Beyond the tourist activity of Southern Thailand, Chiang Mai is the northern city everybody tells you to visit. However it has not so much: temples and markets, mainly the same that can be found in any other Thai town but with night life due to the tourism and quite more quiet and not so chaotic like Bangkok.
This city is a good place to be relaxed. In fact, I had there my first Thai massage which was in a local where the masseuses were ex-prisoner women. In Chiang Mai the prisoner women are taught how to give massages to have a job after the prison. My massage was awesome
And hitchhiking I reached Sukhothai, former capital of the kingdom with the same name which existed between XIII and XV centuries before being absorbed by Ayutthaya Kingdom. In this town is found the Historical Park of Sukhothai, a place where are sited the ruins of that kingdom (it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, like Ayutthaya one). It’s divided in several zones which cost 100 bahts each one (around 2,5€) for farangs (you’ll see that in Thailand everything has officially a local price, normally free, and a farang price, around 5-10 times more expensive). It’s possible to rent a bike by 30 bahts in the places surrounding (+10 bahts to get the bike into the place). 1 or 2 hours is more than enough to go around the central zone with the bike. Rest of zones are similar and I think they’re not worthy (although I didn’t get into).
After Bangkok I thought about visiting Ayutthaya city (former capital of the kingdom with the same name which existed between XIV and XVIII centuries, precursor of Thailand). Jai, a nice Thai guy I met wandering around Bangkok‘s temples, was born there and I was going to visit him. But then I found out the last Sunday of November every year from 1989 Lopburi celebrates the Monkey Banquet: a feast in which city monkeys are fed with tons of fruit. Continue reading
As I said it could happen, I skip what I was going to write about the rest of the Balkans as well as Denmark and Norway. I’ll try to continue them someday.
Chaotic. That’s the best word to describe Bangkok. I’ve been there for 6 days, my first Asian city, and I’m leaving not liking it at all. Dirt everywhere, pollution, mess. Chaos.
A normal tourist would have been in Bangkok 2-3 days as much. I decided to stay here for a while to get used to the Asian life and to get in contact with the Thai gastronomy (and from other surrounding countries). That way I’ve discovered that good places to eat are the street ones with tables to sit down and water for free (never got sick due to that water); pedestrian crossing and traffic lights are just ornament and if one wants to cross the street must literally jump to the road to obligate the cars to stop; the only traffic rule is that there are not traffic rules; here cars drive on the left (I should have known this before ); back seats have seatbelt but not socket; there are a lot of temples and eventually one gets tired of seeing the same things always; never take a Tuk-Tuk unless you don’t have other option because they’ll try to scam you or drop you off in a bad place so you’ll pay them more money to take you out of there (I was already warned of that); there are not tourist offices as we have in Europe (well, there are, but difficult to find; you have one in the airport), but tourist agencies who try to sell you one of their offers; around the touristic places there are people who accidentally meet you (even they tell you that they are teachers to look more disinterested) and tell you today is Big Holiday, Buddha Holiday, that everything is closed and it’s better you take a Tuk-Tuk for 20 bahts (0,5€) who will take you to different open and free places (they tell you it’s so cheap because Thai government wants to promote the Tuk-Tuk and let the gasoline cheaper for them); if those characters don’t convince you they’ll try to take you to an official tourist office (TAT, Tourism Authority of Thailand) with which they have obviously an agreement to get a commission (one of them even called me stupid because I didn’t fall, confirming he was trying to scam me ); there is no way to know the bus timetable and route; if taxi doesn’t want to turn on the taximeter, just get off; the royal family is sacred (don’t step over a coin to stop it, it has the king’s face); Buddhism is a very tolerant religion, but in Thailand (and most of Buddhist countries) there are not nuns or they exist only to serve the monks; many people has not money even for buying shoes but every time they go to pray they donate to the temple and if we sum all the wealth of thousands and thousands of temples one can find here I wouldn’t be surprised if it exceeds even the Vatican’s wealth; Thai word to name foreigners is farang; if a policeman stops you while driving, 100 baths are enough to pretend nothing happened (I could see how a guy did it); cleanliness is overrated.
I let you here some photos of the city: Continue reading