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A Mother’s Love is Everywhere in Chiang Rai

GUEST BLOG BY MORNING GLORY


May is a month when most countries celebrate Mother’s Day, though not in Thailand. It’s not that we don’t celebrate mothers, but because we have our own Mother’s Day on August 12, which is the Queen of Thailand’s birthday. Since the royal couple are much cherished as the father and mother of all Thai people, then it seems only logical that we celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Days on their birthdays, doesn’t it?

Did you know, there is enormous mother energy everywhere in Chiang Rai! You might notice that the name Mae Fah Luang crops up everywhere – there’s a Mae Fah Luang university, hospital, botanical garden, and foundation, and all are named after the late Princess Mother, who was the mother of the current monarch. The Princess Mother was a trained nurse, a passionate environmentalist. and in the 1960s she started visiting remote hill tribes by helicopter, bringing doctors with her to give medical care to the mountain villagers. This earned her the name Mae Fah Luang, which means Royal Mother from the Sky.

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Srinagarindra, Princess Mother of Thailand” by The Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary – http://www.chiangrai.net/cpwp/?page_id=1424. Licensed under CC BY 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The Princess Mother was especially passionate about flowers and collected pressed flowers which she picked and catalogued herself. She established Mae Fah Luang Garden so that local people who didn’t have a chance to travel overseas could enjoy flowers and get to see temperate flowers from other countries. It‘s filled with hundreds of different types of flowers and is considered the most beautiful garden in Thailand. You can also visit the beautiful Doi Tung Royal Villa, which was her home in Chiang Rai and is now a museum open to the public. She chose to live in Chiang Rai to be close to her royal projects, and it was her first real home of her own in Thailand since she had always lived in official palaces in Bangkok before that.

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 Image source from herehttp://www.indochinaexplorer.com/ 

She was down-to-earth and loved nature, trekking, and plants and flowers, and donated vast amounts of land and initiated the Doi Tung Development Project, which promotes reforestation and the development of crops that help improve the lives and livelihoods of the hill tribe people. When you see the name Doi Tung around Chiang Rai, you’ll know that these products are from royally sponsored projects that are helping the lives of local people. Doi Tung coffee, macadamia nuts and cotton fabrics are wonderful, high quality gifts to take home from Chiang Rai!

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 Image source from herehttp://www.doitung.org/


Want to learn more about Doi Tung Royal Villa and Garden in Chiang Rai? Check out Chiang Rai’s attractions and tours available for our guests here at Museflower Retreat & Spa, Chiang Rai, Thailand? Find out more here.


ABOUT MORNING GLORY

morning glory flowerMorning Glory lives in Bangkok where she takes care of her family and works as a writer and communications consultant.Her past struggles with stress, chronic fatigue and a spine injury led her on a journey in search of alternative healing, and she has travelled around Thailand, Bali, India and Sri Lanka exploring different types of healing retreats and techniques, and led her to practice yoga and Reiki.

Morning is her favorite time of day, when she wakes up to the sound of birds singing in the garden. This flower always reminds her of her childhood, and Thai sautéed “Red Fire Morning Glory” is one of her favorite vegetarian dishes!


The Museflower Project


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Three Friends’ Visit and Review of Museflower Retreat and Spa

GUEST BLOG BY Ophélie, Chloé and MariE


We are three friends from Paris who enjoy personal development, meditation, yoga, treats for the body and the mind and a healthy lifestyle. We had the chance to spend 3 amazing days at Museflower Retreat and Spa during our last trip to Thailand in March 2015. We are sharing a little bit of our experience with you with the hope that you’ll want to go and enjoy this experience as well!

Ophélie, Chloé and Marie.

***

DAY 1 (Ophélie)

I can feel it as I come by the entrance, my body and my mind are already relaxing. The welcome of Tania and her team is so warm and so kind that we feel like home. The Spa centre is surrounded by nature and its sounds, everything is so quiet.

Since we arrived under a grey sky and my body is a bit sore for the past stressful weeks, I suggest we enjoy the steam room to start our weekend in this amazing place. And what is so cool with the Museflower team is that whatever you ask, you can be sure you won’t get a no or a “it’s not possible”. As it takes time (around 20 minutes) to get the steam room warm enough, we do a tour of the place. And what a place! I’m so happy to be only the three of us to enjoy this perfect location.

The steam room is perfect to relieve your body from painful and sore muscles. You store your clothes in a changing room and get a sarong (you can choose to have or not a swimsuit underneath). The spa is built in the middle of the center, shielded from the rest of the park. The steam seems first to not work well (not warm enough and the plant-scent was insufficient) but the team rectifies it really quickly.

The Himalayan salt treated swimming pool helped me to relax deeply and to get definitely away from work and daily life preoccupations. I deeply feel connected here to nature and myself, and for the first time in months I know my night will be long enough to get me rested.

