Up Hill Both Ways
This weekend was the first long weekend that I had in Thailand. Although I originally wanted to go to the islands this weekend, I decided against it due to the popularity and inflation of price for the holiday. So instead, I went to Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai is one of the biggest cities in northern Thailand. It is very historic and extremely beautiful.
Our journey began on Friday afternoon when we made our way from Chonburi to Bangkok to catch our overnight bus. We were able to get some amazing food from the mall in Bangkok before heading to our station to check in for our 12 hour long bus ride.
The bus left around 9:15pm. Because of the amount of people going to Chiang Mai, there were three different buses. We gave our luggage to put underneath one bus and then were directed to get onto another bus. When we got on, the seats reclined back to about a 45 degree angle. We also received a small box of food, water, and a blanket. We stopped at one bus/rest station on the way.
We were supposed to get to Chiang Mai around 7:30am. However, due to being stuck in traffic in Bangkok for FOUR HOURS, we didn't get there until about 10am. Once we were there, a few other passengers and I realized that we were the only bus. The bus with our luggage on it was nowhere to be found. Lauren, who has been in Thailand for about a year now, was able to communicate with the bus driver as much as she could. After about 15 minutes of trying to communicate with the bus driver, we found out that the other bus would be there in about a half hour. So we waited. Buses came and went, passing by us getting our hopes up every time. Then, like a light sent from God, we saw the bus that our luggage was on. That bus came and went to. Lauren called the company and the company had to play phone tag with that driver until they finally informed him to make a u-turn and drop off our bags to us. We were ready to explore Chiang Mai around 11:30...four hours later than originally planned.
Once I dropped my bag off at my hostel, I changed and met up with Kathleen and Cicely from my orientation. They met two Canadians at their hostel who told them about a place called The Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is a quarry that has a water park of inflatables on one side, and cliff jumping on the other. It was a fun way to cool off and let our inner kid out.
That night, we went to the night market and got some amazing food and window shopped.
The next day, Laura, Lauren, and I decided to hike the Monk Trail, or Dio Suthep. Laura looked it up online and saw that it was only a 2-mile hike to the top where a magnificent temple and an amazing view await.
After walking up the steepest hill known to man, we were finally at the entrance. We began our hike. It was challenging and through the jungle, but it was absolutely beautiful.
After about a mile of hiking, we came to an opening. This opening had a breathtaking view of Chiang Mai along with a waterfall and some amazing architecture. It was home of Wat Pha Lat; a small Buddhist temple and monastery hidden in the woods.
From there, we were directed toward the road to finish our hike to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. When we got back on the trail, we realized that it was still 7 kilometers away...just a little bit further than we thought. We kept walking and walking up hill until we finally saw cars and people at the front of the temple. We waited for Lauren to finish the hike before we went in. While we were waiting we discovered that the hike had actually been about 10 miles. According to our phones, we had walked 101 flights of stairs. And yes, our buns were burning.
**All of my pictures had loads of people, so here's one from www.adventureswithdan.com
We sighed and then tackled the stairs. We had already walked 101 floors, what's 5 or 6 more?
Once we were at the top, we sat and got water and ice cream before wondering around.
We went out to the viewpoint and realized that all the walking we had done paid off. The view was absolutely breathtaking.
We made the executive decision to take a songthaew back down the hill and into town.
After we made it back and showered, we went out to eat (where I got amazing Pad Thai and even better Oreo Cheesecake), and then went to the Sunday market. The Sunday market took up several streets that had been shut down. They had everything from food to clothes and accessories. It was one of the best markets that I have ever been to.
Around 7pm, it was time to head to the bus station and get back on the bus for another 11 hour bus ride.
We got home to Chonburi around 12pm.
While the weekend didn't go exactly as planned, it was still an amazing and active long weekend. I will definitely be sore for the next few days!