When I arrived to Chiang Mai I had absolutely no idea where to go and what to do. I had no accommodation prearranged and I had to figure it out at the spot. Luckily I met a Hawaiian guy who helped me and suggested I stay in a nice little place in the Old City. Even though the accommodation did not seem to fit my budget, it felt like home straight away so I just went for it.
Walking around the city streets makes you feel safe and comfortable, even though I’ve enjoyed messy Bangkok just as much. Temples rise from each and every corner, and even though they’re wonderful, peaceful and astonishing I kind of wanted to see something else. The great thing about Chiang Mai are it’s markets. There’s a night bazaar, there are a few markets inside the Old City and on Sundays the principal streets becomes a huge market. The traffic stops and traders from all over come to sell their goods. As a typical girly girl I as well had to spend some money and go shopping.
The next day I did something completely different. I went to the mountain to see the hilltop temple. Not only the view of the city is fabulous, but the colors you see at the temple seem to seduce your soul. Little children running around seem to seduce your heart. Little Asian kids (not that I want to be racist) have completely won me over.
The day after that I went to Mae Rim. I went to the tiger kingdom, to the elephant nature park and the long necked women village. Yeah, I know. I’m a horrible person, and animal lovers (which I am as well) will hate me for not boycotting these places. But even though I try to act differently, I am just a lousy tourist, that could not help seeing that. And yeah, I did take pictures with the tigers, I touched them, and they did not react – probably because they’re drugged or something. But it might as well be that growing up at that sanctuary they’ve learned to act that way. Yeah, I know I’m making excuses and justifying myself, feel free to hate. Poor tigers. The elephants seemed way happier though, as they are actually sleeping and living in the jungle. I have petted one (feels sooo weird), gave him bananas and hugged him. As for the long necked women, boy, that was weird. I mean, it’s tradition, but the necks on some of those ladies are long as the necks of giraffes (ok, I’m exaggerating, but still!). One of the long neck tribal women put the rings around my neck in order to see how it feels. I’ve had half the rings she did around her neck and already I felt like suffocating. It’s amazing how tradition forms you. Sometimes physically, sometimes mentally, sometimes socially. Anyways, tradition is one tricky bitch.
Last but not least was the Rajapruek Royal Park. Gardens made up in a way that they represent a country. Astonishing. You have an Indian garden, a Dutch one, a Korean one… Once again I got thinking about why Thai people are so chilled. Not only does gardening physically do you good but sights like these can cure whatever you’re suffering from. Feeling stressed? Go stare at a Buddha statue! Not feeling better? Do some gardening! Or just go to a nice garden and sit there. And I thought only pensioners do gardening because they don’t know what to do with their time. Oh, what a fool I’ve been. Thanks Chiang Mai!