Above: The Notebook Cover / Where This Entry Begins
Buriram to Bangkok
5.5 hours via bus to meet up with a friend flying in from Toronto. First impression of BKK post floods – there was a lot of debris left on the side of the streets. Second impression of BKK post floods – everyone on average was incredibly friendly (I had forgotten). 4 days/3 nights of shopping, Japanese ice cream, a movie in the theatre IN ENGLISH and watching my friend trip over loose and upturned cement tiles over and over again. Bummer: My fave guesthouse has become a mold infested sinus aggressor post floods which resulted in me periodically having to force speech and sleeping with a (very fashionable black) face mask on my last night. Good times despite catching some virus/flu/cold/Act of God I have no name for that took 5 days to clear.
Bangkok to Chiang Mai
14 hours via train (sleeper 2nd class). Our sleeper train hook-up was different than expected and previously experienced (must have travelled 1st class in the past). Each train car was separated into compartments, each compartment housed 4 beds (bunked) within close proximity to one another – close proximity being defined as reach over and possibly touch the person sleeping across from you.
Moment of Gratitude
Thank-you Belgian men for not being creeps and feeding me your paracetamol.
Christmas in Chiang Mai
Visited Santai Muay Thai Gym in San Kamphaeng (10+km outside the city of Chiang Mai) to visit old friends (and teachers) and officially meet new ones. This was long overdue.
I had spent 6 months living and training at Santai when it was Siam No. 1. This was either in 2006 or 2007 (I’m nowhere near my records/photos to confirm a year). The gym has changed a lot (this is positive) since it changed ownership and I last visited in 2009 (change in numbers). A huge crew of happy Farang nak muay, Thai krus (trainers), gym staff, family, friends and 2 sleeping chickens.
Many, many thanks to Santai Muay Thai for a great Christmas and lots of laughs and completely unexpected firework fun.
Hotel is booked until the morning of the 29th. Found nothing (rooms) online in our price range. Chiang Mai attracts tons of Thai and Foreign tourists for New Year’s Eve. The plan is to find a hotel or guesthouse on foot tomorrow. If nothing interesting is available? My thought is to pick some random nearby town and jump on a bus. Either way – next destination: unknown???
Language issues? I.e. Am I speaking Isaan when I think I’m speaking Thai? I don’t think so – no language (Thai) issues at all. Sweet.
Random Thoughts On Chiang Mai
♦ At times it feels as though there are more Foreigners than Thai.
♦ I completely appreciate the artist/artisan/crafty aka creative element here.
♦ The Tha Pae fight promotion etc. etc. reminds me how great Buriram is.
♦Excellent blind massage.
♦Beautiful temples of various design.
♦ Pricing is still reasonable.
♦Loads of people (Thais) speak English here.
Bangkok hotel review here.
Chiang Mai hotel review here.
Above: I was too sick/out of it to remember to take shots of Bangkok, so here’s something I bought off a kid for 20 baht. Other than it depicting the King, I have no idea what it is.
For Thailand hotel reviews, travel information and tips, check out Backpacking Thailand, my free Thailand resource.