Chiang Mai

Thailand Part 1 Recap

May 23, 2005

After almost 1 month in Thailand we are moving on to Laos tomorrow morning. We've spent the month between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. As we mentioned earlier Bangkok was a very stimulating city. The heat, traffic, tourists and vendors made our time in the city very overwhelming to ones senses. We loved that we were able to take a ride up and down the Chao Phraya river to see the enormous disparity between the rich and the poor in the area. Just when you surrender yourself to sadness in the face of poverty you'd come around another bend to witness the stunning beauty of a wat (temple). However, the city is one where your body can only take so much and we were quite ready to make the move to the highlands for some "fresher" air.
The majority of our time was spent in Chiang Mai which is in Northern Thailand. The city is home to 1.6 million people but seems so far removed compared to a Bangkok. On the main roads traffic is hairy but we quickly found out that walking via the sois (alleys) was the way to go. They are quieter and usually provided a nice break from the tuk tuk drivers who consistently thought we were lost or felt that we should ride rather than walk. They might be looking out for our well being as the city does not provide many stop lights and the ones that are available for pedestrian cross walks go unnoticed. We also found that the city provides a great amount of activities to lure one from their money. During our stay we took a Thai cooking class, climbed the 3rd highest mountain in Thailand on mountain bikes, played mini-golf, took numerous yoga, pilates and meditation classes, had our bodies twisted and pounded by Thai massages, shopped incessantly and ate at a new restaurant almost everyday for under $4 for dinner. What a life. However, we are ready to be on the move again and are looking forward to the countryside of Laos to peak our nature senses once again.


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