directed almost to our ears. Reminded me of living in a dictator’s country…But on the good side  – there was a rather strange hippie type restaurant arranged right in that little lane at the end of which out B&B was. So we had to eat there – they were super nice, super without customers and the food was good.  Here I am at that little outdoors facility, very tired after day’s walkings, posing with the owner: Lamphun seemed not to have a normal restaurant that we expected.  Except for that one by our B&B. Well then we noticed that there is a touristy area on the other side of the town where there are hotels and eateries for visitors. But there were almost no tourists in town- only us and some two three buses during the day by the main temples.  So here is the main Temple   -Wat Prathat Hiriphunchai  – in the morning sun, in the evening sun, with the moon, with the main Chedi around which we walked three times as all the few visitors were doing, with the monks chanting every evening and with very beautiful buildings and frescoes in them, etc.: This is the so called Library where they keep the most sacred Buddhist scriptures. The next morning we took an excursion the town offers. A driver takes you through town to two prominent historical houses and maybe some 9 temples, so you do not need to walk in the heat. The excursion costs 100 bt and with the dollar costing 30 bt – not expensive at all. Having in mind that we would have been only us in the bus if not for that Thai single woman who was celebrating her birthday. I guess in her honor the driver was talking loud and a lot in Thai language, leaving us to wait for peace and quiet. And the booklet they handed was also in Thai, almost everything. But i understood, that we saw some noble man’s house:Then the house where their previous queen lived, a very modest one with squeaking floors: And a monument to a more previous Queen Chamadevi, who helped to establish Lamphun or something along those lines. Seems like they do not need Feminism, their women seem to have enough rights and respect, though take it as a joke – I have no clue what is going on now in their society in this regard.  So here our Thai lady of the bus did what I really do not support – she bought little birdies in a super small cage and let them out – yes. it is good to let the birdies out, but it is not good to support this crazy practice of catching birdies and keeping in the heat through the day by temples with the idea that some good person will free them…If there were no buyers, the sellers gradually would look for something not so alive to sell. Some Thais still believe that by saving the birds you get your wishes fulfilled or turn some fortune your way. Our bus lady also bought three water turtles fished from nearby canals…and she was carrying the poor creatures  in plastic bags for the rest of the excursion till the driver sopped by some more remote canal so that the turtles would not end up in another plastic bag again. Here is our yellow bus behind the elephant sculptures:Then as I already mentioned we were driven in a bunch of temples, the driver would stop and let us walk around. They were all beautiful, interesting, but the heat…Some temples had old Chedis on their grounds, like very old, some had new buildings built in their already very crammed sacred gardens: This temple was especially elaborate with such delicate plaster works covering all surfaces. It reminded me of Lithuanian wedding cakes that our girls made for competitions and won prizes. The most sacred Buddha here is the small one on top of the arch, and there is a glass ball in front of big Buddha which people touch when they visit-  so we did, too :-). I guess – it was for good luck, what else can it be.  To be in such a clean pristine temple alone – I think it is more than rewarding… Here is one of those feminist altars, as I called them. Our friend Alison who is a devoted and knowledgeable Buddhist said she is not quite satisfied how women are considered in Buddhism. So this altar is specially for her: And if you don’t see well in this small picture – they are all women! They like to make their monk-dolls. This is a cell where monks live and it shows how they sleep on a wooden pillow. But why the bed-pan is not under the leg part of the bed? Nobody to ask… One temple is dedicated to some heroic elephant who saved some king of theirs. The elephant’s ashes are in this Chedi  and then there is like an elephant park – very comparable to the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania. There are so many big and small elephants all over on the walls and posts and a big one in the center to go under him three times-  you guessed – for good luck! So we did it.  The last temple had several ancient structures, one of which, the Chedi had a warning for the women not to climb! Men could. As our bus lady explained to me – women are dirty at times during the month, so that is why. But why not after they stop getting dirty – she had not answer, just laughed. That is where the equal rights end…on the steps of a weathered Chedi:The interesting part about this temple is tat if you visit it – you will live a 100 years. But I didn’t know it then, only now I read in a booklet. So I guess that to me it doesn’t apply… They definitely have no lack of imagination for creatures. You will ask – and where do ordinary people live there? Here are a couple houses from the street:  A graveyard also by a Chedi  on temple grounds  – my guess it is only for rich and noble: Statues of prominent monks in temples look like wax figures that belong to Madam Tussaud: One temple had two of those topless women by their entrance, quite strange, maybe just a little:Here are the views of the river in town: Here a covered bridge is seen in the distance – yes, like in Florence, they have a covered bridge filled with little shops. In conclusion  -I would highly recommend to visit Lamphun, if not for several days then at least for one – the micro buses leave for Lamphun in Chang Mai by the Flower market and it takes only half an hour to 40 min to get there. In that way you can escape all the crowds and have temples and the walks in town just for yourself!