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North tour, day 4: Chang Mai Mae Tae Elephant Park, Paper Umbrella Fabric and Orchids Fields. Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep (“Hill Temple”).

At dawn we leave the city and move forward there in the tropical forest, toward the Mae Tae Elephant Park: issue of a clinical breeding and care of elephants, where we will make a trip on elephant back and will see a show.

Not to excessively fight animal rights, my guide has specified that most of the proceeds are donated in maintaining the elephants, both healthy (each elephant eats several tons of food and water in a day) and patients (the treatment can cost a lot , especially if imported). In fact, the park makes a good impression: the elephants seem healthy and very kind farmers. The elephant ride passing through the midst of the river, is suggestive and is mounted in pairs on the back of your pet.

 

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In my case, I open the row but come quickly surpassed by the whole group: my elephant must be a teenager or evil is awakened, today to cross the river does not seem to have any desire. Since the driver does not smite (thank goodness), we get a century, but this allows me to enjoy the view for good. The Thai elephants have smaller bodies and bigger head of the African ones, are very intelligent and sweet. On the way, also we crossed some sort of majestic oxen of burden, a Thai varieties can not remember the name, towing heavy wagons containing tons of food destined for trunks.

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In particolar to stars of the show which we assisted, on which I will not dwell not to spoil the surprise (but you are opposed or not, to see an elephant paint or do other spectacular numbers is amazing).

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Finished the show, we move in the direction of the wonderful park of Doi Suthep, the largest nature reserve in Thailand. On the way, three stops are planned. The first, to the cultivation of Orchids Field.

 

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Here we are grown hundreds of varieties of orchids, from which they extract essences for perfumes or beautiful jewelry due to crystallization or lamination of the same flowers. In addition, within the structure we are also bred butterflies of many different varieties, in a designated area and wonderful.

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The second stop, to me the most anticipated, is the Paper Umbrellas Making Centre. If you want an umbrella or a fan in Thai style, on waterproof paper or decoration, completely handmade according to tradition, you have to come to Chang Mai. still follow the traditional procedures and carry umbrellas and fans with resistant teak wood frame, completely hand-painted, any size. 

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The whole procedure is carried out in a manner illustrative, before your eyes: this also allows you to order something custom that craftsmen perform on time, so if you were a fan with your face portrayed above could see him accomplish in an hour.

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In addition, over the years they have updated and now also produce leads smartphone, tablet pc bag, plus countless other objects. Fair prices obviously higher than in markets but the quality there is no comparison (my guide still went around with an umbrella produced thirty years ago right there, untouched).

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Last stop before lunch is the silk factory, also traditionally crafted here. Since they are already in the Po valley (our excellence made in Italy) and in the Turkish Kapadokya (click here for article), it hits me a lot, with the exception of yellow from silkworms and tireless artisan.

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The store is very nice: the clothes offered are of high quality and varied cuts, from classical to the eccentric, suitable for any occasion and fashionistas. The price, for those concerned, it is fixed but very convenient.

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In the afternoon we visited Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, known as "Hill Temple", the holiest of the city. Around us, the boundless nature reserve, where who has time could be hang in nature. 

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Instead, we move to Buddha and bells collection most famous of the north of Thailand. There are almost 300 steps to climb: the temple is located at 1.056 meters of height. I don't like "renew" stuff, also if it is revisit in an old style: so, I think that the temple is quite artificial and i don't like it. Except for traditional processions of pilgrims, cross by chance and suggestive,  a pour immersion in buddhists costums.

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Anyway, its conserve some treasures: beautiful frescoes and Buddhas, with the possibility to talk with a monk.

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a collection of ancient bells with different dimensions and sounds, original holy books and, on the roof, a wonderful city view.

 

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For the last night with the tour group, we enjoy a Thai style dinner, sitting on the knees. Accompanied by traditional dance with paper umbrellas and fans.

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Grazia