Jet lag is real! I've been completely exhausted since returning from Thailand on Saturday. Oh yeah, I went to Thailand! Haha.
My cousin Ui and I settled on this trip two months ago. And our excitement grew exponentially since that time. Actually... There may have been a slight decline in excitement when our other cousin and third member of the Thailand trio bowed out of the trip the same morning we were supposed to fly out... Oh well, the show must go on! And it did. 20 hours of flight time later (including four layovers) Ui and I finally landed in Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai is about an hour's flight north of Bangkok and known for the manufacturing of Thai goods like silk, umbrellas, silver and tourist trinkets. We were slightly worried because Chiang Mai was hit by a monsoon the week before and local news reported heavy flooding. But it was as if Fate wanted us to explore Chiang Mai without an Ark because it didn't rain until we left for Bangkok. Ugh, Bangkok... I'm not ready to discuss Bangkok and how the city practically Hangover 2'd us... haha. If you do make it out to Thailand, I insist you visit Chiang Mai. The city, with it's laid-back atmosphere, was comprised of identical looking streets offering ever-changing surprises. On one street sat a whole chain of massage parlors (So cheap!). On the next street, an ornate Buddhist temple (Monks!). I tried to take it all in while riding in our first tuk-tuk (motorized rickshaw) but the various sights and smells (fried pork!) were a blur.
What to do in Chiang Mai? I definitely recommend a tour of Maetmann Camp - kicked off by an elephant show (they paint?! They kick soccer balls?!), Ox pulled cart rides through the rice fields, elephant trek to the local town and back to the camp, buffet lunch, scenic bamboo rafting trip down the near river and a tour of an orchid/butterfly farm. Costing a grand total of $33, this was definitely the most bang for our great American buck.
In comparison, Bangkok was congested and chaotic. After being impressed by our posh hotel lobby and breakfast, we felt completely duped when our room looked like a dumpy motel crime scene from a CSI episode. Our one bright spot was hitting up MBK (one of the largest malls in Bangkok) and being overwhelmed by the amounts of designer merchandise (7 floors of clothes, electronics and furniture!) - whether they were real or great knockoffs was another story... I dare you to NOT buy a leather Mulberry wallet for $15 or two Ralph Lauren polos for $18. Haha!
All in all, it was a great trip. I just wish I slept more. But sleeping is for the grave. And I intend to wear my new Ralph Lauren digs till the very end.
Samoa in December!