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Reisverslag Travelling through northen Thailand
7 december 2015
Travelling through northen Thailand
Again to long ago since I managed to write something for my weblog. Fortunately my sister-in-law brought her laptop with her during our family meeting in Vietnam, so here I sit on my bed writing this report. Wondering why my family is in Vietnam? Soon you’ll get an answer to that.
First let me tell you about Thailand. As I wrote before, I was in Bangkok 3 days before I went to Myanmar. I was disappointed by most people there, as they were not friendly nor smiling. Maybe because of the many tourists that go to Bangkok since many years. Anyway, when I came back from Myanmar I didn’t want to stay in Bangkok longer than necessary. The evening of my arrival in Bangkok, people celebrated the full moon festival called Loi Krathong. All over the country, Thai people put some kind of ordination flowers into a river or pond, while wishing a long life and luck for their family. It was nice to see something of Bangkok with mainly local people instead of tourists.
Next day I went by train to the ancient city of Ayuthaya. It has an island inside the city with a lot of old temple ruins and modern Buddhist temples just outside of the island. I rented a mountainbike for two days and really enjoyed cycling around to watch all the ruins, the landscape and some important temples in the area. In one of the temples I even met a dutch Buddhist monk who invited me for breakfast and staying at the monastery. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to stay another day then, but I’ll try to go back there next month when I’m back in Thailand again.
After Ayuthaya I continued further north, spending one day in Sukothai, which is a small version of Ayuthaya. I had a night bus from Ayuthaya and didn’t know exactly at what time next morning I’d be at my destination, so at every stop I woke up to know if I was there already. Eventually around 5.00 am I arrived in Sukothai bus station which was still about 12 km from the touristic area. A lonely tuktuk driver offered me a ride with discount as he had to go home anyway, which was also in the old city area. I knew a nice place where I could stay to sleep and brought me there. I was a bit worried about where he would take me but the place appeared to be very nice with friendly owner who let me in at 5.30 am. After some extra sleep I rented a typical Chinese citybike to watch the area. Halfway the day I even had a really nice coffee at a place that said “heerlijke verse koffie”.
Next day I travelled to Chiang Mai, which is the biggest city in the north of Thailand and very touristic. I expected a kind of ambiance like Bangkok, but fortunately it was much more quiet, with very friendly people, several vegetarian restaurants, a big and crowded but very nice and relaxing street market (occupying some of the main streets of the downtown area). After a day of visiting the centre and some nice temples, I went for a day of elephant training. We had to drive for 2 hours into the mountains, partially on a very bumpy road (reminding me of Nepal) before arriving on a very nice and relaxing place where 5 elephants were waiting for us, together with their mahouts (person who maintains and stays with one elephant whole his life.) After feeding them loads of bananas we got some instructions from the owner about how to give a comment to an elephant when you want it to walk, stop, go backwards, left, right, etc. After some practice we had to sit on a elephant and practice while to elephant was walking into the forest. Fortunately the real mahout was with us, because the elephants seemed to not really pay attention to what we said. Anyway it was a nice experience.
Another day I went on a rented motorbike into the natural area east of Chiang Mai. The first part was very touristic, with several places where they held monkey shows, snake shows and other animal unfriendly activities. There was a tiger camp where people could stay with a tiger. Fortunately I arrived early there so I could see the tigers just walking around, before the tourists arrived. A bit further at the road was a big botanical garden, very nice and creatively designs but very big so I didn’t have time to calmly visit the whole park. After the park the road started to wind and curve for another 60 km through beautiful jungle, going uphill slowly to have some nice views from the whole jungle area.
Next day was my birthday, where I had planned to travel to a small place into the natural area called Pai. On the way there I sat in a minivan with only Chinese people, which was an interesting experience after having met especially western people on my trip that far. In pai I had to rent a scooter again as my accommodation was out of town. The good thing was that I had a small bungalow all for myself and free breakfast. The guy running the location appeared to just have started and had only 3 bungalows, so I was about the only costumer there. Wifi was only available at the restaurant next door, which was nice so I could have some communications with Europe on whatsapp and phone.
Pai has a very beautiful countryside with two beautiful waterfalls, a medium size canyon area and a rather unknown hot spring pool, which was very welcome during the not so sunny days I had in Pai. At the canyon I met another dutch girl, so we celebrated my birthday together drinking cocktails in a funny and crowded open air hippy bar.
Some days later I went back towards Chaing Mai, again with a minivan. Halfway to trip I started to feel a bit sick. I had a very regular lunch before and normally never get carsick so couldn’t understand why. Nevertheless, arriving in Chiang Mai I felt horrible, and after a while all food of the last two days managed to leave my body. Fortunately after that I felt much better. Luckily because next day I had booked a Thai cooking class. I was totally recovered next day and really enjoyed that cooking class. I learned to cook some nice vegetarian thai dishes like a curry, traditional soup, spring rolls and the famous pad thai (a special noodle and vegetable dish).
After this cooking day it was time to travel towards the Laos border. I booked a organized trip, including accommodation at the border and a 2 day boat trip on the Mekong river up to the former capital city of Laos, Luang Prabang. During the trip to the border I met some nice co-travellers from Germany and Norway and a girl from the Philippines.
So far my stories of Thailand. Next time I’ll write about Laos. I hope life is ok over there, you had a nice Xmas and new year. I would like to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to write my an email, facebook message or reply on this weblog.
Happy 2016 and hope to see most of you in august in good health.
30 december 2015 12:42 | Door: Chris
Ik lees je verslagen steeds met veel plezier en interesse (en ook wat jaloezie...).
Hier alles OK.
Heel veel (reis-)genot, hopelijk in goede gezondheid in 2016 (en veilig terug...)
30 december 2015 21:19 | Door: Elaine
Hee hoi Bram!
Altijd weer leuk om de verhalen van reizigers te lezen! Ik krijg er zó'n zin van om zelf ook weer te gaan. Maar ja, het is pas kerstvakantie.... Overigens een prachtige vakantie met veel zonneschijn en hoge temperaturen voor de tijd van het jaar. Eigenlijk geen goed teken, maar ik geniet er nu wel van.
Boven jouw verslag staat 7 december, heb je zo lang gewacht met versturen? Bevalt het je goed om alleen te reizen? Was het leuk met je familie? Mis je ons niet enorm :) ?
Lieve Bram, ik wens je nog een heel fijne tijd. Ik hoop dat het goed met je blijft gaan, dat je erg geniet van alles wat je ziet en meemaakt, dat het steeds blijft voelen als een prima beslissing. Reizen maakt rijk en gelukkig.
Een gezond en mooi 2016 gewenst!
1 januari 2016 21:27 | Door: Henk
Ha die Bram,
Ik wil je ook namens Karin vanuit Arnhem een heel gelukkig en gezond 2016 wensen.
Geniet van de mooie ervaringen die je in het nieuwe jaar tegen komt op jouw geweldige trip.
Wacht weer met spanning af op jouw volgende weblog.
Karin en Henk