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Museflower is a perfect place to enjoy a “me-time”, be centred and have room in your day to do nothing else than be.

Ophélie @ophelia_af

***

DAY 2 (Chloé)

In the morning, I woke up rested and calm. I sit on the terrace of our little bungalow and enjoy a cup of hot organic tea. The birds are chipping. I don’t remember the last time I heard the sounds of nature. I stay there, looking at the horizon, watching the sun rising.

After a wonderful breakfast (I didn’t know kefir milk could be so good), I decide to go for a walk. I have the feeling that nature is calling me. I try to walk mindfully and pay attention to the earth under my feet. It is still humid from the rain. I take a long inhalation and smell the trees, I sit near a pond. The water is still and so is my mind. This landscape is breath-taking and I feel grateful.

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I come back to Museflower in a different state of mind. I feel relived in this place, mindful, open. I savour a delicious lunch that fills me with joy and pick up a book about Reiki from the library. Tonight I have an introduction to this spiritual practice also known as a traditional medicine.

At 18.00, Tania welcomes us in the meditation room. The sun is going down. We sat on the floor and she tells us about the practice, but not for long. To understand it, we have to practice. My friend lies in front of me and I put my hands on her. I let my intuition guide me and invite the energy of nature to come through my hands. I try to channel this energy to her. I don’t know if I’m doing it properly but it doesn’t really matter. I can feel the warmth under my arms. Tania tells us that anyone can practice Reiki, no matter their age. I find this amazing and decide to use it at home if a member of my family or if my partner feels sick, tired or low in energy.

I come back to my room and decide to go to bed even though I am not tired. I rest and decide not to take my book but to listen and stay alert for a few minutes. Doing nothing, it is difficult but relieving as well. I end up falling asleep. This was such a wonderful day…

Chloé @chloe_chambraud

*** 

DAY 3 (Marie)

On the third day we went for a cycling tour in the beautiful surroundings of Museflower at sunset. Thanks to our two Museflower local guides, we had the chance to cycle on hidden paths and even stopped to look at the sun setting on the lake, whilst migrating birds were just arriving for migration. It felt a little bit like heaven on earth.

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We also had the chance to visit the local village and the cultures of tapioca, and to visit the New Life Foundation that aims to help drug addicts recover from addictions through the practice of meditation and yoga and to talk with some of the members.

I am a big fan of nature and for me it is important to have a daily contact with it. And Museflower was a perfect place to enjoy the beauty of nature in a beautiful, nature-friendly setting before going back my urban lifestyle in Europe. This caring and loving relationship to local nature infused in the food itself as the Museflower chef Santot cooked for us delicious vegan meals everyday with fresh products sourced locally. We could enjoy the benefits of nature in our minds and bodies. And even after returning to Europe, I can still feel the benefits of this trip in my mind and body as I am feeling calmer and healthier in my body and my mind.

Marie @ma_james

Photos of Our Visit: (by Ophélie, Chloé , and Marie)

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4.marie-james-museflower-review-bicycle-tour-outside

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6.marie-james-museflower-review-sala-outside-of-restaurant

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Want to learn more about Museflower Retreat & Spa in Chiang Rai, Thailand and the Museflower Experience? Check out our official website here at: http://www.musefloweretreat.com/


The Museflower Project


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Splash into Songkran, the Thai New Year

GUEST BLOG BY MORNING GLORY


It’s cool spring now in northern countries, but April is the height of Thailand’s scorching hot season. This means the timing is perfect for the Thai New Year Songkran water festival but there’s a strong cultural significance underlying all the fun.

Water is a symbol of cleansing, so splashing each other signifies the washing away the misfortunes or bad luck of the old year and a fresh start for the New Year.

water on buddha statue songkran

Songkran was originally celebrated in the north, and is believed to have been brought over by the Burmese, who adapted it from the Indian Holi festival. It spread across the country in the mid-twentieth century and is now celebrated nationwide as well as in Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos.

Derived from Sanskrit, Songkran means “to pass into” – referring to the movement of the sun, moon and planets into a new phase, and therefore the start of a new year. It’s a time of renewal, reunion, and paying respects for Thai people.

Dating back to ancient times, the Songkran festival was celebrated both in the royal court and general public, but were much more solemn compared to today’s water parties. Civil servants and government officials paid homage to the king and drank the oath of allegiance, while the king gave out the annual salary to all government officials. The ritual included the bathing of the Buddha image, the formation of sand pagodas and entertainment, which continued into modern times and grew into the public street parties we enjoy today.

