I like trains. It’s like flying used to be. Turn up at the gate five minutes before departure. No security hassles. No having to unpack your bag to discard that stray oversized shampoo bottle, drag your laptop out. Get undressed. Take your shoes off. Belt. Empty your pockets. Be intimidated with arms out stretched while you’re xrayed. Then get dressed again, stuffing your travel essentials back in your pockets, while now playing the game of looking over your shoulder to time your escape past one final hassle. The bomb testing guy. Let’s not even start on the petty carry on weight policies.
The beauty is in places like Chiang Mai, you can avoid all that inconvenience and frustration. Take a relaxing modern and comfortable overnight sleeper berth train at the end of your day. First thing next morning be in Bangkok ready to go.
It was only going to be a couple days in northern Thailand. But that extended closer to a couple weeks. Getting involved with the local community is always the cream on the travel cake. It was satisfying to have the opportunity to contribute as well. Setting up some online marketing for their enterprising hilltribe tourism venture. So if you’re visiting Thailand be sure to include chiangdaobasecamp.com on your itinerary!
I’d rather be entertained by two flies crawling up a wall…
Bangkok by comparison is quite the contrast. It’s easy to dismiss it, as some describe, a sleeze city. I’d have to admit, peaking through the door of one of those notorious bars, was more saddening than enticing. In particular after learning where many of these young girls come from (see story last post). In fact I’d rather be entertained by two flies crawling up a wall than the glitzy masquerade of this industry’s dark side.
But step away from this sordid side of life, and let’s be honest, every city has it, and you find Bangkok offers an endless cultural feast to whet any visitor’s appetite. Whether that’s taking one of the very popular leisurely half day cycle tours around the city. Stopping here and there for a drink. Getting an insight into the local history from your guide. Or enjoying an all time favourite dish of pad Thai. Not forgetting one of the signature dishes that defines Thai flavor, a bowl of spicy favourite yum tom. Yuuum yum. Then there’s the colour and vibrancy you’ll discover in one of the many night markets. And of course the infamous must see weekend market that sells everything from pots and pans to the treats from the ice cream maker entertaining the crowd as he bangs and claps to the music to churn out another tasty delight.
And no visit would be complete without a tour of one or two or three or four, or… more, of the many elaborate and ornate temples. If you find yourself wondering why just about every visitor wears those baggy daggy elephant pants around town, I just discovered a good reason. You need long pants to tour the King’s palace. For a few bucks they pack well in the backpack anyway.
For me, well I’m culturally topped up thank you. Must go. Have another train to catch…..
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