Double T: Taiwan and Thailand 2016 Part 5 (Final)
Day 15 Bangkok to Chiang Mai
In a hilarious turn of events our friend had initially wanted to take us all to his favourite sushi restaurant in Bangkok. Unfortunately, the restaurant was renovating on that day only! Although we all wanted to try this place, we are also terrible people and found our friend’s distress unbelievably funny. So, instead we piled into a more upmarket sushi store to get our fix of Japanese food before a short plane flight to Chiang Mai.
The plane ride gave me just enough time to take a short nap. Before I knew it, we were being taken to Sheik Istana hotel in a courtesy car. The Moroccan styled interior was fairly novel but the rooms were some of the nicest that we stayed in for the entire trip. I for one was incredibly thankful for the much cooler weather in Chiang Mai. For the first time in days, I was finally able to wear a long sleeve top without feeling like I was turning into a puddle of sweat.
Our first night was just spent in the hotel. Their restaurant is actually surprisingly nice and I think everyone really enjoyed their meals.
Day 16 Chiang Mai
At the hotel we booked in a tour for an elephant and village and also a tour of an orchid farm. The elephant village actually had a whole range of activities including traditional bison riding and included lunch. The elephants in the elephant show were a heck of a lot more talented than me judging from their paintings!
The orchid farm was pretty small, but it was also fairly cheap to get in. There were maybe two areas where clusters of pretty orchids were grown. The rest was a bit of a tourist trap gift store.
We decided to venture out into unfamiliar territory for dinner and wander the busier streets of Chiang Mai. In a genius move one of our friends looked up this delicious burger truck. Maybe I was craving burgers, but I really loved everything about this!
Day 17 Chiang Mai
Today we visited the highest point in Thailand: Doi Inthanon. In the morning we were all joking about how hot air rises and wondering how warm it would be at the top of the peak. Despite this, we all dressed like it was still summer. When I saw all the other tourists all wrapped up in jackets and jumpers I knew that we had made a mistake! Now I have learnt that apparently in winter it can even snow up here!
Disregarding the weather, this was a really beautifully maintained area. The gardens had numerous flowers of all types and there were even escalators up to the two temples on the peak! Inside the temples everyone was almost silent, sitting on the ground and offering flowers to the Buddha statues. This felt like a really important religious place for many people visiting.
On our way down, we stopped for a market in the mountain with all sorts of dried fruits and beans. I was tempted to buy some of the dried fruit but I knew there was no way this was going to make it through customs so I settled on some coffee for my mum. We continued the day with more Thai street food and a waterfall.
Day 18 Chiang Mai to Melbourne
Our friend really wasn’t having much luck. His grandma had decided to visit Chiang Mai and have lunch with all of us. He was burning with embarrassment as we met his grandma and she treated us to a delicious lunch of boat noodles.
Sadly, this was our last day of holidays together so shortly after lunch we flew back to Bangkok airport. From there we parted ways. Our friend returned to his work in Thailand and we flew all the way back to Australia with promises to meet again.
In all honesty I’m not in love with Thailand the same way I am with some of the other countries I have visited. I think that tropical beach destinations really just aren’t what I look for in a holiday. I can certainly see the appeal that Thailand has for a lot of tourists. I’m just not one of them. That said, I really enjoyed our time in Chiang Mai. I think the cooler weather just put me in a better mood for everything.
So concludes this round of travel posts. Just in time for a new round of travel!
In exciting news, I will be going to Europe for the first time ever later this month! I’m going to Italy on exchange. I’ll be studying in Prato, but living in Florence for about a month. I hope to get lots of travel done but also to have heaps of fun experiences. I’m equal parts excitement and trepidation about it. I hope I’ll be able to share news from Europe with you soon.