For Thais, this the time when Buddha images are cleansed with scented water to bring prosperity for the New Year. The water used to clean the images is considered holy and is usually collected, then sprinkled on elders to bring them good luck. Most Thais spend the holidays with family as Songkran is the time for family re-unions, visits to the temple and annual house cleaning.

Cities around Thailand close some streets to host wet and wild street parties and Chiang Rai is no exception! If you’re in Chiang Rai during Songkran, head into town where you can see ancient traditions alive and flourishing – early morning offerings to the monks, robe changing ceremonies for Buddha images, parades, games and sports, beauty contests, music and entertainment, in a lively display of northern culture.


Want to learn more about Thai culture and what Chiang Rai offers? Check out Chiang Rai’s attractions and tours available for our guests here at Museflower Retreat & Spa, Chiang Rai, Thailand? Find out more here.


ABOUT MORNING GLORY

morning glory flowerMorning Glory lives in Bangkok where she takes care of her family and works as a writer and communications consultant.Her past struggles with stress, chronic fatigue and a spine injury led her on a journey in search of alternative healing, and she has travelled around Thailand, Bali, India and Sri Lanka exploring different types of healing retreats and techniques, and led her to practice yoga and Reiki.

Morning is her favorite time of day, when she wakes up to the sound of birds singing in the garden. This flower always reminds her of her childhood, and Thai sautéed “Red Fire Morning Glory” is one of her favorite vegetarian dishes!


The Museflower Project


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What to Eat in Chiang Rai: Yummy dessert by the street at Night Bazaar

Yummy Dessert at Night Bazaar

I have seen this booth for quite some time whenever I pass by the night bazaar inside Chiang Rai town, and there are always customers.

dessert_buoloi_stall_night_bazaarDessert stall at night bazaar entrance selling “buoloi”

I couldn’t read what exactly it sold (the menu is in Thai), so luckily the day I decided to try it out, I was with my Thai friends and they explained that it was “buo loi” (small tapioca balls) boiled in coconut milk.

You can order it along with coconut ice cream, just coconut milk and coconut meat, salted egg, or this pink thin jelly that I have no idea what it is (not really have taste but just gives a chewy texture I presume).

I ordered the one with coconut ice cream and my boyfriend got the one with salted egg. The owner of this dessert stall took an empty coconut shell that was halved, placed the “buo loi”, coconut milk, sugar, roasted sesame seeds and 2 small scoops of coconut ice cream, all for about 25 Baht.

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Condiments to place together with the buoloi

 

The result? Heavenly!

The tapioca balls were chewy, the whole thing was sweet but not overly sweet like some Thai desserts, and the aroma of the roasted sesame seeds added on everything and completed the dish.

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Absolutely yummy buoloi in coconut milk, coconut ice cream, jelly, and roasted sesame seeds served in a halved coconut shell

 

I would highly recommend anyone who loved to try out some Thai dessert. Stop by the dessert stall when you hit the Night Bazaar, it’s just by the main entrance, such a strategically convenient location – meaning you can stroll along the Night bazaar and eat this at the same time too.

PS: Obviously this stall is very popular, you’ll see pictures of important and famous people with the owner.


 

Below is just a ranking of this place in my humble opinion and for the sake of comparison with other entries of places to eat later. If it’s not good I wouldn’t post it at the first place:

Taste: **** (4 out of 5)

Value: ***** (5 out of 5)

Ambiance: *** (3 out of 5)

Cleanliness: *** (3 out of 5)

Service: *** (3 out of 5)

English speaking: not so sure, menu is completely in Thai but luckily there are pictures, so you can point to the person who takes order for you.


Want to learn more about what’s there to do in Chiang Rai and Museflower Retreat & Spa? Visit our official website here.

 
The Museflower Project

 


 

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Discover Chiang Rai: Mon Fah Farm & Sacha Inchi Seed

“So where are all the good places to visit in Chiang Rai?” asked the traveler. 

Welcome to my first travel post on the Museflower Project blog!

Here I want to share what’s there to discover in Chiang Rai – this little city (though huge province) up in the north of Thailand. Most people know about Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Samui or Phuket, but poor “little” Chiang Rai seems to be off the radar.

I met a traveler the other day in Chiang Rai. He told me that he didn’t really like it here. He asked me what’s there to see, because all he could see is bar girls (in the only one street in town) giving happy endings to customers and drunk foreigners. I told him that from what I knew, there were only two streets like that in Chiang Rai, that were for tourists only. 

‘Oh then maybe that’s where I am staying, because that’s why that’s all I see’, said the traveler.

Uh-oh! But Chiang Rai is such a beautiful place to visit.

“So where are all the good places to visit in Chiang Rai?” asked the traveler. 

Chiang Rai definitely is not a typical tourist attraction because there are only so few touristy spots for photos, and it’s boring for most people who only like to take pictures and move on to the next spot.

