Leaving behind the mountainous land of the elephants, not to mention the lovely weather, we were back in Bangkok on our last few days in Thailand. Although Thailand’s cityscape is not as bright as the likes of Shanghai or Singapore, I was still impressed by the sights we witnessed as we took a dinner cruise along the famous Chao Phraya River. The food was admittedly nothing special, although there was a lot to choose from right from pasta, to sushi, to the usual Thai fare. There was also some entertainment on board, a lot of singing in all different languages. The singer assigned to our ship was actually quite talented, and almost all the things she sang seemed convincing enough since she got all the Russians and French to sing along with her.
What I liked most about the cruise was the wind, and the illuminated grand temples and palaces of Bangkok. The golden structures looked like they were shimmering because of the yellow street lights, and from where I stood on the ship, they reminded me of the pagodas from one of my favourite movies, Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. There was simply something mysteriously magical about how they glistened in the night like that.
The weather that night was also quite chilly, and I’m not sure if it was because we were on a boat in the middle of a river; nonetheless, it made the experience quite memorable. Despite the ongoing ruckus with all the people dancing to the singer’s songs, I felt the cruise was a nice moment of peace. There were moments when I felt like there was just my camera and I looking out on the cityscape, the music distant and the wind blowing on my face.
I’ve always felt that elephants are given less credit and attention than they should be. A lot of cartoons depict them as giant dim-witted oafs, and they are anything but! It’s actually quite insulting to how intelligent they truly are. Elephants are amazing creatures. They have eyes that look either somber or all-knowing, but after seeing the elephants or changs in this camp, I would add ‘mischievously sparkling’ to that list of descriptions.
After a day of canoe-induced shopping, we flew all the way to the northern part of Thailand, to the lovely mountainous city of Chiang Mai. The weather was a hundred times more fantastic (and more like the December weathers I’m used to) than the sizzling heat of Bangkok. We finally had a chance to wear our scarves, but mostly for the fashion of it. The days aren’t hot, but neither is it cold enough to merit sweaters. For the most part, cardigans are enough to keep you rightly warm, especially during the evenings.
Chiang Mai is known to be the cultural centre of Northern Thailand, and its many temples or wat are among the most noteworthy in terms of architecture. We went to the Wat Phrathat first, which is a temple sitting atop a mountain called Doi Suthep. To get to the top, there is an option to climb the 309-step stairs, but one can also take the tram for a price 30 Baht (applicable only to foreigners, locals ride it for free).
While I haven’t been able to pay off even close to half of my enormous amount of sleep debt, it’s certainly no excuse for me to have taken this long to write this post (or neglect my blog for that matter), and for that I apologise. I was so meticulous in choosing the photos and planning them out that it took me nearly forever before I could finalise them all! But be sure that I’ve got tons of photos and things I want to talk about, so I’m separating the whole trip in to four long, but hopefully not boring, posts. I hope you’ll enjoy (and forgive my blabbering)!
It’s been a couple of weeks since we got back from Thailand, and I do miss the clever elephants in Chaing Mai dearly, but mostly I miss the smells of kaffir leaves and pad thai from every single meal we had. To tell you honestly, I was feeling sick during the plane ride over to Thailand, and the small legroom in the plane did nothing to help me and my long legs. When we got to our hotel in Bangkok, it was already midnight. After so many adventurous years traveling abroad, by now I was already used to traveling well into the wee hours of the morning, but it was certainly my first time being sick. Half a good night’s sleep later, I was raring to go like I always am when we’re in a new country!