Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chiang Mai, Thailand

I was determined to trek in northern Thailand for that was my reason for enduring a rough 14-hour overnight bus ride from Luang Prabang, Laos (it was another sleepless night). Thus, I headed to Chiang Mai after one day in Chiang Rai.

Chiang Mai is touristy, but much calmer than I expected. Besides the numerous temples, there were massage parlors, and Thai cooking schools. And most of the Thai people are so friendly, not to mention the cheap food and accommodation (cheaper than Laos). No wonder why people keep flocking to Thailand! This is a town that I could spend a week living during my next visit!

I did end up joining a touristy activities tour. Basically, in the span of a day, I went trekking to a waterfall, rode an elephant, visited hill tribes and went bamboo rafting. There were only three of us on my tour; I assume Lonely Planet’s negative implication of these touristy tours deterred many backpackers from joining. I actually enjoyed my tour as my Thai guide displayed excellent customer service and knowledge of the area (unlike the guides in Vietnam).

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