Articles tagged with: Solo travel Thailand
Snap some shots at a Chiang Rai flower market. Head back to pick up bags from The North hotel. Then 90 seconds to the Chiang Rai bus depot. A red bus this time. Local “milk train” bus. Three tiny ceiling fans. I head for the long back seat so I can put my backpacks in the large open area between me and the regular double row of double seats.
An hour is not enough time to get there. Again I am a monsoon by the time I concede defeat. Am past where the map indicates he lives, when I show the address to a woman standing with friends down an alleyway. She calls the number. She talks in Thai. She tells me to go stand on the corner I just rounded and someone will fetch me. And so it is I meet Buppha when she picks me up on her scooter. Takes me to their house. Serves two scrummy dishes she’s cooked, fresh, spiced, nutted, then goes off to her shop near the night market.
No sooner than I am settled on my belly wondering which way to put my head as only at one place in Thailand did I get a massage bed with a hole for your face or head to settle into that I had thought was standard, she is on top of me. Elbows, feet, heels, hands, fists, full body weight at the ready.
Many people travel with someone who is not fun to be with because they feel they cannot travel alone. And many people don’t travel because they don’t have the right (or wrong) person to travel with.
And that’s a real shame…
Near the city gates in Chiangmai on Saturday night is a fabulous street food market frequented by locals and tourists that stretches on and on and has irresistible “everything” from whole fish being grilled over the fire, coated in coarse salt, to fat prawns and squid and — you name it. Smells, visual temptations and fresh fruit stands.
Walk down my side of the Ping River to upscale coffee shops and arty places. At some point across the Ping to Talat Warorot, which I now know is Chiangmai’s oldest and most famous market. Right next door to Talat Ton Lam Yai, which is the city’s fresh flower market.
The young monk’s English is broken, but OK. I have been surprised at the unselfconscious lack of English to date. “Thailand has never been colonized,” the young man explains. Guess a self-confidence comes with that. Of “just being Thai.”
He says here in Thailand they belong to the Theravada school of Buddhism. Asks me if I know anything about Buddhism. I tell him I lived for three years at the San Francisco Zen Center. Have meditated for many.
The swashbuckling mystery man from the tow path near Oxford writes, the night before I fly out: “You going to Thailand? On a whim? For four weeks? Wow. Well, if you find yourself in Chiang Mai or Chiangmai https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiang_Mai , you might want to look into the ‘monk’s chat’ option. You go talk to a monk at a monastery. It’s so they can practice their English.”
At some point, suddenly, a wind comes up and the rain comes down and huge umbrellas are dug into the sand and staff hold onto them to keep them planted and the fairy lights twinkle and people laugh and it’s all delightful.
A walkabout in the village and down a side street brings me to a food market. It’s hot. Humid. The market is buzzing. Veggies, fish, meat, cakes. People frying stuff. Grilling stuff. And Markets are always places to be trigger-finger happy with a camera, aren’t they?