I’m absolutely in love with this town. Everything about this place makes my heart sing. Of course, there are the not so great parts like the burning season (when the farmers burn their land to clear it for new crops and the smoke settles in our little town) or not being able to communicate clearly with many locals. However, I get by. I especially get by because I’m learning to speak Thai. I practice it at food stalls and my tutoring job. This has earned me many brownie points and a LOT of free food!
So I have a little scooter that I drive around town. It was a little daunting to drive in the chaotic traffic at first, but I got the hang of it quickly. Here, we drive on the opposite side of the road, we don’t necessarily wait for the red light to turn green, and we ALWAYS use our blinkers. One thing I’ve noticed when I’m driving around the old down is the sweet smell of jasmine and other flowers that fill the air. I don’t know why, but that smell just adds to the magic of this place.
I have a story that I think perfectly highlights the wonder of Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was the day that I had a 2 pm flight out to Krabi to meet up with my American friends. I was still battling jet lag, and found myself wide awake at 4 in the morning. I decided that instead of laying in bed, scrolling through social media, I’d do something a little different.
There’s a temple at the top of the mountain near Chiang Mai called Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. It’s about a 45 minute ride up the mountain to make it to this temple. I called a Grab (Thailand’s Uber), jumped on the back of a guy’s motorbike, and braced the chilling wind up the mountain. It gets pretty chilly here at night and in the morning!
As we climbed up this steep, dark road, we passed runners and bikers who were also trying to make it to the top. My driver would point out vistas where you could see the lights of Chiang Mai from up high. After that freezing 45 minutes, my driver dropped me off at dark little village at the base of the temple. A few locals were already preparing for the day, and they pointed me in the right direction of the temple.
Words can’t really do this place justice (I think I said that about Krabi as well), so I’ll just add some pictures here. I silently wandered this sparkling temple and witnessed its monks chanting their morning chants. I was also able to watch the sunrise from a lookout point. It was all a pretty humbling, almost emotional experience. Enjoy the pictures!
After I was done, I hitched a ride in a red songtaew (somewhat of an open air bus/truck combo), packed my bags, and flew on out to Krabi. I told you, this place is magical.