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Reisverslag Ayutthaya & Chiang Mai
21 januari 2014
Ayutthaya & Chiang Mai
Anywho, in the end we actually did end up finding a really nice guesthouse with a terrace right on the waterfront. The building itself was a 100-yr-old traditional Thai house which, though really noisy, gave it incredible character. After check-in and a quick shower, Denize and I went to rent some bikes to go explore the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya, once the capitol of Thailand. The ruins were beautiful, and I got some great pictures, but after an hour or so it hit me: I was templed out. Once you've seen Angkor Wat, mother of all temples, her offspring just aren't that impressive anymore. I realized I had to reevaluate my plan. In the end I decided I'd had enough of temples, so I wouldn't be stopping in Sukhotai on my way north, but would go straight to Chiang Mai. Denize and I had split up somewhere along the way that day (she wanted to bike around some more), and by the time I got back to the guesthouse she had actually decided not to stay in the guesthouse that night and head straight to Chiang Mai instead. Thus I had the room all to myself. There were two American girls in the guesthouse as well, and I ended up spending the rest of the afternoon and night with them. When we went for dinner one turned out to be vegetarian, and the other was vegan. I asked why they chose not to eat meat and/or dairy, and the rest of the night turned into one filled with incredibly interesting discussions about anything from politics, to culture, to religion. The vegan girl had just spent a month at a retreat in India learning about yoga and Chakras and all that jazz. So that night, I actually got my Chakras read. Don't ask me what it all means, but it involved me lying on the floor and the girl holding a pendulum over different parts of my body to determine if certain Chakras were open or closed. Normally I'm not into this type of stuff at all, but I figured that I might as well try something new on this trip :P. Not to say that I'm now some sort of hippie, but it was really interesting to undergo something which someone else believes in so strongly. The next morning the girl gave us an introductory yoga-lesson as well, which believe it or not I sort of enjoyed. I was left with muscle aches for the next two days, but it was worth it. If it wasn't so expensive to do yoga back home, I might actually take up lessons. The rest of the day I spent relaxing. As I had decided not to make another stop on my way to Chiang Mai, I took the second day in Ayutthaya to find a good place to stay in Chiang Mai. I had been recommended something by a friend, but they were fully booked, so I ended up booking 4 nights at a hostel called "The Living Place". I took the night train to get there, which was surprisingly comfortable. You start out with two seats facing each other, but when it's time to go to sleep they turn the two seats into one bed and they flip down another bed from the ceiling. You get a mattress with clean sheets and pillow and everything. Wwaaayy more comfortable than all those night buses I took in Vietnam. Also more expensive of course, but hey, I'm on holiday right :P.
After a decent night's sleep and short tuk-tuk ride I arrived at The Living Place; one of the best places I've stayed at so far. The floors were dirty, the beds were squeaky, but the atmosphere created by the owner, Aree, was amazing. I swear watching her was like turning on the TV. I'm pretty sure you could spend a day in the common area and be entertained just by her presence. She was incredibly sweet, but mostly just hilarious. She could laugh about anything and everything and her laugh was super contagious.
As said, I spent 4 days in Chiang Mai. I spent my first day just relaxing and getting breakfast/lunch with some people from my dorm (two American girls and a Dutch guy). We walked around for a bit as well and had amazing smoothies. If there is one thing I'm going to miss about Asia it's being able to get fresh, cheap smoothies on every street corner. The second day I spent with two girls I'd met in the hostel, and we went to two temples, even though, as I mentioned I was sort of templed out by that point. The first temple was still pretty cool because it was different from any other temple I had seen. It was situated in a sort of foresty area and made up of a sort of tunnel complex with little niches for prayer. The second temple was on top of a hill/mountain, so though the temple was similar to ones I had seen before, the view from the hillside was pretty amazing.
Though I really enjoyed my time in Chiang Mai, I didn't really understand what the hype was all about. Everyone I'd met was super enthousiastic about Chiang Mai, but honestly, I thought it lacked character, during the day at least. At night the city transformed and was almost unrecognizable with all it's markets and lights and I loved the night-time there.
Maybe the reason I didn't find Chiang Mai as amazing as others was because I wasn't able to do some of the really cool stuff that Chiang Mai is famous for. My ankle still isn't fully healed, and so any type of trek or strenuous physical activity was out of the question, which was a little disappointing. Though I did spend a day on an elephant tour, which sort of gave me mixed feelings as well. Don't get me wrong, it was amazing to take care of a little baby elephant (Chok Dee - meaning lucky) all day, but because of all the negative stories you hear about animals being mistreated etc., it's hard to determine whether such daily tourist tours are really "good" for the elephants. I know that the company I chose had a good reputation and it seemed like the elephants were treated well, but you still can't help but wonder.
There really isn't much more for me to say about my stay in Chiang Mai. I met some great people, ate some bugs, and had a Thai massage, which was like being tortured in heaven, if that makes sense :P. I think I'll stick with a good ol' oil massage next time though. Oh, and I also went to a ladyboy show, which was pretty hilarious, especially when you're the only girl in a group of guys. The ladyboys just flirt with the men and make inappropriate jokes which are made all the more funny by the guys getting incredibly uncomfortable and me being able to laugh at them for it :).
From Chiang Mai I've taken another night train back to Bangkok. I was a little nervous because of the protests stories -grenades having been thrown and all that- but the train got in on time and the bus I took had no trouble either. I stayed at a hostel near Khaosan Rd so I got to see that as well for one night, and tonight I'm off on yet another night train to head to Koh Phanang. The plan is to spend my last days there doing nothing but relaxing and reminiscing. And maybe we'll go to a party in there at some point as well ;). That's all for now folks. As they say here: "See you when you see me".
Foto's bij verslag (14)
22 januari 2014 18:22 | Door: sandra
veel plezier he op je tropische paradijselijke eilandje deze laatste dagen. leuk weer alles te lezen van je. Heb heel toevallig net allemaal emails gekregen van een Amerikaanse site over chakras etc. :))) en ga een nieuwe yoga kaart kopen...
gaaf dat je zoveel verschillende mensen ontmoet.
Veel plezier BIG HUG XX