My tan has faded, my jet lag has stopped waking me up at an ungodly hour and my constant craving for Pad Thai is slowly subsiding. I have been home from Thailand for over a week now so it was about time I faced opening my laptop again and got back to the real world of work, house hunting and begging for university scholarships.
As I always seem to write these travel posts weeks after my return it’s entirely possible I may skim over the details but luckily for you, there is a full, detailed (very much PG) version of my three weeks in Thailand and you can read it on my travel buddy Sarah’s blog…
After seventeen hours of travelling Chang Mai was the first stop and my first taste of Thailand didn’t start so well (quite literally for Sarah). After having a quick meal across the street from our hostel Sarah came down with food poisoning and I came down with jet lag, so the first night was a quiet one to say the least, but the hostel couldn’t have been more perfect so I got in a full nights sleep ready for a day of exploring the city!
Chang Mai is not at all what I expected, I thought would be a small, almost rural town and I was worried we would struggle to fill the 4 days we had there. But I was so wrong, its huge and there is so much to do there both in the city and around the region. The shopping there is great (it was recommended by my shopaholic mother) and all the coffee shops are amazingly trendy and so inexpensive. So the morning was whiled away rooting through the tiny shops and catching up over numerous, and very much needed, coffee stops. We also visited a couple of temples that day too, I think Sarah might have been more used to them than me since she said herself she was ‘templed out’ after six months of travelling, but I struggled to hide how in awe I was of how colourful and detailed they were! I ended my first day in Thailand by having my first massage from an ex con, and after having my body bent in directions I didn’t know it could bend and my bones clicked in places I am sure shouldn’t click it was back to the bunk beds.
After a busy day in the hot city, I was already craving a bit of countryside and fresher air so I took a trip to the Don Inthanon national park (it was recommended by my nature loving father). I hadn’t done too much research but I did know that one of the main attractions to the park was the hill side temples, the views from which are meant to be breath taking. As the mini wound up the tiny road into the park the visibility got less and less until I was struggling even to see the sides of the road… so it was no surprise that when we arrived at the temple there was no view, but inside the temples was equally as beautiful as the view I am sure. That night I meant up with one of the lovely girls, Camelia, from my trip and we went to the much anticipated night market and did some stealthy shopping. It’s a rarity that I meet someone who has as much stamina when it comes to shopping as me but hats off to you Camelia you out shopped me.
With Sarah having had a full day to recuperate the next day she braved the cooking course that we had wanted to do since we had arrived. We were taken out of the city to an organic farm where we taught all about the different herbs and spices that go into Thai food. I was pretty proud of everything I made, although I have to say that experiments since I got home have not gone so well…
The finally day in Chang Mai was my birthday, so I was awoken by Taylor Swift blasting in one ear and a fellow grumpy room mate complaining in the other, it was the perfect start. I have had my birthday fall in exam season for the past decade of my life so to not having the stress of exams or revision looming over me already made it one of the best, so the fact I got to spend it walking with elephants was really just a bonus… I was sceptical about going to an elephant park, as an animal lover I didn’t want to contribute money to any kind of organisation that harmed the elephants and I had heard so many horror stories. However, the place we went claimed to be completely cruelty free and no one was allowed to ride the elephants (despite the dumb ass people in our group still asking if they could), and it seemed to me that they were free to roam wherever they pleased. Of course in the back of mind, whilst I was having a great time washing the elephants and feeding them, there was the niggling feeling that it all wasn’t quite natural.
We had the perfect ending to our time in Chang Mai, we went back to the night market and found an amazing outdoor food court with live music and stands selling food from all around the world. I went for a very Thai burrito and several glasses of sangria.
Before we hit the islands in the South we had another stop on our way down. Sukothai didn’t seem to be that big in the backpacker world, most people we met were heading to Pi or Chang Rai but to us it made sense to get a move on since we only had two weeks left. Both me and Sarah were really glad of our decision too since Sukothai was so unexpectedly lovely. The main reason most people go is to visit the historical park, which is a kind of huge collection of temple ruins. We hired bikes to cycle round the park and I am so glad we did since it was boiling hot and walking round would have been near impossible in the heat. In the late afternoon it got so unbearable we cycled back to our hotel and took refuge at a near by pool (finally some tanning time!) We spent a good few hours on our sun loungers before we were interrupted by a the craziest storm which we watched from the comfort of our veranda before we ventured out for a very much need Pad Thai.
I apologise that I have completely underestimated how carried away I would get writing about my trip. I usually hate writing travel blog posts for fear of it just sounding very me me me, which I am aware this blog post completely does, but I am actually really enjoying revisiting my holiday and going through all my pictures again,so for that selfish reason I am going to spilt my trip into two parts. Lucky you…