Greg and I arrived in Chiang Mai in the evening and I could tell straight away that I was going to like it a lot more than Bangkok. The old city is surrounded by a moat and then on the outside there are lots of nice places to stay, eat and drink! We arrived at our hostel and Greg was very excited that we were finally somewhere with other travellers, so proceeded to bounce around the hostel introducing himself to everyone! We were invited to watch some Muay Thai, and although I was absolutely exhausted and starving I decided to be social and go along. Whilst it was great to meet some new people, the Muay Thai itself was awful – it was basically a fake fight to entertain tourists but it didn’t even achieve that. On top of that, I hadn’t eaten for 10 hours so the hanger soon kicked in but luckily there were no serious casualties except for a huge plate of fries and a pizza. I’ve mostly avoided western food because it is extremely expensive but this was an emergency!
I decided to have an early night so that I could go out and explore the city. I found a really cute cafe called Into the Woods (it was very well themed and the coffee/breakfast was great!) where I could have a couple of hours relaxation and then headed to a beautiful temple in the middle of the old city. The best bit about the temple was these little plaques that had Buddhist sayings on, I’ve chosen my favourite ones below. The second one should read “Today is better than two tomorrows”. And also a lovely picture of another temple! I need to start taking some pictures with people in I think!
Although I am on a fairly tight budget, I figured it would be rude not to support some local shops and treated myself to a couple of things! It was so nice to have a day to myself, even though I have loved everyone I have met so far. Sometimes you just need a quiet moment to take in your surroundings, I actually got a little bit emotional walking round the temples on my own. It suddenly just hit me again that I had quit my job and was living my dream of travelling! If anyone else is contemplating travelling alone, just do it – it will honestly be the best decision of your life.
A few hours outside of Chiang Mai there is a small town called Pai where lots of travellers go to relax and also to party a bit. I really wanted to go with a few people and in the end managed to round up about 8 and we all got the bus together. It was my first scary bus ride, lots of winding roads up a mountain and our driver liked to overtake on corners! I thought to myself that we actually might die but apparently it’s quite a normal way to drive on these roads. I was so pleased when we finally arrived in Pai, and then even more so when we found a hostel that had loads of dogs and cats – and a bar with cheap gin and tonics!
The next post about Pai will follow tomorrow as I am SO far behind. I thought I would have tonnes of time to blog and I was also planning on reading a book a week. So far I have read about half book in a month! I also want to do a special post to mark my one month in Asia!!! I want to share some travelling secrets/horrible truths and also clarify some myths about travel/Asia. Sharing is caring after all!