A visit to the 2011 Sunflower Festival at Hua Mae Kham

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by johngooding, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    Put this in a separate thread to David's as maybe gets a bit long with too many photo's when all together.
    For me the trip is more about the riding and social experiences than the photographs and I prefer to be a bit less in your face than this fellow:

    A good fast trip to Mae Salong. Roads in generally good condition, although they are resurfacing the 1234 a few Km from MS. All bikes made it through with no problems, but I wish they would not follow the big roller flattening the earth with the water wagon, trying to reduce the grip as much as possible.
    Just one room left at Little Home, and a pleasant walk to Sweet Mae Salong for an excellent club sandwich.

    Always pleasant hosts, and honest good value food.

    Next morning picked up Dave Carrell from the Flower Hill Resort and a scenic ride on great roads to Thoed Thai. Left luggage at Rim Taan Resort, but not able to check in as too early. David and others not around so we set off for the festival. A constant stream of traffic on the way to the festival, but all very friendly.

    Approaching the village area, the Sunflowers became more prolific on the hillsides, a lovely display only seen for these 3 or 4 weeks in the year.
    The usual chaotic parking scenario, not helped by the very steep hillsides, but not too bad for us bikers.

    A short walk following the crowd, led us to the display area, one of the few places where there was a reasonable area of flat ground.

    By the end of the day this little viewing platform, was loaded well above the Max Recommended load as calculated by Thai village engineers.

    We did arrive in time to see some dancing displays, including dancing Llama's, so I post the pics for completeness, apologies that they are taken at a distance, so not so colourful as David's excellent close up pics.


    A few pics of waiting dancers, kids enjoying themselves, and spectators

    Practising for a future display of walking the pole.
    Around midday they announced a lunch break until 3pm, the place was filling up quickly, so we ajourned for lunch and then made our way back toward Thoed Thai and our resort.

    Stopped looking back to take a few pictures of beautiful surrounding countryside.

    Most of the traffic still heading for the festival, but this fellow, sold out and returning for supplies.

    The Rim Taan resort is excellent value at only 400 Baht for a detached cabin, some of them fronting onto the small river.
    While Tukta visited the Hair Salon, Dave and I walked the 1.5km to Khun Sa's old camp, now a museum.

    A pleasant quiet evening in Thoed Thai, with the elephant show audible most of the evening.
    Early morning mist as Dave Carrell, Tukta and I set off for breakfast at Mae Salong. The mist cleared well before we reached Sweet Mae Salong.

    Then return to Chiang Mai, what great riding weather, cool at higher elevations, clear skies. Our prefferred route back from Mae Salong is the usual run through Thaton, past Fang and Chai Prakan on the 107, then turning left on the very enjoyable 1346 to Prao, and home on the 1001. Very little traffic on most of these last 2 roads.
    A great trip, thanks to all who made it enjoyable.

    Few better settings to eat breakfast in.
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  3. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Wow, Nice report and Colourful Photos John! Must have been a Nice Trip. Do You have any more of the Dancing Lamas? Interesting!
  4. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    Thanks Ian,
    Maybe I can find one of them undressing after the dance!
  5. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    A good cheerful report with useful information concerning road conditions, a facet from which I feel posts greatly benefit. One of the very best festivals in which I was able to participate whilst in Thailand.
  6. Jurgen

    Jurgen Moderator

    Good to also see your nice pictures John :)!
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Nice to see your photos & report.
    You guys certainly got the timing right before the lunch break, seeing some of the dances.
    I dawdled, killing time with the visit to Khun Sa's HQs & Wat Kha Kham to catch the offical opening, but that turned out to be a drag this year with never ending speeches & everybody lined up waiting.
    Oh well next year we will get there earlier & on time.
  8. Nicke

    Nicke Active Member

    With pictures like that it could never be to many. This evenings hilight. Thanks !

  9. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    As per Ian's request please see below

  10. s.sathiya

    s.sathiya Active Member

    Great scenery!! must be a great trip!!
  11. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    Fantastic pix John and looks like a great time was had as always. It also looks as though the tribes have upgraded the site since I was there in 2008. Either that or they have moved it to another part of the village.

    When I was there, they danced on a concrete slab with thatched roof viewing benches on 3 sides and a sunflowered hill backdrop. What they have now is much nicer with grass etc. Also, I did not see any dancing Llamas! Perhaps I came on the wrong day of the festival.

    Did they still have the event at 20 22'05.26N 99 28'10.98E (where I saw it) or farther into the village up against the hillside?
  12. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    I am afraid I did not take my GPS, so cannot confirm position relative to your old location. It was high up on the hillside, but below the highest houses. I saw one concreted area that fronted the PuYai Bahn.s house. This was used for parking. From that one then had to walk quite a way down a track to the grass area. My first visit, but maybe David U, could comment on position related to earlier events.

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