But if you like to take a break from the city and come enjoy the countryside, Chiang Rai does have something to offer, like discovering new gems inside a cave. 

So, through this blog, I hope to post and share with everyone the ‘more fun’ places to visit in Chiang Rai. I am still a half-tourist here, so this is where I’ll put on my travel hat. I’d only write about places that I personally have been to (no commission whatsoever), and will be truly honest of my own personal experience there – knowing that everyone experiences differently.

Please bear in mind that my opinion and my experience may not be the same as what you may experience. I’m not a licensed tour guide, just someone who enjoys traveling and discovering new places. 

Hope you enjoy this half-tourist guide of Chiang Rai and Thailand! 

PS: Thank you to this traveler who eventually gave me this idea to write the travel blog (he is a real person, not an imaginary friend)


Mon Fah Organic Farm

(since there is no English spelling, I tried my best to translate the sound)

Location: Nanglae Nai Village, Nanglae Sub-District,  Muang District, Chiang Rai

It’s a journey itself to discover this beautiful farm, inside of Nanglae Nai, a small village off the Highway road on the way to Mae Sai (Phaholyotin Road) around the Nanglae District.

I was getting crazy (pretty much on a daily basis), and bought 5 books that I could not even read (!!!) on decorating with plants and gardens. All I could enjoy was the beautiful pictures for inspiration, and one could hope that my boyfriend would translate for me one day.

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Out of one of the books, my boyfriend saw this farm located in Chiang Rai, not too far from where he lives, so he suggested to take a visit.

We arrived on a Sunday, and at first we didn’t see anyone except a beautiful landscape that resembled a boutique resort.

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Then the owner appeared and came to greet to us like an old friend. The owner Mr. Wichai (or ‘arjan‘ means teacher in Thai) explained that all the workers were off on Sunday, so he brought us to this sitting and meeting area that was built on the lake.

We explained that we’d like to know more about organic farms in Chiang Rai, so Arjan shared with us his journey of how he used to an early-retiring professor from Bangkok, to an organic farmer at Chiang Rai for 15 years.

Arjan Wichai said he wanted “chivit thammada” (a normal life). The life in Bangkok had become abnormal. He was a professor in physical, and he wanted to plant and introduce a new super health food that was unique to Thailand.

That’s how he discovered Sacha Inchi seed (Thai people call it the “star nut” – such a cute name), and he brought the seeds over to produce different kind of products out of this super food.

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Sacha Inchi seed is from Peruvian Amazon originally. The seed is known as the Inca Peanut.

This small nut produces a high quality oil which has the following benefits:
– Its oil is high in Omega 3,6,9
– Antioxidant
– Contains vitamin A and E

It can be taken internally in the form of nut or oil, or externally as cosmetic products, such as massage oil or soap.

For more information about the Sacha Inchi seed, see here: http://www.inkanatural.com/en/sachainchi/sacha_inchi_oil.html
(the website of this farm is not available)

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We bought a small bottle of oil, a massage candle, a bar of soap, and some snacks with the nut. 

I still haven’t tried out the oil yet- when I do I will share how it is!

Unfortunately we didn’t get to look at the farm yet since it ended up raining and really windy.

But Arjan Wichai gave us 2 seeds for us to plant as souvenirs, thank you so much!

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We will definitely go back to visit again, and maybe we will end up selling their products here at Museflower Retreat & Spa too (love discovering and sourcing local products and sharing it with our guests here), who knows?

I loved how serene the place felt, with the small reservoir in the middle, and the traditional bamboo bridge on top of it.

Arjan Wichai offers the meeting room (which is above the lake) complimentary for anyone who is interested to use. We can bring our own food (they do not serve food at the farm) but strictly no alcohol.

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He emphasized that serenity and the peaceful atmosphere at the farm should be kept at all times.That is the reason why he doesn’t want to promote or advertise his farm as a tourist attraction.

Everyone is welcome to visit his beautiful farm, as long as we enter with an open heart and respect to nature.

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Arjan Wichai is very hospitable and can speak some English. He is happy to share his knowledge about the Sacha Inchi seed products.

I prefer to share the location privately if anyone is interested to visit, in order to keep Arjan Wichai’s wishes to maintain the serenity of his farm.

I’m so thankful and amazed by how the Universe paves out new journeys and adventures for us to discover. If I never bought the books, then I would have never (or at least not now) discovered Mon Fah Farm, met Arjan Wichai, and got to know about Sacha Inchi Seed (which I never heard of before). 

Another example of saying ‘yes’ and following intuition in life, and what new adventure it leads us to. 

Thank you Universe and Arjan Wichai for the hospitable welcome!


Want to learn more about what’s there to do in Chiang Rai and  at Museflower Retreat & Spa? Visit our official website here.

The Museflower Project


 

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