15 Sept. 2013 UPDATE: The purple and orange flags were removed from the bridge crossing, so it is now unmarked. To get to the quarry, drive south along Canal Road just past the Hang Dong Golf Club. You will see a sign for Tuang Thong Canyon View Restaurant and that is where you should cross the bridge. With the recent influx of visitors to the quarry, it is, unfortunately, becoming more commercialized. I believe a restaurant is now being built on what was before an open view point area, which has obstructed access to the canyons below.
The unnamed quarry in Naam Phrae, Chiang Mai is the inspiration for my blog name and quite the inspirational place itself.
It all started with a hot July summer night in 2012 at the infamous Warm-Up…
(eh, that sounds more foreboding than it actually is) After a little too much Thai Red Bull in front of the raging electronic dance room, I couldn’t help but rant about how much I cringe at visiting overly-touristed, chokingly crowded, facade-affected national sites. Despite being a “tourist” myself, I’m always seeking the hidden secrets of every town, not to be elitist or anything. It’s funny how all us expats/backpackers/tourists think we’re more in-the-know than the next person, isn’t it? Well, a miracle to my woes, a fellow expat friend pointed me in the direction of the little-known and naturally rugged “quarry” of Chiang Mai. After raving about how this place is so off-the-beaten-path that even many Thais know not of it, I was sold. The next day, I took off to see it with my own eyes.
About 20-minutes south of Old City along Canal Road and across a bridge, a wonderfully aesthetic scene captures the corner of your eye. A seeming illusion, rows of reddish brown cliffs spotted with lush green shrubbery and surrounded by perfectly still water just waiting to be disturbed, unexpectedly emerges before you and you can’t help but gape in a jaw-dropped demeanor at this untouched sight.
Slapping myself out of this hypnotic state, my friend and I then descended upon the cliffs below. Looking over the edge, it’s a dead drop into the black water, which makes for sublime cliff-jumping! I’ve actually never jumped off a cliff before this, so it took a few countdowns and confidence-boosters to make the running leap, and what a frickin high! I took a couple of painful butt-landings, but that’s part of the experience, right? Surprisingly, the water felt like a heated pool, so like Chiang Mai itself, a comfortable assimilation.
That same day, I met this blogger at the quarry who took the dive with me!
My “red mud stain” is very literal, in that when you climb out of the water, pushing yourself up over the edge, the redness of the dirt infuses with your clothes and it does NOT wash out. Skinny dipping, anyone?