I can hear you think: what? A whole country in one post? And the answer is: yes indeed! Traveling hard for about five months takes its toll: we are totally buggered and need a break. We had big plans to move on to Laos and then Cambodia and were then going to drive from Sydney to Perth in like ten days. The thought alone was tiring, so instead we decided to take it easy and move up our flight to Australia. We now have a whole month there, and we will do Laos and Cambodia the next time we’re in the area. So here’s our Thai story!
25 years ago I spent some time in Chiang Mai learning how to give Thai massages at the Old Medicine Hospital. It was a rather hectic two weeks and I can’t say I remember much of the actual city of Chiang Mai, as we were learning, practicing, studying and more practicing. When we arrived this time, it turns out that Chiang Mai is rather relaxed and a really nice place to hang out for a few days. We ate great food, did some awesome shopping and generally relaxed in a very chill area.
I also went to hospital for a checkup as my masseuse found a lump in my breast. Thankfully all is well and there is nothing to worry about. You can just walk into the hospital and you have all the tests done and all the results back within 2 hours. How efficient, you have to love it!
We took the day train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok: our last ‘traveling’: the hard way. Hard it was, and I would not recommend the trip at all! The seats we got were way too cramped (mental note: when they show you a plan of the train, white space does not mean there is space!) and the food was so bad, even hubby thought it was awful. The train was full to the max and changing seats was not an option. We were definitely ok with the end of our travels in Asia…
Bangkok did not disappoint, it was not as hazy as expected and our room was nice enough. We did some supermarket shopping and had a sandwich with cheese for breakfast! Yum!
Hubby’s former colleague has a house in Pak Chong and he had invited us to come and stay there. Since we had a few days to kill and the area where they live is quite interesting we went to visit. Unfortunately the colleague had to work, but his wife (whom we didn’t know) was kind enough to receive us.
We had a great time as she took the time to show us around the area and together we explored the Khao Yai Art Museum (small but phenomenal), the mushroom factory (a lot more interesting than it sounds) and a weaving village at Sikhio (where we got some great pieces!). But best of all was to be in a proper house again, with a garden and two adorable dogs and cooking in a kitchen. It was so inspiring because they built the house themselves as well as planted the garden. Both things we are about to do and so we took a lot of inspiration from it. We are getting definitely ready to move into a home again.
Back to Bangkok on our last crappy minivan ride. Man do we hate those things; we sincerely hope never to have to travel in them again!
When we arrived at the bus station we explicitly asked for a metered taxi, but the guy dragging my bag was a bit shifty and we knew we were in for a scam. He got us inside the taxi, with our luggage all loaded up, and then showed us the price list. From the bus station to the center of town: 1,500 baht (approx. US$ 50). Outrageous and that sure was not going to happen. We told him that was too much and he showed us another list. We were given a great deal at 1,000 baht instead! Probably because we were so nice? Unfortunately for him, we really were not in the mood for it. We got out, took our luggage and found a metered taxi that took us to where we needed to be for 200 baht, which included a tip. We won’t miss those ‘negotiations’ either.
Anyway, our destination was the Holiday Inn hotel where we checked in for 4 nights on points hubby earned while working in Mexico. For the money we ‘saved’ on our taxi ride we bought ourselves an ace bottle of wine to enjoy our last night on the continent. And, since we think of going to Australia more like going on a holiday, staying in this really nice place seems a very fitting ending of our retirement trip through Asia!