Welcome to Chiang Mai, a city north of Bangkok. Honestly I was way too scared to leave my hotel alone in Bangkok so Chiang Mai has been my first and only glimpse of Thailand. I was expecting shacks and run down buildings, no one to speak any English and technology to be few and far between. I’m pretty saddened that wifi is available pretty much everywhere, it’s actually easier to find internet access here than in Australia. The buildings are beautiful, too, with all the roads looking like a standard back street in pretty much any city. It’s so westernised that I don’t even feel like I’m abroad, which is sad. The locals all speak perfect English and are incredibly friendly, which is lovely but I feel so bad and too embarrassed to speak the basic Thai I’ve learnt.
It is a beautiful city, but it’s changing. I would have loved to have visited maybe five years ago. Yesterday we met a lady who told us about an event that only happens once a year where the people of Chiang Mai walk to the temple the night before Big Buddha Day which is today. She encouraged us to go and we were all up for it until her friend said it starts at 6pm and you wouldn’t make it to the temple until 3am. I genuinely feel bad about not going, but I get tired even climbing to the third floor of our hostel so can you even imagine me on a 9 hour hike? Really?
The past two days we’ve spent exploring the old and new town, going to the night markets. Today we are doing a vegetarian cooking class which I’m so excited for because food is life, but to get there we are getting picked up by bike. Yes, bike – I’m scared but excited, the bikes here are insane. They drive like crazy over here and crossing the roads is an experience in itself. Tomorrow we’re heading to the waterpark which looks like Total Wipeout, you know, that TV programme you fantasised about going on as a kid.
On Friday we head to Pai, via van for three hours which will be an experience. We’re staying at a circus school hostel and will be professional clowns in no time.
Watch this space.