Our journey through Lan Na, the ‘Kingdom of a Million Rice Fields’, begins in the historically rich city of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.
Built in the 14th century, Wat Phra Singh is situated in the historic centre of the city and is one of Chiang Mai’s most important religious sanctuaries. Apart from its wealth of historic architecture, the city is also well known for its popular arts and crafts, especially its colorful cotton and silk umbrellas.
The cultivation of rice has been known in Eastern Asia since 3,500 B.C. Even though the majority of Thai rice farmers are poor, their work is much respected. Work in the paddy fields is hard and the daily life of the rice farmers are influenced by the seasons and particularly the weather. Even today, water buffalo are frequently seen pulling the traditional water wheels that assist in the irrigation of the land.
Mae Hong Son is a notorious town, as it is situated close to the infamous Golden Triangle, one of the largest opium producing areas in the world. On the shores of the town’s small lake are several beautiful sanctuaries, such as the Mon temple of Wat Klang, built according to traditional Burmese design.
Those who venture out onto the dark streets of Mae Hong Son early in the morning can witness the daily life of this colorful community. The large amount of local produce and specialties is not only fascinating but also quite tempting and a feast for the eye as well as the soul!
The impressive cultural diversity of the mountain people and the beauty of nature make a journey through the former kingdom of Lan Na a truly unforgettable experience.