Our lodge at Royal Ping was peaceful and surrounded by tropical plants including incredibly fragrant gardenias. Juice glasses in the restaurant were printed with light blue elephants and the Royal Ping logo. The staff understood my strange request for purchase, so four of them are now carefully packed among the treasures to ship home.
Riding at the nearby Elephant Training Center started our day. We expected a ride only through the jungle and were thrilled when the elephants headed down the bank and into the river. Martin and Jeff followed us so were the subject of many photos. Note the frame on our picture, the one also now destined for the USA. It is made of dried elephant dung. I hope the US Customs’ dogs don’t tear open our package in search of dried droppings.
Locals sold souvenirs as we left the facility and headed for the hills – literally. Our ride today was splendid. Banana and corn plants, that would rival those in Iowa, grew side by side near the rounded top mountains I associate with Asia.
The Imperial Golden Triangle Resort, will be our home for two nights. This area where Thailand, Burma, and Laos meet is famous for its history of opium production. Here the Mekong River forms the border between Thailand and Laos and Myanmar(Burma) and Laos. With its headwaters in Western China’s Himalaya mountains, it is the largest river in volume in SE Asia. The Mekong is the 12th largest river in the world and is vital to transport of goods and people in the area.
Fried noodles with chicken were our dinner at a riverside restaurant – excellent. We passed many fresh air massage tables during an evening stroll. With temps in the high 90s and humidity to match, that was not the environment for which we were looking. Our air conditioned room seemed a much better choice.
1-Jun Chiang Dao to Sop Ruak (Golden Triangle) Thailand 153 miles
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