The bus travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai was quite long. The journey took around 24 hours.
Fortunately for me, the bus was rather pleasant. There was plenty of leg room and no one in front of me. Although it wasn’t as comfortable as the buses in Peru, I was really pleased with this bus travel. Massagers were also installed into the seats. The chair would massage you for a few minutes after you pressed a button.
The fact that a lunch was included in the excursion was something I really liked about it. Everyone exited the vehicle as we came to a halt at a wayside diner. We were all seated at a large table in the back of the restaurant and split the food. Because I was the only non-Thai in the group, I asked the lady next to me to demonstrate what I needed to know. She demonstrated how to consume the various foods. It was a unique experience for me to eat with strangers in a communal setting. I’m used to everyone sharing plates with friends and family, but I’d never done it with strangers. For me, it was a fantastic experience.
I finally arrived in Chiang Mai and booked a hotel room. I went for a walk and stopped at a bar for an amazing spicy papaya salad. I also had a couple beers before retiring to my bed for the night. One amusing thing that happened was that I felt like I was still on the boat when I was half asleep in bed. It was as if the place were afloat in the water.
Chiang Mai was one of the places where I didn’t snap many shots. The city was pleasant enough, but it failed to live up to the promise. To me, it appeared to be just another Thai city. Although it was superior than Bangkok and Phuket, it was still a city. I wasn’t in the mood for cities at the time.
And the bars in Chiang Mai appeared to be identical to those in Bangkok and Phuket. I’d try to sit and read or glance at my phone while drinking a beer. Then the bar girls would appear, asking the same questions again and over “What’s your name, by the way? What country are you from? What is your age? “.. I don’t mind talking to actual girls, but being hassled by prostitutes every time you go out for a beer is unpleasant.
Chiang Mai offers an immigration office where you can extend your visa. So I went and spent a few hours filling out papers, taking photos, making payments, and so on in order to have my visa extended. I ran into one of my Scuba school classmates while I was there! I hadn’t seen her in a week or so when we happened to cross paths at the immigration office. She informed me that she was leaving the next day for Pai, and that her brother was already there. I asked if I might accompany her because I wasn’t feeling Chiang Mai.
That night, the two of us headed to Chiang Mai’s biggest night market, which was a lot of fun. It was, nevertheless, completely filled. On the streets, there were a lot of people. I used to enjoy large groups like that, but I was hoping for something a little quieter and more relaxed at this time.
My classmate showed me where she would be staying and where we would meet in the morning. I went back to my hotel to sleep and prepare for the next round of my journey.
I’ve read a lot of Chiang Mai-related blogs, posts, articles, and comments. It appears that I am the only person on the planet who did not enjoy it. I didn’t see much of it, so that’s probably my greatest complaint. I’m not sure I gave it a fair go. But nothing really leapt out as being really cool, attractive, or… worthwhile of a significant amount of time. Fortunately for me, the second place I went spoke to me right away, and I ended up staying there for a month.
I’m hoping you’ll join me tomorrow as I continue north to Pai, a wonderful small backpacker hideaway.