Posts Tagged With: chiangmai

Jungles and Flights

On our second day in Chiang Mai, we all decided we wanted to try ziplining in the rainforest, and we booked a tour with a company called Jungle Flights. They picked us up from our hotel in the morning and drove us up the mountain. I was sure our driver was out to kill us or someone else. Just sayin! It was a wild ride.

Our guides Johnny and Robin were so nice, spoke great English, and laughed and joked with us the whole day. They made our ride fun + the highlight for me was being lowered straight down 40m to the end of the course, it was so thrilling! I hate heights!!

We also got a free t-shirt, a yummy lunch and a (bumpy) ride back to our hotel. We loved the whole experience. The night brought us to the market, a surreal maze of stalls all selling a variation of the same souvenirs and trinkets. We shopped. Of course. I bought a sweet pair of sandals that I am still wearing, a birthday present for my sis, and a few shirts for my guy friends ūüôā prezzies!

One thing we learned about Chiang Mai is that the bars are packed with “bar girls” and the massage girls wear a lot of makeup and less clothing, basically the sex industry is very visible there, and we saw a lot of older white men alone on their vacations…we actually were so turned off by this, we didn’t go out our second night in Chiang¬†Mai, either.

We took a shiny tuk tuk (with a female driver and a pink roof!) To the airport, and departed rainy Chiang Mai, flying all the way down the country to Hat Yai, one of the southernmost points of Thailand. Total flight time? A whopping 2 hours. Both domestic flights I took in Thailand were quick, efficient, clean and so pleasant, much more pleasant than the average Canadian airport experience!!

Hat Yai was a pit stop on the longer road to Ko Li Pe, we still had to rent a minibus to take us to Pak Bara….the strangest place I went in Thailand.

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Chiang Mai Bound!

The next morning me and two of my friends left sweaty sweaty BKK for the misty green mountains in Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand. Since we had limited time, we decided to fly there, which ended up being the best decision ever, as it was so smooth and hassle free to take a domestic flight instead. It was a bit more expensive, but the ease of travel and time saved more than made up for the price of the ticket. It was us three mangy backpackers and every Asian tourist in Thailand headed to Chiang Mai, for the sweet sweet two hour ride which would give us an extra whole day there!

We stepped off the plane amazed at the efficiency of domestic Thai airlines, and into a cheap taxi to the heart of the old town, finding a decent guest house after a few near misses for rooms. We had ah-mazing mediterranean food for lunch (might sound weird but Chiang Mai had unreal Western food, something we were all craving by that point) and decided our top three things to do/see were: riding scooters, going up the mountain to see the ancient Doi Suthep temple, and do some ziplining through the rainforest. We booked our ziplining tour for the next day and found a place that would rent us sweet scooters for our mountain journey.

I am very proud to say that after a fateful gas stop and a few wrong turns I successfully guided us to the right road and up the winding streets to the mountain temple. It started to POUR as soon as we got up there, so our pictures feature us in hilarious pink ponchos and helmets as we climbed the 300 temple steps to the top.

The temple was gorgeous – my favorite one in all of Thailand so far, with a view of Chiang Mai and the surrounding countryside. The ride down was a bit crazy because of the wet roads, but we got back to the rental place in one piece with no damage to the bikes, whew! It was one of my favorite Thailand adventures so far.

We ate at a falang (foreigner) restaurant at dinner, then went to bed…boring girls!! Forgive us…we had been out three nights in a row at that point, sleep needed to happen!

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Railay Beach – Round One

We took a short ferry to our next stop, Railay Beach, which is not an island but is cut off from the mainland¬† by a mountain range, and only accessible by boat. We arrived at low tide so the longtails had to tow us¬† in to the pier, and honestly the beach didn’t look that great – I will later go on to retract this statement, because I hadn’t seen the two amaaazing beaches on the other side!

I was immediately charmed by the main little walking street, though. There were no cars or even bikes on the path (street) up to our hotel. There was a big sign welcoming the beach travellers “home”, and it really would feel that way by the end of our five nights here!

We explored Railay after we got settled, and it was so charming, since it was low season it was also not very touristy, there were just enough people around to make the place lively.¬† There were beautiful walking paths (with monkeys crashing through your path sometimes), climbing walls, two beautiful beaches, little roti stands, a main “walking street” that was kind of like the centre of town, and lots of hidden places that our guides would show us.

There was literally only one bar that got busy and played pretty good tunes and featured an amazing fire show every night at eleven!¬†¬† At this point I had seen fire spinning a few times on Bottle Beach and in Kanchanaburi, and played around with the stick on the beach a few times, but I had no idea that¬† first night when¬† I watched the show that by the time I left I¬† would light up and spin fire myself for the first time…and be changed by the experience forever!!

On Railay beach there is an awesome group of locals who spin fire, teach  rock climbing, dj at the clubs and meet people from all over the world who want to experience their home. It was such a great experience to have friendships with the people who make it such a fun and welcoming place.

Our first night everyone was super tired from partying in Phi Phi, so it was only me and Camille left to watch the fire show that night and experience The Last Bar, which literally feels like the last bar on earth. It sits at the end of the east beach, and is literally the last thing on the little strip. We would have both a Halloween in July party and a handcuff party (where you are handcuffed together for a whole evening, lol) in the bar, it was definitely the local watering hole.

We also had a cooking class one afternoon, a fire spinning lesson, a whole AWESOME day of rock climbing courtesy of Hot Rocks Climbing school, and many many beachy days in the sun.

I loved Railay so much the first time around, I decided I wanted to make it back a second time on my trip, which I did!

Railay round two was just as much fun as the first time around, but there was still Bangkok. Chiang Mai, Koh Lipe, to  go before I would make my way back there. Our group still had three final days in Bangkok together before we would all say goodbye and my solo journey would begin!

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