So, after a solid 10 days with no blog post, you must have been wondering where I’ve been 😉 I apologise, although I’m sure you’ll forgive me when I tell you! Here’s my post on Chiang Mai, but you can read all about my wonderful week at the Elephant Nature Park in my next one!
After leaving Bangkok on the 13th (and disposing of my latest read on a shelf in an airport bookshop for a randomer to find. NB. Is that allowed? Oh well!), I landed in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai to find a gorgeous place filled with not only culture, but some incredibly friendly and accommodating people – a refreshing change from the experience of interacting in Bangkok. I actually don’t think I’d realised how much I disliked BKK before I arrived in CNX. Seriously though, besides the SkyTrain and masses of luxury brand shops, it seems there isn’t an awful lot there that you won’t find here in Chiang Mai (and everything is a whole LOT cheaper!)
Settling into my hostel was much easier than I’d imagined (even after the luxury of my hotel in the capital), and made even easier by my friendly roommate who’d just come back from the elephant park herself! Kindly, she was more than happy to share tips and general advice which kind of gave me a heads up on what I’d let myself in for in the week ahead, before we set out for the city’s greatest attraction – the Sunday Night Bazaar. Originally run predominantly by the Indian immigrants in the city, the locals soon followed suit when popularity grew and, boy, did it grow! Although there are still some spices and homeware available, the market is overrun by stalls of clothing and general tourist garb – all of which haggleable by the customer. It really is a skill worth learning, especially for the lone female traveller. I know that us Brits seem a bit hesitant to pay any less than the original asking price for fear of insulting the merchant, but the locals do seem to strive on this – often asking a full 100% more than the item’s worth. Besides, the sense of pride you feel when you can haggle a 950 baht pair of Converse rip offs down to 500 baht is great. I returned to the market when I came back to the city on the 20th, having finally gained enough confidence to explore on my own, and did just that – spending 2500 baht on a brand new, decent travelling wardrobe (3 tops, a crochet waistcoat, two dresses, a pair of shorts, flip flops, a plethora of bracelets and said faux converse), my dinner for that night and snacks for the following day. And I can STILL fit everything in just my one cabin-sized rucksack. I know it might sound a little too good to be true (especially if you’ve met me :P), but I’ll be sharing my secrets on this soon by posting a copy of my packing list with useful info as reference for any other budding RTW travellers 🙂
Anyway, that’s me for the time being! I leave Thailand with a lighter bag (courtesy of the kind people at the Post Office allowing me to send some things home), having gained some valuable knowledge (courtesy of just about everyone I have met so far), and a slight Green Tea Latte addiction (courtesy of the kind people at Thailand Starbucks) tomorrow. Next stop is Kuala Lumpur – I can’t wait 🙂