Chiang Mai

We arrived the Arcade bus station the next morning at six o’clock. The sun was just about to rise and it was my first really day in Asia where I would be experiencing a proper sunrise in the early morning hours. As expected, we were welcomed by several Tuk Tuk and taxi drivers who were eagerly awaiting our arrival. With a kind “no,no” I started walking away to get out of the hassle, to find some quiet time in order to understand the scene more properly. Then I decided to trust my feet the most, put the big backpack on my shoulders and started walking away. I asked where the river would be since that’s where the place was located which I had looked up in the Lonely Planet. It was only three kilometers away. Even though I looked like the only one who wandered the early morning streets without real pavements, having a huge bag on the shoulders, it was fantastic. I didn’t feel lost as I knew that there would always be the option to ask a local for help. I tuned my internal compass into the direction where I saw all the Tuk Tuks move towards. This had to be the right direction to go. This seemed like the smartest way to adjust my strategy towards at 7am in the morning.

According to the description in the Lonely Planet, the accommodation in Chiang Mai had a small pool and a gorgeous rooftop terrace. It turned out to be a very Asian looking place. The rooftop terrace was not really as I expected, or let’s say my European perspective was altered. A five minute walk from the place, one was able to reach the so-called Sunday Walking Street, a street full of plenty of small little shops. Sometimes I got the feeling that everyone would be making their living by selling clothing or colorfull items or being a taxi driver. Maybe this was rather a sign that I was following the paths of being a tourist and should rather change direction. I could understand those Thais though; tourists bring the money so that’s where the cash is. I was wondering how much the average Thai was earning.

The town was indeed my cup of tea, compared to Bangkok I really liked the calmness. It was greener and smaller and not so air-polluted and crowded. I spend most of my time roaming around streets. The zoo was pretty cool as well. I wasn’t there for the purpose of seeing animals in cages, but rather for being able to admire the beautiful vegetation. I loved sitting on a bench in a rose garden and observing flowers and feeling the humidity on my skin. Some dears and rabbits were standing in the limelight. Thais must have seen some European attraction in them. Again, I seemed to be the only one who was walking the entire place by foot, yet it was so worth it regardless of the 35 degrees outside. It felt like I was still adjusting to the climate and I wanted to stretch my limits. A taxi driver who seemed to take a rest standing on the side of the road. As I passed by, he turned out to enjoy the “pleasure of life” by himself. Again, I wasn’t really following the masses here with my walking around and I doubt he expected anyone to see him. Yet I saw it.