it’s been quite a while since my last post. The last days in Thailand have been quite busy and in Laos I had no internet connection for a couple of days (which is a bit strange at first, but actually relaxing).
Here is a short summary of my adventures 🙂
After a few days in Bangkok, I jump in a mini van to head North to a smaller city called Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya is my first stop to discover North Thailand countryside.
No big buildings here or skyscrapers, the atmosphere is just relax. After having checked in in my guesthouse, I walk a bit around in the “city center” and come back after diner.
As I take a seat in front of the guesthouse to check my mails and plan the next day, a group of young locals invites me to join them for a thai whisky.
After discussing a bit, we find out that the guys are the owner of the guesthouse and some of his friends (also part of the staff). As we all get along quite well, the owner fetches a guitar and starts a jam session with another canadian guest.
We spend a nice evening listening to unplugged cover songs of the black keys and some thai pop bands I don t remember the name.
I spend the next day exploring by foot the temples and ruins. The highlight of the visit is Wat Mahathat with the famous Buddha head stuck in the roots of a tree.
There are many assumptions about how it ended up there, but actually, nobody really knows the real story.
In the evening I join a boat tour to visit further remote temples and watch the sunset over one of them.
The atmosphere is quite different from Bangkok. The buildings, the people but also the Tuk Tuk 🙂 really makes me feel on the countryside.
Another long bus journey takes me to the next destination: Sukhothai. It is a small city further North with a nice historical parc full of old temples and ruins.
In Sukhothai, we are going a step further in the Thai countryside. The “city center” is very small and the guesthouse where i am staying is actually in the old town a few kilometers away in the nature, just next to the historical parc.
The historical parc is a bit too big to visit by foot, however, it is a real pleasure to ride from one temple to another by bike. As opposed to Ayutthaya or Bangkok, where the temples were in the city, I am now enjoying green fields and forest.
The highlights are 2 temples, Wat Mahathat to watch the sunset and Wat Saphan Hin a bit further away to watch the sunrise.
Though it was easy to be at the right place on the right time for sunset, it was a bit more tricky for the sunrise.
Wat Saphan Hin is located 5-6 km away from the guesthouse and the best time to arrive there is a bit earlier than 06:00am. So, I wake up at 05:15 and starts riding on small paths in complete dark without lights. After a few minutes, my eyes start getting used to seeing holes in front of me.
It is just the right time to face my next challenge: a wild dog starts barking at me and decide to chase me as I pass it. As 1 dog is not challenging enough, 2 others dogs join it, one trying to bite my legs.
My training partners in Lausanne would have been so proud of me, I think I never cycled so fast in my life 🙂 I make it alive to the hill where the temple is located, just in time to climb the last steps and enjoy the sunrise atmosphere (I couldn’t see the sun very long as the sky was cloudy).
After breakfast and a few hours more sleep 🙂 I start planning the end of my stay in Thailand and my border crossing to Laos.
As my visa exemption is expiring soon, I decide to skip Chiang Mai and go directly to Chiang Rai, to go trekking and see the hill tribes.
I also plan the first days in Laos and get in contact with my cousin Ole to share this with him.
As I tell him that I will arrive around the 21st to Vientiane, he asks me if it would be possible to change my schedule to arrive a bit earlier, and if possible on 17th.
Indeed, the 21st is a special day for him, he is marrying! What a nice suprise! I was already happy and excited to meet my family but attending my cousin’s wedding is something I would have never expected.
The last station in Thailand is Chiang Rai. As I have to cross the border to Laos a bit earlier as expected, I don’t overload my days to have some time for planning tasks.
On the first night, I wander around in the night market and enjoy a beer listening to live music and watching traditional thai dancing.
On the second day, I spend some time at the flower festival, before visiting the hill tribe museum.
The hill tribe museum is very interesting for me, as I won’t have time to go trekking and visit a tribe.
The exhibition relates about the different tribes, their belief, way of living and traditional crafting and clothes. There is a really interesting part about the so called long neck women.
Those women are originally not from Thailand but from neighbour areas and were brought in to Thailand only for business purpose when tourism started to flourish.
The organisation managing the museum tries to educate tourists not to go to those long neck women village as it means supporting human zoos.
On the afternoon, I am taking a public local bus (which is a nice experience in itself) to the white temple (Wat Rong Khun). The white temple is a buddhist temple build recently (1997) by a thai artist called Chalermchai Kositpipat.
As opposed to traditional buddhist temples, buddha images are replaced by scene of the modern world (with strange reference to recent TV shows like godzilla, the minions or hello kitty).
The white walls and atmosphere make the place interesting to visit, however it is really not for everybody’s taste.
On the evening, I take some pictures again at the flower festival, but this time by night.
At 7pm, I also go watch the clock tower changing colors. There, I meet Macarena, a nice argentinian girl and we go for a drink together at the night bazar.
On the way back home, i can’t resist buying a tshirt with a small printed Songoku (Dragon ball).
The next day, I am a bit lazy and wake up a bit late. After a short breakfast, I take the bus to the black house (Baan Dam), a nice pendant to the white temple. The black house is not really a temple in itself, but more an artistic project of a thai artist (Thawan Duchanee).
The temple is a collection of small black houses with animal skulls, pelts and bones. The temple like central building is representing Satan’s diner room.
After that, I spend some time at the guesthouse starting to think about my trip to new zealand and I finish the day having diner with Macarena at the night bazar.
The next morning I wake up at 05:15 to take the bus to Chiang Kong.
Bye bye Thailand. The 4 weeks flew again so fast. I saw so many beautiful things and landscape and met very interesting people.
From Chiang Kong, I will cross the border to Laos. Be patient, I’ll report about Laos very soon 🙂