Chiang Khong - Khamu New Year - The Tai Lue Lai Kham museum - a CK meander

DavidFL

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Happy New Year 2015 & the traffic mayhem gets a bit to chaotic & dangerous for me nowadays, so time to flee the scene.....Chiang Khong is my favourite town to hang out in.

The ambience beside the Mekong is an absolute winner for me everytime.

Since the bridge has opened downtown has gone somewhat backwards business wise, with few western tourist stopping off in town now.
But I like it the place is quieter & much more chilled out, with some wonderful peaceful locals to enjoy the scene & time with.

I'd forgotten about Khamu New Year, but lucked out with a Khamu new year in CK a few years ago.
And as luck would have it got another one.

Official introductions

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Khamu New Year -2015 Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

Grand Opening

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Khamu New Year 2015 - Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

Lining up for the parade opening

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Khamu New Year 2015 - Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

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Khamu New Year 2015 - Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

The Parade gets underway.....it's basically a couple of laps around the village sports ground, carrying a ceremonial jar of rice whisky.

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Khamu New Year 2015 - Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

The respected leaders & elders lead the way

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Khamu New Year 2015 - Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

Then it time for an official drink of the fresh rice whisky from the harvest just finished.

The whisky jar is placed in front of the village spirit tower.

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Khamu New Year 2015 - Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

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Khamu New Year 2015 - Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

Whisky is poured in from a buffalo horn.

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Khamu New Year 2015 - Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

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Khamu New Year 2015 - Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

Then everyone gets to have a suck from the communal whisky pot.

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Khamu New Year 2015 - Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

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Khamu New Year 2015 - Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

Its a damn long straw

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Khamu New Year 2015 - Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

& you really have to suck hard to get your required quota of moonshine, & you're not allowed to pike out & just have a sip.

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Khamu New Year 2015 - Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

You have have to drink.

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Khamu New Year 2015 - Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

Then the dancing show starts, first on the stage, then on the ground in front of the seated officials.

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Spectators, waiting for their turn to perform

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Mobile Photographers

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Khamu New Year 2015 - Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

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Khamu New Year 2015 - Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

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Khamu New Year 2015 - Huai Kok - Chiang Khong

Star performers

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& the guys retired to the whisky jar.

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more to come...
 
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Jurgen

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Lovable illustrations of a gentle ethnic group. I like these people pictures.

Travellers along the Laos mountain roads, who cross many Khmu villages, will appreciate to see these amiable people in festive activities and colourfully dressed; not a frequent sight.
 

DavidFL

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With a few days in Chiang Khong before & after new year I was able to cruise around checking out a few new developments & the river side coffee shops that are popping up everywhere.

Down by the bridge the new Chinese "Chiang Khong New City"

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development just seems like an expensive exercise in concrete, with nothing really happening.

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Mega bahts are being spent on more river protection embankments

Downtown Chiang Khong at Had Khrai
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How it looks in the "bay" at Wiang Kaen
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7 kms up stream is the new "No name temple" being built on the side of the mountain overlooking the Khong & being built by the famous monk from Wat Analayo in Phayao

Chiang Mai - Nan explorer ride.

Doi Pha Tang - a meander. Chiang Mai - Chiang Kham - Chiang Khong return.

The views from here are breath taking
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It's a very steep first 500 metres climb up, then the concrete levels off a bit
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& it is worth it for the views
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A view of Houei Xai downstream, opposite Chiang Khong.
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R1129 running beside the Mekong
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2.7 kms further upstream from the "no name temple" is The View coffee shop. The hot new popular spot on a hillock with majestic views of the Mekong.
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Return to Chiang Khong & head way downstream 30 kms onto R1155
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& there is the the Panorama Coffee

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& this place definitely does have the best view a stunning 180 view of the Khong up & down stream,
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Panorama Coffee is a fantastic spot to sit & watch the Mekong boats sail on by.

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Make sure you stop & don't sail on by riding R1155 - take a break at Panorama Coffee
 
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DavidFL

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Night time in Chiang Khong I love.

Down on the pier by the town customs office
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A full moon rise over the Mekong

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My fave night time eating place is the Baan Maitri

on the river downstream from the town custom office.
My fave dishes here are the Yam Tuna & Apple with an out of this world flavour - Tuna, apple, chillies

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plus Mekong fish with black pepper.
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The Baan Maitri is sandwiched between 2 other restaurants, the Rim Nam & the Rim Khong?
But I note that the locals say the Maitri has the best Thai food, & indeed the big cops from Chiang Rai came to eat at the Baan Maitri one night while I was there.

For night life in CK there is Rin's Bar for the tourists, which is where I usually start off for a few bevvies, then move on on.
Across the street from Rin's Bar are Chiang Roy




Then the Lomtawan is back in business, run by Top & his mates. A cool bunch of guys & gals.
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Which is were I ended up for my birthday in 2014.
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But the late night adult party spot in town is the Wua Han Sankhampaeng.
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The Wua han has moved a bit further out of town & across the street.
It is now 4.7 kms south of town & 300 kms west of R1020.

For a late night cuppa in CK the Baan Fai may still be open until 9-9.30PM some nights

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Ban Fai Coffee - Chiang Khong

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Baan Fai Coffee - Chiang Khong
 

DavidFL

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The Tai Lue museum - a beautiful new attraction in Chiang Khong.
14 kms south of town on R1020, on the left east side of the road in Sri Dornchai village.
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is a work in progress but worth a visit to learn something about the history of the Tai Lue people & the Chiang Khong area.

The museum
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Lue people in North Thailand
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Lue women are the most beautiful in the region & regularly win more beauty contests than any other ladies.

