28.09.2014 - 01.10.2014 30 °C
Sawatdee Khrap! We hit the one month mark today, so I thought it would be a good time to share a map of where we’ve been so far. Oooh, a map…
We originally planned to spend four weeks in China and were considering three in Thailand. As we reached Hong Kong a little sooner than expected, we’ve decided to cut Thailand a little short and instead spend two weeks in Malaysia, specifically in Borneo. We’ve got some diving and trekking plans ahead. Back to now though, we’re just about finished our four night stay in Chiang Rai. What a great place this is! It’s like visiting the Asian version of a small Irish country town. You know the kind, a one kilometre strip of road where all the shops, restaurants etc. are based. And everyone knows everyone. Chiang Rai has only reaffirmed how wonderful the Thai people are. We’ve met some of the friendliest and funniest locals in the past few days.
We spent most of our first afternoon with a second helping of bank issues. We had been living off the Hong Kong cash we converted into Baht on arrival in Chiang Mai and it had finally run out. Permanent TSB (naming and shaming) decided to block us both again, despite telling them twice in advance of the trip where we were going and having conversations/complaints the previous week. Their fraud department prefer not to read notes on a customer’s account it seems and any international activity will trigger an alert. After further complaining we’re up and running again. I’m expecting issues when we arrive in Malaysia but let’s stay positive. Thankfully, when we were on the phone to the bank the weather had the decency to have a massive thunderstorm while we were in our bedroom. Bucketing down!
That evening we went to the night bazaar where you can get all kinds of yummy Thai food, snacks, desserts etc. for a Euro or two. I’ve also discovered my new favourite fruit, the coconut! Fifty cent = ice cold coconut juice fresh in a coconut and then after they’ll cut it open and you can eat it. I’ve had two already and am craving more.
On Tuesday we took a full day tour with four other travellers to various sights, the main one being the Golden Triangle, a place where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar (Burma) all cross-intersect with one another via a river. There were a few really interesting stops on the way.
This is the White Temple. It was built only 17 years ago and is one of Thailand's best known temples.
For some reason this guy is everywhere at the temple. We don't know why?
We visited the 'Long Neck' village. The local tribe follow a custom whereby every woman has to wear very heavy metal rings around their neck. Every three years they add another until they reach forty. Naturally, I thought this was a great idea for Alberto. He loves it!
At the same village we also randomly saw a snake eat its lunch. Look away now if you're particularly fond of frogs.
We also visited the 'Monkey Cave' and got a chance to feed some monkeys. I felt like the guy from that film Outbreak.
There was a steep climb up to the cave where there's a small temple. I'm not sure where Alberto was looking either.
Finally we reached the Golden Triangle! Sarah Palin has a holiday home nearby so she can see Laos and Myanmar from her backyard.
Today we managed a 15km jungle trek. We sweat a lot, the picture below was taken only 30 minutes in.
We got to see a waterfall and some nice views.
The highlight however was our lunch, noodle soup with pork/veggies and an omelette. Wait, wait. We cooked and ate everything using only bamboo, a knife and fresh water from a natural source. Take that carbon footprint.
The day was finished with a stop at a tea house followed by a relaxing soak in a hot thermal pool. This travelling thing is a tough gig.
We both loved Chiang Rai and if we had more time we'd have stayed longer to chill out and relax. Tomorrow we fly to the madness of Bangkok. I'm going to spend this evening rehearsing my Tuk Tuk negotiation skills.