Heading North to Chiang Rai

The flatmates in Bangkok gave us great advice and after rummaging through the big box of travel maps and tourist brochures we left with fairly light luggage to head North. My big backpack with all the Himalaya gear as well as souvenirs (pretty outfits for Nastya from Sri Lanka and India) stayed behind with Marisa a CS friend of our CS friends Massimo and Bert. Thank You!

We’re heading to Chiang RLai, about everyone we meet replaces R with L so we’re amused and found a new game to play. Nastya can do the Indian accent very well now and I’m afraid by the time we’re back in Europe we can ensure absolutely no one will understand our mix of EN/RU/DE/CZ/YU/TR with a random bag of laahs. Try hard-lah!

We planned to hitchhike, but leaving a town like Bangkok trying to find a driver that actually heads out of town would be a nightmare so we hop on the train to Ayutthaya just North of Bangkok. It was the capital in the 14th-to18th century and has a nice display of old temples (rocks) with plenty of tourists heading there. We walked through town opting against paying entrance to ruins that were nicely visible from outside disintegrated walls. Stopped for a coke at 7-eleven to fix the various aches that the 37C temperatures triggered. Also the Chili here seems to be different from India and our bodies seem to demand a bit of an adjustment period.

From Ayutthaya we hitchhike North, adjusting the route with gps and our driver’s plans as we go. We meet three refreshers who take us along in the back of their pickup, then in the front, then big dinner, then at their hotel all rooms are booked so we bid farewell and went down the road to one of the many buddhist temples (Wat) to try our luck. An old bus is just being loaded by plenty of young guys with lots of make-up, we had just missed their Thai dance/ theater performance 😦 They invite me for two shots of what probably was Hong Thong and ensure that we can sleep on the stage, nicely elevated from the armada of dogs.

In the morning we’re greeted by a young monk in his bronze dress who brings us toast with coconut spread, pepsi and bottles of water. I think I found my favourite religion 🙂

We head to another Wat that wikitravel mentions to have spa and massage (trying to turn the often rough trip into more of a holiday), but find that the info is outdated. We get a nice tour though and use perfect facilities and showers before continuing to the market for lunch. Heading out of town a car stops. Ryan would take us about 400km and on a whole journey in its own. Just like our previous ride he passed us and decided to do a U-Turn to pick us up. With little English we find out he’s going to Chaing Rai changing our original Chaing Mai plans. Halfway we stay with “his sister” who gives us a warm welcome. We nap by the river in the backyard, wake up, shower and join for a round of beers and dinner. Later her friend Mrs. Lee, a hairdresser, joins and as we were just about to lay down and sleep it was decided to go to town. To a karaoke bar to be precise. More beer. More food, including little jumping insects/fishes from a little fountain in front of the restrooms. Very different, very delicious, but quite a lot of meat – especially after India!

Next morning they show us the market where we try about everything and continue the journey to Rians hometown and to his family who we will stay with as well. Thank You for the fantastic intro to Thai culture and cuisine!

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