Saturday, January 15, 2011

Final Destination: Chiang Mai

1. Misadventure: Food Poisoning

Unfortunately, I began my time in Chiang Mai with a bout of food poisoning.  Luckily, almost any drugs are available in Thailand without a prescription, so starting antibiotics wasn't a problem.  After just one day resting in the guesthouse that we were staying at, I was ready to start getting out in the town. 

2. Tiger Kingdom

Tiger Kingdom provided the best photos of the trip.  I was able to sit next to, pet, hug, and lay next to real tigers - both big and small. 

3. Night Bazaar

As if I didn't do enough shopping already, I went to the Night Bazaar almost each night in Chiang Mai.  It seemed to have better deals than Bangkok, and just as much variety.  There also seemed to be a healthy art scene in the city which made the shopping even more fun and enjoyable.

4. Gone Trekking

Although I got sick in Chiang Mai, Miriam and I were still able to schedule a day trek into the mountains of Northern Thailand.  Our trek was terrific!  It was through Wayfarers Thailand, and it was very private.  It was just me, Miriam, our tour guide Prakan, and a local guide.  The tour began with an hour hike through the jungle and a visit to the Padong Hill Tribe, followed by lunch, an hour elephant ride, and about an hour rafting down the river.  It wasn't white water rafting, it was rafting on a calm river on a bamboo raft with just myself, Miriam, and our guide - something like Huck Finn perhaps did.  He even let me steer the raft in the front...fulfilling my childhood dream of exploring the wilderness by just rafting away down the creek in our backyard.

Ultimately, I can see why Chiang Mai has so many ex-patriots living in the city.  It's hard not to enjoy the good weather, good food, good coffee, and the company of good friends in this city.  There always seemed to be live music, an art house, a market, or a cute cafe just around the corner. 

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