Chiang Mai take 2

Chiang Mai, Pai, south east asia, Thailand, Travel, trip

20171022_160629.jpg

I went back to Chiang Mai for a quick trip. It was only a week but I’m glad I went back. I got to do things I hadn’t done before and really just had a better feel for the area overall.

I drove up to Doi Suthep which for whatever reason I never bothered to see the first time. The stairs to get to the very top destroyed me way more than I thought they would.  While driving up to the temple I tried to see a waterfall too but it was closed because of flooding.

20171023_142557

20171023_151656.jpg

20171023_15275520171023_152335.jpg20171023_151621

20171023_152120

I went to Pai for a couple days too. Which I finally got to see Lot cave. However like I mentioned earlier the cave was partially closed. I wrote about that trip here.

I was there during an interesting time though. The king of Thailand happens to be a very big deal. I was there for the week/day of his cremation. Not much was different except for the fact that nearly everyone was wearing black.

I also ate at a lot more places and did more exploring on a bike. Also was able to see the local university there. Are all college campuses the same world over?

20171027_200903

look at all of them

After this I flew to Malaysia and Singapore! Much more exciting I think.

Advertisements

The Life and Times in Pai

Pai, Thailand, Travel, trip

20170920_132715After Chiang Mai I went up to a little place called Pai. It’s not exactly off the beaten track but it still is a nice place to go see. Some people have gotten totally stuck there and it isn’t that hard to see why.

pailocation

Pai is a 3 hour roller coaster of a ride by bus from Chiang Mai. The ride is very windy and the drivers are equally as twisted. However it’s survivable and you know they are thinking about your safety as they go into the wrong lane doing 60 around a corner. I was told the trip used to be 2 hours but since there were too many accidents the drivers were told to slow down. So now we have a 3 hour ride, much safer!

20170917_13472620170919_140704

Pai itself is basically a small hippy town. It is really relaxed, things move slowly here. There are more tourists with dreads here than there are roads.

paimap.jpg

Pai was once a quiet market village inhabited by Shan people (ethnic Tai) whose culture is influenced by Burma. Today, Pai primarily thrives on tourism. Well-known among backpackers for its relaxed atmosphere, the town is full of cheap guesthouses, souvenir shops, and restaurants. In the environs of the town are spas and elephant camps. sauce

|The real magic of Pai is whats outside of it.

There is not a whole lot to do in town except walk around and check out the random markets that pop up during the day or the night market that’s always around. Or you could check out one of the many cafes around if that is your thing.

20171024_21051420171024_170545

However, being what it is, Pai is very relaxed. Time moves very slow and the people are all relatively nice. It is an easy place to just do nothing for a few days. Which is great because I got sick and was glued to the room for the better part of 3 days.

The real magic of Pai is what is outside of it. Jump on a bike and just drive.

20171025_12561520170920_161606

The countryside is extremely pretty and peaceful. There is just a lot to see. Fortunately, I had all the time in the world to see it. There are a number of waterfalls in the area and since they are free, they are all worth seeing. There is a viewpoint that goes through china town that is also worth seeing too. The road up is a pretty narrow one that winds its way up through an intimate small town on a hill.

20170920_12350020170920_124548There are also a few hotsprings but they charge for them which is lame so they’re avoidable. The coolest place was probably Lot cave. At least the travel to the cave was sweet. It was about an hour long. The road went through the mountains and got pretty windy. The drive was actually really fun and scenic too.

20170919_160036

20170919_151308

Unfortunately, the cave was partially closed due to rain. There are like 3 caves total but 2 of them were closed because the water basically floods them. Because of this I could only see one of them. The best part was jumping on a bamboo raft and being pushed to the other side of a pool. The cave itself was massive. Like very huge, it was crazy how much space was there.

20171025_13333620171025_133024

On the way back from the cave my bike got a flat tire! So I had to spend what seemed like a helpless time trying to flag down trucks to pick me up. Luckily one did and they helped me load the bike on the back and drove to town. They also stopped by a shop and in a few quick minutes it was back to normal. So mystery thanks to those people who helped me out. I have no idea how I would have gotten down without them.  ♡

20171025_16130620171025_164258

There are not many places I have found with the same atmosphere as Pai. It is a great place to get stuck in, and many have.

September – Thailand Stop 1/Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, Thailand, Travel, trip

If you want some recent updates about where I have been inbetween blog posts, please check out my FindPenguins page! Links at the bottom of the post.^^

20170913_102532

I’m on my way to Thailand! I was a little unsure how my trip was going when I was on my way to Bangkok.

I didn’t spend very long there. After taking a day to relax, I then promptly go out of there and went up north to Chiang Mai.

mapy.jpg

[Chiang Mai] the largest city in northern Thailand. It is the capital of Chiang Mai Province and was a former capital of the kingdom of Lan Na (1296–1768), which became the Kingdom of Chiang Mai, a tributary state of Thailand from 1774 to 1899, and finally the seat of a merely ceremonial prince until 1939. It is 700 km (435 mi) north of Bangkok and is situated amongst the highest mountains in the country. Source

I’ve been following the usual track for backpackers visiting Thailand. The only difference really is where on the route you start and the order you go in.