Originally from Sipsongpanna, you can find them all over Northern Laos, plus in North Thailand - Nan, Phayao, Lampang, Phrae, Chiang Rai & Chiang Mai - Doi Saket (which has an annual Lue festival), Mae Kachan, Samoeng, Sankamphaeng, Mae Ai - Fang, Lamphun - the Yong people.
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The museum is an interesting display on weaving & Lue fabrics
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including some beautiful old pieces

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Only a little bit English info is needed to explain about the pieces on show.

A disappearing heritage these pieces are - what are the chances today of dragging the youth away from their mobile phones to spend hours / days weaving a single piece of cloth to wear.

At the back, "stream side" there is a small shop with items for sale.
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The shop

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If you want to know a bit more about the Tai Lue check out the murals at Wat San Meuang Ma in Chiang Kham

Chiang Mai – Phayao - Chiang Khong – Chiang Rai Return
 
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DavidFL

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With a couple of nights in Houei Xai for New Year also it was interesting to look at some of the Chiang Khong development with a long lens from the other side.

Tammila
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The new Chiang Khong Teakwood Garden monstrosity going up next door to Tammila
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The Nam Khong Riverside hotel
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The deserted old port
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The cargo port

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DavidFL

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The Lue Lai Kham museum in Chiang Khong has had it's grand opening on 13 November 2015, & what a beautiful event that was.

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Lue Lai Kham Chiang Khong - grand opening

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Lue Lai Kham Chiang Khong - grand opening

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Lue Lai Kham Chiang Khong - grand opening

More coming + the missing images from before...
 

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David

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It's an early morning start to the show & grand opening.

Jurgen & I are there at first light as we were told be there early for the monks round.

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& indeed we were early - it was another couple of hours before the monks rocked up.

Then they had to construct the all important spiritual star for the ceremony to follow

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With the star completed it was presentation time

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then the show gets on the road with a tak bat round by the monks, starting from a sala constructed out in the rice paddies.

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The organizers are switched on & even have a drone to capture the event.

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more to come.
 

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DavidFL

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The main ceremony revolves around the star & a blessing from the monks.

Ajarn Suriya & his mother sit in the star

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The museum is important for preserving the history, culture & traditions of the Tai Lue people of Sri Dornchai village Chiang Khong. All the respected senior villagers are present & there are some incredible characters in the crowd.

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Ajarn Meechai Taesujariya, from the biggest weaving textile museum in Ubon

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The ceremony over the senior monk sprinkles holy water around

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coins & sweets are also thrown to the worshippers & the old ladies - strong believers in the ceremony & tradition scrambled for them.

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More gifts are presented to the monks

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The blessing over & the monks are fed, then it's time for breakfast for the worshippers.

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It was only 8am but there was sticky rice + larb sot (raw mince) + beer + whisky.

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Breakfast Lue Lai Kham grand opening

By 9am quite a feel were somewhat sozzled.

More to come..part 2
 

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Jurgen

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As I also participated to this interesting and colorful venue, I am happy to see your great shoots which are nice souvenirs.

We are blessed to have an attractive Mekong region at our doorsteps, not only with the Great River’s relaxing view, but with plenty of interesting ceremonies from ethnic groups who still keep their traditions alive.
 

DavidFL

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The 2nd part of the show took place in the late afternoon & evening with a colourful dancing show & presenattion on Tai Lue culture.

There was a bevvy of beauties on show

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more to come
 

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DavidFL

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The show in the evening was a colourful spectacular with Tai Lue dancing & costumes.

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The Lue Lai Kham Museum is well worth a visit for anyone who is interested in the culture & history of the Tai Lue people in northern Thailand.

The Lue Lai Kham museum has been built up over a decade at the original residence of Ajarn Suriya & has cost 5 million baht so far.

The museum tells the history of the Tai Lue people who originally came from China & have settled in Northern Thailand, Laos, Vietnam & Myanmar.

They came to settle in Sri Dornchai village, south of Chiang Khong during the reign of King Rama V.

Sri Dornchai village has about 2,000 residents but they all share the same surname!

Today there about 200 weavers in Sri Dornchai. The Lue Lai Kham museum helps preserve their weaving skills & history, plus provide an outlet for their beautiful cloth.

The museum ground floor of the museum the historical display of the Tai Lue groups & their migration, whilst the upstairs floor has superb display of Tai Lue costumes & lifestyle.

Check it out sometime if you're interested at all in culture & history.
 

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DavidFL

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Ooops I missed out on some "important" images.

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Late afternoon the show fired up first with fantastic classic Lue "blues" music.

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an old guy playing a flute & and even older super grandma singing with an amazing voice in the Lue - Yong language

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Gradma Lue Blues

Interesting enough for the women they seemed to have to sing behind their fan.

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A younger gal came to sing as well & she also hid behind the fan whilst singing.

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Another smarter guy came up & sang in Lue as well & really got the crowd going.

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& whilst I did not understand the lyrics, there didn't seem to be much doubt the songs were courting flirty songs, going by all the shrieks of laughter erupting

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Eventually there was an official ribbon cutting opening

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Ajarn Suriya was so emotional in the opening he broke down.

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Then he was presented with a 100 year old costume that he once tried to acquire, but was told he could only have it if he finished the museum. & he did. It was then given as a gift in appreciation of his work to preserve the Lue culture of Sri Dornchai & building the museum.
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The grand finale of the night was the fire dance & some spectacular fire breathing..

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& these guys really knew how to light one up.

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An amazing night .
 
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