Saturday, 12 May 2012

Day 50 - Great times in the incredible city of Chiang Mai (Thailand)

After originally planning on staying only one night in Chiang Mai, we realised we were enjoying the city way too much to leave and ended up staying for four. Although we didn't do any of the organised jungle trecking, elephant related activites, or other such things that people flock to Chiang Mai to do, we had a fantastic time exploring the city and its surrounds. Doi Suthep Temple on the mountains overlooking the city was incredible; lots and lots of shiny gold. One does get somewhat exhausted of temples in this part of the world, so choosing the ones to go and see becomes important. And it's a very interesting city, the old town surrounded by a wall and a moat, with remnants of colonial style buildings all over the place. There are plenty of tourists around, and yet it is a city full of Thai people and the things that make them interesting, such as entire street of harware stores. I'm not generally into hardware stores but when they sell 50 year old appliances, ponchos and guitars it's a completely different story.

But the thing about Chiang Mai that kept us there for three extra days was the other travellers that we met at our hostel. It's easy for us because we have a car to miss out on this aspect of travelling; we often stay at very cheap hotels in cities we've never heard of where they've never encountered a tourist. Although this is an interesting part of our trip, it is nice to revive our social skills every now and then. We took a drive to Teung Thao lake yesterday, and on the way out bumped into the various people that we'd met while we were there. We ended up leading a ten-person, two-scooter and Trevor convoy, with our first ever passengers in the car, out to this beautiful lake where we spent the afternoon sitting on a bamboo shack over the water.

It was actually quite sad to leave our new friends, but we all parted ways yesterday and we made our way south towards Bangkok. We spent the night in the unknown town of Phitsanulok, about 400km north of Bangkok.

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