I started by going north to Chiang Mai headed upwards. Then I plan to head down south and visit the islands. I’ve met plenty of people who did the islands first then went up north. So, I’m doing the north to south route with Chiang Mai as my first stop. Yay!

20170914_112953

20170912_183751

Every shirt is the exact same….actually, everything is the same

Chiang Mai as a place is fairly decent. I was pretty surprised the amount of infrastructure in the city. I haven’t explore everything but it has become one of my most traveled areas.

Chiang Mai has a tourist feel for the most part. Can you get away fromthat? sure, but it can be unavoidable in some areas. The city is a lot smaller then Bangkok, which is no surprise. Most of the buildings are only a couple stories tall. The tallest places by far are the hotels which tower above pretty much everything else. I’m not sure how to exactly explain how it looks and feels other than it’s like a small city with small buildings but it seems pretty chaotic just because I understand pretty much nothing.

mapy2.jpg

This map doesn’t show the whole city but it shows the main parts that I find relevant. I first stayed pretty close to the Warorot Market on the east side. What I find the most interesting is the square in the center of the city which is where the moat is and the city wall was. It’s cool to have such a distinct border in town. Surprisingly I don’t have any great pictures of the area.

20170913_185912

For the most part walking around is fine, and with time you can get pretty much anywhere. In some places it can get a bit hairy and you’ll have to share the street with cars or dart across traffic to get to the other side of the street {cross walks please}. If your not in the mood to walk you can also take a shared taxi. These are red closed top trucks where you can just jump in with other people for 30 baht and go where you want. So in a way it’s kind of like a small bus. I didn’t realize this for so long and always wondered how people got in those things. Uber does exist here though, and so does a taxi app like uber called Grabtaxi. However, unlike Uber there are promotions on Grabtaxi and you can get rides for literally free. If your in Thailand and want to use Uber I recommend giving Grabtaxi a spin first.

Chiang Mai also is home to a university named CMU. I’ll let you guess what it stands for.

has a strong emphasis on engineeringscienceagriculture, and medicine. Its instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education offered through resident instruction. Its main campus lies between Chiang Mai downtown and Doi Suthep in Chiang MaiChiang Mai Province.

The university was the first institution of higher education in northern Thailand, and the first provincial university in Thailand. source

I was able to drive around the main campus in the west earlier, and the thought of going there did run through my mind.

20170913_105758

When actually getting to the city I didn’t really have any idea what to do so I signed up for a trip to see some elephants. Elephants were cool and really really weird. I’m very glad I went to see them because it was really interesting. The most exciting thing that happened with them was when I got trucked by Dumbo the little baby Elephant. He got a good swing in there with his head and sent me flying! Afterwards we ate a ton of watermelon and then went to mud up and wash the elephants down.

 

received_10159608861055657received_10159608860370657

Seriously though, they are some weird creatures. Cool but strange. What I thought was most impressive was how they used their trunks. I guess it’s really no surprise they can use them like hands, but still, I can’t use one hand with as much dexterity as them. What set it apart was the deliberate actions and obvious intent on their parts to strip all the stalks clean of leaves. So that was cool. Other than that, their mouths are very freaky and the tail was not at all what I was expecting feeling a lot more like nails than hair. How much extra sin they had was also quite different. It’s so saggy and baggy but at the same time so rough and funky.

20170913_11014120170913_105623

20170913_111100_001

20170913_111836

The best part though was the baby elephant Dumbo, who not only hit me but also chased one of the Thai guys up a tree. He also was rough housing with his brother in the water. We spent the whole afternoon listing for his bell and staying alert of where he was.

20170913_115453 - Copy

Dumbo chasing the guys. He couldn’t go up the hill.

20170913_113857 - Copy

The little devil^^

20170913_102405

I met some really nice people there too and we ended up going out later to see a rady boy cabaret show. That was entertaining for sure. Luckily we had good seats and didn’t get pressed into service of the show, or approached by anyone. So we could comfortably sit back and laugh at everyone else’s misfortune.

20170913_220249.jpg

The next day I again had nothing to do so I went to a cooking class which was meh, but hey better than doing nothing. Funny story I just met someone in Cambodia who did the same class I did. Coincidence? I made stir fry and a couple other things which was some of the most cooking I’ve ever done in one sitting.

20170914_184251
I made sure to drown it in oil

The people were nice enough but it was a different crowd than usual.

20170914_182423

20170915_151316Trying to figure out what to do next I went zip lining, never done it before so I wanted to check it out. It was fun. Meet a nice couple from Portugal and we did our thing. They were friendly and made it a good time. Especially since the two Chinese girls were not being super enjoyable. It was nice to do at least once. Would I do it again? probably not, but it was nice to do for at least once.

image2

wheeeeee

Since that time I have come back to Chiang Mai two more times actually. This makes it my most visited place! *clap* *clap* My internet is laughable right now and for the sake of being in order I’ll talk about them later. I’ll use the following picture as a teaser though. Oh and the main image, that’s totally from today.

20171023_151621

After I did all those few things I rode a bus out to….

PAI!

Where only good things awaited.

Also since I realize that these posts are pretty long and delayed I started writing on FindPenguins. So while you wait for these posts, if you want some up to date and quick posts about where I have been please check out my page! HERE

 

What did you think of Chiang Mai? Or what do you want to do there? I look forward to hearing some stories.