Obscure and Alternative Weekend

One of three national parks near Chiang Mai, Doi Khun Tan is relatively unknown, receiving about 10,000 visitors annually. (In contrast, the Vatican hosts about 20,000 guests daily.) While unspectacular, it does boast the longest of Thailand’s railroad tunnels and views of the mountains of both Lamphun and Lampang, as it bisects the provinces.

Despite receiving fewer than 30 tourists per day (or due to), the trails were well-maintained, the facilities, while sparse, were clean and supplied, and the employees were friendly and welcoming. The signage to the entrance, as well as throughout the park, was more than adequate. It made for an enjoyable day trip.

Along the way, we got to watch lines get painted on the roadway. In addition, Jen got to use a self-serve pump… sorta. She was directed to go to a secluded motorbike island hidden behind a wall, away from the car pumps. She put her money into the pump, vending machine style, then an attendant came along and pumped the gas.

gold-buddha

We also passed an enormous gold monk, Kruba Srivichai, at Wat Doi Te in Lamphun. The statue is almost 70 feet tall. If it were in a standing position, it could go head-to-head with the statue of Murugan. There was a small but rather underutilized market at the wat. We got lots of smiles and laughs as we were the only farang shoppers.

mdc

I also attended my first oi/punk show in Thailand. MDC played the latest rendition of “Born to Die” as well as a few classics including “John Wayne Was a Nazi” and “Dick for Brains”. None of the foreigners I spoke with were actually familiar with MDC but a few of the Thai punks sang along with Dave. Dictor looked all of his 61 years but rocked the stage… errr, floor. It almost brought a tear to my eye when one of the skinhead bands covered Cock Sparrer’s “England Belong to Me” and all the skinheads knew the lyrics. I was a little disappointed that only a few knew Agnostic Front’s “Crucified”… maybe because it doesn’t mention fighting for the red, white, and blue. In any case, I’m thrilled to be able to attend live music performances and look forward to more.

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