My friend and guide was released from the hospital after days of monitoring a punctured lung. We are so glad to have him back on his feet.

After yesterday’s visit to the old temple, I learned it is between 300-400 years old and part of the old Langchiang Province, formerly known as “1 million elephants province” because that’s how many elephants lived in the region, both in the wild and those domesticated for work.

Did you know this area offers a 3.6km walking and cycling boardwalk along the river all the way to the rapids? It’s is beautifully done and well maintained, cordoned in half down the center for walkers on one side and cyclists and motorcyclists on the other. There are some beaches below to explore and play in the edges of the water but note the river has a fierce current and should be respected. Views are breathtaking the entire length of the boardwalk and the river’s energy is all quiet power, peace and tranquility.


The boardwalk runs through a town called Khaeng Knut Ki which has touristy shops of clothes, food, and souvenirs. Here I learned about the rain tree, which are prolific, water-loving, massive umbrella-shaped trees with a typical canopy spanning 40-60 feet or more.

Rain Tree

When looking across the river from the boardwalk, you are looking at Laos. The two countries see much exchange between its people along the river and it’s not uncommon to see pickup trucks full of people and goods returning to Laos as they often come to Thailand to shop for goods that aren’t available locally.

From the bend in the river hosting the only rapids for miles, you can see a statuesque temple at the foot of the mountain and the foothills of the Himalayas all around. This week the jungle fires on the mountain have created a ghostly tone across the landscape as the smoke dampens the usual vibrant greens to soft black and white tones as if they were nestled in fog.

Celebrating many years of friendship, health, and gratitude for nature

I’ve been thinking recently about how seldom we share a positive thought or compliment to a friend, loved one, or stranger and made my own commitment to vocalize compliments more often*. The Universe had my back by having me cross paths with a beautiful Thai woman in a stunning red dress walking toward me. Drawn to one another like magnets, there we were, two women holding arms, with identical thoughts, and saying simultaneously, “You are beautiful“ in our own languages. We didn’t need to understand the other’s language to know the intent. The loving energy of appreciation, respect, courage, and “I see you” said it all. This was a magical moment I will never forget.

Lead with your energy, friends. It conveys far more than you realize.

Today, I also got to explore the covered open air “Market” where locals buy all their fresh food from produce and freshly cooked rice to meat and fish. What an experience that is! Exotic vegetables, small fish tucked into tiny to-go steamer baskets ready to put on the open fire at home, hogs heads, whole fishes and chickens, desserts, meals to-go tied up in plastic bags, dry noodles, some breads (not a big staple here), coconut of all forms, and traditional butcher cuts of meat. We picked up a delicious custard dessert and some sticky rice for dinner.

Fish to-go in steamer baskets
The Market

The rainy season runs mid-May to early October and is very hot (100°+). Some call it oppressive; I call it living my best life because I’m a tropical island paradise kind of gal. If this isn’t your idea of a good time, plan your trip to Thailand between December and February for the best weather. I arrived on March 23rd and it has been 102°+ and humid every day.

The rice paddy here at the farm had me curious so here’s what I learned today:

Rice is planted in June, harvested in August or September, and sown in two ways: either broadcasting seed evenly by hand or by punching a stick into the mud and dropping a rice seed into the hole. Long grain rice is often started as seedlings.

Then the paddy is flooded with a small amount of water and left until harvest. Rice must be milled to remove the husk before being stored and used. This process takes about an hour for a year’s supply.

White and brown rice both start as brown rice. The brown coating is polished off to make white rice. The part that is polished off is called rice bran. The bran and broken rice bits are nutritious feed for poultry and pigs. Nothing goes to waste.

Thailand prefers jasmine and sticky rice types. Sushi rice is not the same as sticky rice. It has a shorter grain. Soak sticky rice overnight before cooking.

Speaking of food and crops, here is the banana follow up requested by many of you:

Did you know…

✅ you can put banana leaves in the sunshine or a steamer to soften more if needed for wrapping food?

✅it takes a year to grow a banana tree and one tree produces only one crop of bananas, averaging about 100 bananas per tree? Each tree will produce 10-12 suckers, or new tree shoots, by harvest time so it perpetually regenerates itself. Because no family can eat 100 bananas at once they are often given away or dried whole or halved. This is done in larger portions rather than slices because they taste better.

✅Drying is used for mangoes as well because the whole tree ripens at once

The favorite holiday here is “Song kran”, the annual Water Festival held from April 13-15. The entire country shuts down and goes “home” (usually to the countryside). This used to be called the Thai New Year and was based on the lunar calendar but now the new year is celebrated on January 1.

While the Water Festival is a religious holiday, it’s essentially a three day water fight in the street with anyone and everyone you encounter. When not playing, they go to temple and offer flower-infused water to Buddha then to elders at home. This symbolizes washing away old things to start the new year.

We celebrated Dtaw’s health and good fortune with family dinner at the house, cooked over an open fire. One thing I love about Thai food is that there are many finger food dishes that we get to eat with our hands. It feels so primal and natural, nothing between you and your nourishment.

The menu:

Fire-roasted chicken, sticky rice,

tapioca sausage balls (I’ll add a recipe page when I return home), and dessert of sweet sticky rice dyed with purple flowers with a tiny omelette on top and served wrapped in banana leaf.

From left to right: basket holds sticky rice, keeping it warm and fresh. Lettuce, used with rice for picking up food, and tapioca sausage balls. Note banana leaf decor on meat plate. Dish of tamarind sauce for dipping. Custard square made from mung bean. Banana-leaf-wrapped sticky rice dessert
Traditional way of cooking meat. Note the chopstick-type wood handles for turning meat. They act like clothespins and handles

Over dinner, Dtaw’s son explained that he missed a family funeral and it is tradition that a male family member become a monk to show respect for the deceased. He shaved his head and eyebrows and spent two weeks at temple working among the monks.

New words:

💗Saeb – delicious

💗Alay- delicious

💗Pohdée- just right (used often when finishing a meal to say you’ve had enough)

💗Sú-ay- beautiful


I said your hair looked amazing but what I really wanted to say was…

“Your energy sparks a little bit of something in mine, your smile warms my heart, and when you laugh, I just have to laugh too, it’s like a bubbling stream of fresh water running through my soul.

I feel like the sun is shining on me when you’re near

and when I leave you, sad as it is, I feel like I’ve been charged, plugged into the mains for an infusion of fizz and life.”

But I said, “I love your shoes”, instead.

I hope you heard, what I really meant

Donna Ashworth

From ‘I wish I knew’



Art uploaded by Lauren Parish (original artist unknown) #poetry #art #fineart #friendship #shoes #womensupportingwomen #friends #women #quotes #sisterhood #tribe #bestfriends

2 responses to “Chiangkhan Culture – 3/27/23”

  1. Diane Hills Avatar
    Diane Hills

    Once again, Wen, I feel like I am right beside you as you narrate. You engage the reader with so much of yourself and descriptive details. Thank you for putting so much time into these posts, I truly enjoy them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wen Avatar

      Thanks so much for your encouragement. I always appreciate your wisdom!


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