Thank god, it's our last day in Bangkok. So friggin' hot and humid, so many tourists, and to top it off, there's a karaoke bar right underneath the hotel that opens up every night. Normally, noise doesn't bother me but karaoke is a way different kind of noise. And not the good kind. I'm still on European time so I can't just go to sleep. Instead, I lie awake most of the night pretending I'm Simon Cowell: "too pitchy", "too flat", "too much like a cat slowly being run over by a steamroller..."
Last day at Talahow. Waiting to go to the train station.
We're heading into northern Thailand today, up into the mountains where it should be much cooler than Bangkok and with less tourists hopefully. I'm really missing having our own transportation. It sucks heaving all our stuff around in this heat, in and out of tuk tuks, sitting around for hours waiting for public transportation... How do backpackers do this? :( We are so spoiled.
Bangkok train station
Overnight train to Chiang Mai. Eleven hours to catch up on reading, blogging, etc.
This is everything we're bringing with us for our winter vacation in Thailand
We've left the majority of our stuff on our motorcycles in Croatia. It was quite a chore stripping our life bare four years ago, paring down all our possessions to whatever fit on the back of our bikes. Now we had to do it again, trying to decide what to take with us to Thailand. Lots of hemming and hawing, should this stay or should it go (darling you got to let me know)... It feels so strange to think that this is everything we're going to live with for the next few months!
The train attendant comes around before bedtime to convert our seats to bunk beds
The AC in the train is cranked all the way, so we put on all the clothing we brought with us and snuggle up for the night
Along our travels, many people have asked us where we're going next. While we normally tell them that we make our decisions in the moment, that it always changes, and that we don't have any grand master plan for our route, that's not true at all.
Actually, since the very beginning of our trip, our route has been laid out in detail in a single song. I'm surprised nobody's noticed yet, because we've followed it to the letter religiously. Our grand master plan for Riding the World was penned in 1976 by a fellow BMW-GS-rider-to-be, Neil Peart, in the Rush song, "Passage to Bangkok":
Okay, so it should have been "Passage FROM Bangkok..." Anyway, if you're wondering what's next for RideDOT.com, you can skip ahead in the lyrics to find out. YouTube won't allow this video to play in some countries (we're banned in Germany!), so if this is the case, you can view it by clicking here.
End of the line in Chiang Mai
Almost immediately we could feel the difference in the air at our destination. It's a little bit cooler, and much less humid in the mountains. We sat in the back of a pick-up truck/taxi as it ferried train passengers to their hotels and BnBs all over town. Watching the traffic and people around Chiang Mai, it seemed a lot less touristy than Bangkok. I think we're going to like it here!
Our new digs! For the same price as camping in Norway! Unbelievable.
Our plan is not to do much for the first little while. We've not been taking care of our travel fatigue at all since we got here, sightseeing first with Iva and then Thomas and Eva when they arrived. I know what I want to do: nothing but eat and sleep. In equal amounts preferably!
There's a shopping mall close to us and every weekend there's a little market that sets up in the evenings
Always lot of interesting and cheap food to try out
Most of the dishes here cost about $1. You literally cannot spend more than $4 on food here or you're bringing home leftovers. For the rest of the week...
In the evenings, we explore the area a bit more. Only because of dinner...
We're in an area of town called Nimmanhaeminda (or Nimman for short). It's a vibrant and trendy part of town, full of restaurants and bars with young people milling around everywhere.
We've gone out to eat every day. Even found our favourite restaraunt which we go back to often
Neda has fallen in love with the Northern Thai cuisine, especially the Khao Soi, which Chiang Mai is known for. It's a spicy, coconut curry soup with two kinds of noodles in it: flat noodles which sit in the soup and a crispy, and deep fried noodles which sit on top. At this place, I finally found a Pad Thai that's good. It's a bit expensive though. $2.50... LOL!
In some bizarro twist of economics, it's actually more expensive to make your own food at home
than it is to eat out.
But because Neda loves cooking so much, we decide to splurge sometimes and buy her some ingredients so she can make food at home. We did the calculations, it costs 3-4X *MORE* to cook at home than it does to go out to eat. We're told that the kitchen is the most underused room in the Thai household.
Thankfully, my stomach has settled from the Bangkok incident, so our washroom has become the most underused room in our household.
So we go back to eating out... *gahhh* so yummy *drool*
Neda sits outside on the patio and catches up on her cross-stitching
I'm doing nothing but lying on the couch and watching lots of TV shows. The only time I leave our apartment is to go out to eat. They say you are what you eat. I look down and see a lot of Pad Thigh. And Pad Gut. And Pad Manboobs. I went too far there, didn't I?
As usual, Neda gets bored of doing nothing way earlier than I do, so she goes out to explore the city a bit. Some pictures of her walk through the nearby park:
That doesn't look very friendly
Suan Buak Haad Park
Part of the reason why I'm not doing more exploring of Chaing Mai is because I'm saving my energy. I'm preparing for the hurricane that's about to blow into town.