Thailand? a fabulous cauldron of culture, history, humanity, fun, nature.
What amazed me about this land? the paradox. One moment you feel lost on Mars, the next moment a Thai took you where you wanted to go, without speaking a word of English and without knowing the streets of the city? where does she live. All for 50BHT (just over one euro).
IS? the place pi? different from your home than you could ever imagine, yet after a day you feel at home.
Chiang Mai - Ever since our taxi ride to the hotel, I've had that familiar but rare sensation of love at first sight to a place. This man-sized but vibrant city vibe fills your heart and soul. The average Thai n? understand well n? speaks English well. We made the bitter discovery the first day, when I decided to leave the house to look for a taxi. If you are outside the tourist center, don't expect a girl in the street food booth to understand the word 'taxi'. You will have to mimic it;)
Some places in Chiang Mai should be visited first, to make sure you don't miss them.
- Wat Chedi Luang: this temple should be seen for at least three reasons: one of the parts of which? composed ? very ancient, and therefore very different from us? that you will see in the rest of the places of worship more? famous; the interior of the temple? wonderfully decorated; in the external courtyard, under a tree, you will find a small group of young monks available to chat with you.
- Wat Srisuphan and saturday market: in the lively setting of the saturday market, you will see a silver temple as small as it is incredible, especially if you can see it with the lights of sunset. The Saturday market? one of the most? beautiful that I have seen, you will find yourself from food to souvenirs, from art to silver, which clearly (by bargaining) you can take home practically half way? of our market price.
- Talat Ton Lam Yay: the fantastic market of flowers (and leaves!), Where the locals go mainly to buy what will be the offerings to the Buddha in the temples. You will pass by photographing everything as stupid and observe the perplexed (but still smiling) looks of the sellers.
Dedicated to one of the two excursions that brought us more? "far away": the national park of Dei Southep. Here is one of the largest temples. famous, immersed in the fog of a mountain, which gives it an interesting suspended atmosphere, a pity only for the hordes of tourists. We reached Doi Suthep with a flat-rate red taxi, and then we were also taken to the falls. What waterfalls? Boh! I pointed out to the taxi driver some Waterfalls indicated on the Lonely Planet and he, after nodding and repeating? Aah yes yes !? a couple of times, I get the impression that he took me to the first waterfalls that came to mind. Anyway, ? was a nice hike, the place? little inflated by tourists and you have the possibility? to take a walk in the forest and be surprised by spiders more? biggest I've ever seen.
Day dedicated in part to one of the most? highlights of the whole holiday: the excursion with elephants. I forbid you to leave Thailand without being hugged by the rough trunk of an elephant rescued from some camp. One of the centers found on Lonely, the Retirement park, was perfect for us and we chose that. But lately there are a lot of them, thanks to tourism more and more? aware that he refuses elephant back excursions and any practice involving forcing and captivity. At the Retirement park, you can have bananas stolen by year-old elephants and take a nice mud bath with a pachyderm. All very sweet and fun!
The rest of the day? been dedicated to a massage at the Thai massage conservation club: in this massage center where the masseurs are exclusively blind, I started my massage experience in thailand. You ask for a traditional Thai massage, thinking you will have an hour of relaxation, and then find yourself enduring a kind of 60-minute torture (but, as they say,? It? Sa good pain !?)
Day dedicated to the long journey to Ko Phangan. Wake up early, Chiang Mai-Bangkok flight, another Bangkok-Surat Thani flight, bus to Dongsai Pier and, finally, about three hours by fast ferry (...) to finally reach the island. After several adventures to find our Airbnb host, we reached the villa we had booked and we chose a very crowded place to have a (bad) dinner in Thong Sala.
The first day on the island we dedicated to the discovery of one of the most? uncomfortable to reach but what? also revealed the pi? absolutely beautiful. Hat Yuan, a beach on the east coast, like the others on this part of the island (the most beautiful) can only be reached by long tail boat. Next to it, Hat Thian, where you can also get there by taking ten minutes of invigorating walk in the forest starting from Hat Yuan. Pi? small of Hat Yuan, potentially heavenly, but unfortunately more? dirty, it houses only one structure, what will you do? eat only healthy food. If you will be so? on time to arrive by 14pm. Otherwise it closes.
About five o'clock are we back in civilization? and from? at home, to take a dip in the pool, get ready and go out for dinner. Having rented a car and bought a Thai sim, get around? It was immediately quite simple (right-hand drive excluded! But you get used to that too).
Day dedicated to Koh Ma: in the north-west, this beach must be reached both why? a strip of sand connects it to a desert island, both why? c ?? a small barrier where you can do some? snorkeling and see some colorful fish. This is if, like me, you are too poor for PADI. If you are rich and passionate, go for a dive starting from Chaloklum. They say (and I have proof!) That you see a lot of fantastic whale sharks. We dedicated an hour to a nice massage with coconut oil overlooking the sea.
At the end of the day we went to Hao Mae hat to see the sunset. It is a beach where you can watch the sun disappear into the sea while sipping a Chiang and taking pictures of bathers. Evening spent in a Franco-Thai restaurant reached by enjoying the ups and downs of the Phangan hinterland.
We returned to Hat Yuan with a view to spending the night in a bungalow between the sea and the forest, booked two days before by telephone by calling Barcelona bungalows directly (one of the two resorts on the beach). During the day we returned to Hat Thian for a few hours to take a swim up to its beautiful platform with hammock and a "walk" on the burning rocks in search of a place to dive.
At around 19,30 we went to the bungalows to get ready, we had dinner at the restaurant perched on the rocks, a wonderful structure entirely made of bamboo, where for? we ate quite badly given the excessively spicy soup, what about us? been revived twice. From here, we crossed the forest to reach the Guys Bar in Hat Thian, where Friday? let's party. Caught by the usual tropical rain, we soon escaped to our shores and ended the night taking a bath in the warm water of Hat Yuan.
Day lived in full relaxation, in the initial intention of returning to civilization ?, choice which? then it was nicely circumvented due to the tropicalization that caught us. Both we moved from Hat Yuan only in the afternoon, we rented an aqua scooter with which we whizzed freely for half an hour along the east coast of the island, then move and spend the sunset time at the unique Amsterdam Bar, where the view ? amazing. And not just the view.
Day spent in the famous Bottle Beach, on the north-east coast, reached from Chaloklum via a long tail boat. Less popular than Hat Yuan but still very nice and full of services. In the beach restaurant I ate a very good and equally spicy prawn salad. Between hammocks and coconuts, the day? sprint.
The second day dedicated to the trip, this time back to Bangkok, is undoubtedly the most popular destination. paradoxical of this adventure.