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Doi Nang Norn

In Chiangrai there is an unusual mountain formation that can be seen on the drive from the city to Mae Chan. This mountain is called Doi Naang Norn. There are several legends about how this mountain came to be. The most often related is about a woman who was searching for her lost husband. When she finally walked until she could walk no more, she lay down and tired and exhausted, she died of despair. After that there was a great miracle -- the earth and rocks rose up and developed the shape of this woman asleep with her face looking up to the sky. Her great search had come to an end. She had become a part of a sanctuary providing shelter to countless other travellers in this world.

But before we get into all the outstanding spots to see in this particular area, it would be helpful to readers if we explained all the terms and meanings of the place names described in this article. A Thai language lesson in a nutshell for those interested. Doi is the northern word for mountain. Naang Norn means woman sleeping. Tum means cave. Naam is the word for water be it drinking water or in this article as part of a proper name referring to the lake. Naam Toke means waterfall. Naga is a mythological snake seen in architectural embellishments in every wat or temple in Thailand.

Visitors to Doi Naang - Norn can see Tum Luang and Khun Naam Naang Norn. Tum Luang covers an area of about 20,000 square meters and it is surrounded by Doi Naang - Norn. The length of the cave measures to more than seven kilometers. Inside the cave is a sparkling cool stream, unusual pieces of stones and awesome stalactites creating an amazing beauty that will take your breath away. It is tempting to touch every object in the cave but please preserve the interior ecological balance by looking with your eyes only.

Other than Tum Luang other smaller but fascinating caves to explore are Tum Phra, Tum Liang Pha, Tum Multiga Thaewee, Tum Sai Thong and Thum Phraya Nark.

Tum Phra is a small cave of interest. Inside one can see a Buddha image built by the villagers for worship. Because of the peaceful image, a monk often resides in the cave to pursue his meditation and to counsel visiting laymen on various topics.

The consistent moisture content inside Tum Liang Pae makes a suitable habitat for small animals. The animals seen here are chamois being small goatlike antelope native to this part of the world. A soft leather is produced from the chamois skin known as shammy or chammy. Tum Liang Pae means a cave where goats live.

Tum Multiga Thaewee is filled with masses of magnificent stalactites. Over the years an image has been formed resembling a Naga, a cosmic serpent associated with water elements. The Naga inside the cave is a benevolent omen considering the significance of water symbols in Thai culture. The cave where the Naga formation can be seen is called Tum Phraya Nark.

Coming to an area of about 40,000 square meters is a lake of water known as Khun Naam Naang Norn. Around the lake is fertile soil, and a beautiful very wide stream meandering off into the distance. Another phenomenon at this sight is water seeping out from the stones resembling the hair bun of the sleeping lady.

Next to explore is the Tum Sai Thong cave or translating in English the golden sand cave. Tum Sai Thong is a medium size cave however the depth and beautiful stalactites easily equals those of the fascinating Tum Luang previously mentioned at the beginning of the article.

By comparing the wild natural beauty of Doi Naang Norn to the attractions of a beautiful woman, it's no surprise the telling of this ancient legend still persists among the romantic local Chiangrai people. How about pending a day exploring this marvel of nature for yourself on your forthcoming visit to Chiangrai.

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