Backpacking in Asia #16: Chiang Mai part 2!

After being in Pai for a couple of days, it was time to go back to Chiang Mai. I had almost a week here, because I had a flight planned from Chiang Mai to Hong Kong. This meant: lots of chill days with nice people.

When you are around people the whole time, it can also be nice to just take some time for yourself. Therefore, I decided to spoil myself the first day in Chiang Mai. I went for a massage, read fashion photography books at a photography museum and saw some shops. In one of the shops, the owner was really nice. We talked a bit and I asked him the best things to see in Chiang Mai. He told me that there was a national day, which for lots of people went to temples with flowers. I decided to go to a temple to see it myself. But not before getting a toast at Seven Eleven. The celebration was so nice to see! There was lots of food, happy people where walking around and the temple was beautiful. I realized I was just strolling around by myself at the other side of the world. Without any stress, without having to do stuff. It was amazing.    

In the evening I met a Dutch boy, who was in the same hostel room. We went for dinner together and talked, of course, in Dutch. Which can be really nice again if you talk English all the time. Later in the evening, I got to meet a really nice Korean girl. We had breakfast together and I had the plan to explore Chiang Mai the Dutch way: on a bike. It was awesome. The low season has its advantages. We were the only two people at the biking tour, which resulted in a private tour. Because of this we had the opportunity to talk a lot with the local guide.

We jumped on our bikes, which gave me a bit the feeling of being home again. This feeling changed when I saw temples, beautiful tropical nature and of course: insects. We saw the countryside of Chiang Mai on the tour. After pedaling for a while, we arrived and the feeling of being in the city was gone in a minute. The guide brought us to lots of places. For example, we visited a local farm, cycled next to fruit plantations, went to a local market, ate Khao Soi (it’s so good) and one of the best things: we went to a local school.

It was so nice. My mom is a teacher, wherefore I’m really interested in the different kind of school systems. I already saw a big difference when I did research on the school system in Finland when I was studying there, but this was a way bigger difference. The cutest kids where already waving at us when we parked our bikes. The school was just out, but lots of kids where making their homework outside while being helped by teachers. They didn’t really speak English but their facial expressions said enough. The kids looked really happy and eager to learn. I was enjoying it so much and made pictures for my mom at home of the classroom and everything. And I was so happy that I brought my portrait lens for my camera, which resulted in lots of pictures of the kids.

We had an active and perfect day and went back to the hostel again. Here, a Belgium girl that I met before was already waiting for me to go to a food market together. I ate Pad See Ew for the first time, drank a fruit shake ( not for the first time) and together we looked at some stands. It was super busy and not only with people, but also cockroaches where joining again. ”His name is Edward!”, a local said to me while I looked way to scared at the ground, where a big cockroaches was walking in front of me.

The next day I wanted to do something active again, so the Belgium girl and I decided to do a lesson Muay Thai together. I wanted to do this my whole travel, but didn’t do it yet. I have to say, I liked it sooo much! We had a private lesson (because low season, yes) and I punched like I had the person I hate the most in front of me. At least, that was what I felt like. But for the teachers I must just have looked like a fool of course. Still they really did efford to learn us the techniques of Muay Thai. The next day, I felt muscles I didn’t even know I had. But it was all worth it!

We took a shower (felt so good) and met some nice new people at our hostel room. During the day we went shopping together ( I had to be strong to not buy anything because backpacking) and grabbed some food at our favourite local restaurant with a cute owner. We already saw his happy face on the menu. He was the cutest Thai I saw. Therefore I was so happy when I saw him in real life later. The owner and the perfect food resulted in that I didn’t eat here once, but at least five times during my stay in Chiang Mai. The second time was in the evening again, when we dragged all the nice people from our hostel to the restaurant. So nice about traveling is that you meet people from lots of different countries so easily. A Belgium girl, Dutch Boy and Finnish girl where sitting in front of me when a Korean girl and a German girl where sitting next to me. Love it!

I had lots of days in Chiang Mai, wherefore I went looked for destinations to visit next to Chiang Mai. But because I had such a good time in Chiang Mai, I didn’t really want to hurry to another destination. So I decided to do a day trip to Chiang Rai together with a Dutch boy and a Belgium girl. Chiang Rai is famous because of its beautiful white temple. I saw pictures of the temple already which looked really like a temple out of a fairy tale. That turned out to be completely different. While we came closer to the temple, I saw hands coming out of the ground, dragons and bones. Yes, you can hear it. The most cozy temple ever.

It was time to go back in the bus again to the next destination. I think I never felt so touristic as this day. In the bus, out of the bus, back in the bus again. And so on. But I saw a lot in one day. For example, we visited a blue temple, a Karan Village and a black house. And the house was, let’s say, different than I expected. Black can be really cool in interiors en exteriors I think. But the famous black house had a dark side. And I don’t mean the black, but all the stuff inside. While I walked into the house, I saw animal skins, bones and a dead crocodile.

We went back into the bus the three-country point of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. There was an option to do a boat trip here, but we decided not to do this. In the end, I was lucky we went to Seven Eleven instead of to the boat because a big, tropical rain shower started. To kill some more time, we were perfectly dry in the bus.

The next day I was in the mood for a pool day again. And so I did! I bought crisps, nuts, put some suncream on, listened to music and chilled. Later a Finnish girl joined me. I loved it! Although I was a bit to enthusiastic tanning (but Aloë Vera was there to the rescue). In the evening we went to the sunday market, just outside our hostel. It was so great. We were surrounded by lost of stands with food and creative souvenirs. I think this was the best night market I visited during my trip. I couldn’t resist buying some pouches. One with noodles on it (food of course). And I bought a really nice vintage jacket!

The next day, the Belgium girl flew home again, so we decided to go for one last massage with some girls. A massage in Thailand doesn’t mean soft. But despite all the cracks I heard, it was still so nice. After we went for food in the restaurant with the cutest owner again and we even made a picture with him. He also wanted to have a picture with his own phone. As I said, so cute.

The next day, my next destination was ready for me: Hong Kong! I flew in the middle of the night, so I woke up in a dark hostel. But then, I heard sounds coming from the stairs. It turned out to be the nice Korean girl I met. She stood up in the middle to say good bye to me. So cute! With a happy feeling I took a cab to the airplane. In my next blog: Hong Kong! Where I visited a friend, ate chicken legs, did beautiful hike and saw the amazing big city.

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