After our flight from Hanoi landed in Bangkokg, we could get a direct flight at a bargain price to Chiang Mai, in the north-west Thailand. After Bangkok Chiang Mai is the second largest city in the country, with countless temples, a nice old town, several markets with endless creative and much home-thousand and catering facilities.
Chiang Mai is huge, surrounded by superhighways, shopping malls and pickup trucks. On a Erkundigungstour by motorbike, we temporarily had the feeling we head through the USA! After Vietnam, we were only really clear is how rich and advanced in Thailand compared to its neighbors. You spührt very well the decades of experience in tourism, and that the Thais do understand exactly how you can make good money with all the visitors. Despite ongoing political problems, it is the country still so good that more and more workers from Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia as "cheap" labor to flow into the country.
Our time in Chiang Mai, including Andy's 31st birthday, we mostly spent with wine and dine ,
Andy's Birthday cake
The flight from Vietnam to Thailand was sort of a journey from the vegetarian nightmare directly into the vegetarian paradise. The Thai food is and remains together with Italian cuisine, our number one! For this reason, I wanted to force Andy to attend a culinary school. Clever as he is, he has agreed, but under one condition: Either we go both or neither. You would not believe how tight me the angek% * !? has , Since the compulsory cooking school in high school I was not as long as in a kitchen in this hot Saturday at the "Cooking Farm". Even then I was demoted after a few lessons to Abwascherin, partly because I prefer to cook than did the other hand, the teacher quickly realized that it was for everyone involved the best solution ,
Anyway, we had a hilarious group consisting of French, British and Americans, and after a while I noticed that I was not the only one in the 35 degree hot room, the somewhat awkwardly fumbled :
But hey, with a little help I have cooked everything ready and I could even eat it! Andy has boasted in each of his dishes yourself and found everything better than he ever get served in a restaurant ,
What astonished us all, was that in each of the various dishes, really ANY, at least a spoon palm sugar belonged! And we always thought Thai food was so super healthy? Regardless, delicious was it and / or Other A is determined times of you come in Switzerland to enjoy our newly acquired cooking skills!
The day was more fun than I thought, and still I sometimes could not quite concentrate on cooking me :
One of the main reasons why we have traveled to Chiang Mai, was "Loi Krathong" (Festival of Lights), which is celebrated nationwide in Thailand on the day of the full moon in the 12th month of the traditional Thai Lunisolkalenders. The whole city was decorated with candles, flowers and lanterns on the river were Krathongs (floral or bread boats decorated with candles or coins) sent on their way, hoping all the worries and problems also swim away, and the future will bring happiness and joy. It was also interesting to watch how some men breast-deep a few meters further downstream were in the water to popeln the lucky coins back out , If the time does not bring good karma!
Everywhere huge Khom Loy were purchased (lanterns), inscribed with wishes and sent into the sky. Truly a magical sight, especially in the temples, where the monks have helped the visitors with the lanterns.
From Chiang Mai we took a day trip to the Elephant Nature Park made. A wonderful place, founded by a dedicated and loving animal from Thailand, where abused and injured elephants are cared for and protected. Some of them lived in Bankgok where there are mainly four-ton animals known to place a penny to sell souvenirs to tourists. Other elephants were injured by traps or mines, and still others could no longer use as work animals in the woods and they were therefore useless. So in this park you can not get to ride on the giant, but to watch them, to feed or shower. Since the pachyderms are no longer needed as work animals (partly because hardly any trees are present, it applies to transport, on the other hand because it is prohibited), there are hardly any other "applications" than tourism. Gives place to live in the wild and there are hardly any that would be difficult for animals that have been previously made by people "docile". From this perspective the only reason is to work as tourist vans often why the animals are still alive "may", and often the only source of income of the mahouts (elephant trainer / owner).
In Thailand, one of the last natural areas of distribution of Asian elephants in Southeast Asia, the number of wild elephants is estimated at about 2,500 animals. Their habitat is, as in so many other ways, by increasing the agriculture of the population getting smaller, so that there are often conflicts between the interests of the people and the needs and the elephant for food and space. In 1900 there should have been approximately 100,000 elephants in Thailand, 1950, 50,000!
More beautiful it is to see that there are people who sacrifice themselves for the rights of animals and by all means try to protect or retake the destruction of their habitat.
In addition to about 30 elephants also also umpteen cats and dogs live in the park. Most of them were saved on the border with China, in the cramped confines transporters, on the way to the Chinese pots. What an irony after our trip through Vietnam.
Volunteers from all over the world to help in the care and preparation of food of elephants, which means a lot of work when you consider that a full-grown elephant up to 400 kg of vegetables and fruits per day consumed (approximately 10% of his body weight) !!!
Our last day in Chiang Mai we have devoted to the subject of personal hygiene:
2x inspection and cleaning at dentist uncle (for a total of 45.- )
and after a few rainy days in flip flops like 2x pedicure
Also important to mention is the bar called "Pentatonic" in the old city of Chiang Mai. How awesome it was to finally hear music again "right", and then yet to live. A shop full of Thai Metal-Heads songs and riffs of bands gave the best that they could never live experience almost certainly (and once again we were made to feel extremely privileged). Had we had a Ephedra stickers here, this would now proudly alongside all other windows from sticking
Pai, 30,000 inhabitants, 600 meters above sea
From Chiang Mai we went on a twisting road to Pai, where we were allowed to live in one of our Top 5 accommodations (Thanks again to Marisa for this hot tip!). The Bueng Pai Farm is just outside the Städchens, surrounded by rice fields around a small pond. From our terrace we had a wonderful view of the mountains and enjoyed the incredible tranquility of this peaceful village of. Definitely a destination where you could spend well over time, it is read with, hiking, yoga or Thai boxing.
Koh Chang, an island in the Gulf of Thailand
After 3 days in Pai we took the moped to the bus station to cope with the minivan from there the 500 curves back to Chiang Mai. After two hours of waiting we chugged the night train for 14 hours to Bangkok. Arrived in the capital brought us metro and skytrain to the bus station, where we have taken after breakfast the five-hour trip to Trat Next in attack. After arrival and re-enforced break, put the slowest ferry in the world going towards the island. And schwupsdiwups after 34 hours we are from the north-west of the country, near the Burmese border, all the way down to the coast, traveled 30 km from the Cambodian border.
In Koh Chang we enjoyed again the sweet idleness among other things, the beach and the sun.
Apart from the strenuous side effects of seafood soup in Andy's stomach, we were able to enjoy the island life really. Since our bungalow has anyway stunk of sewerage constant, fell Andy's regular and spontaneous visits to toilet also not large ,
Since the end of our dream trip is now already in frighteningly clear day, we sacrificed some hours of our "vacation" the subject of insurance and future donors ! Oh ... there is nothing better than to compare confusing supplementary to each other and to choose the right provider. Fortunately, we continue to receive valuable tips from our back office called Schwö AG with Suhr / Aaarau !
Yesterday morning we made our way from Koh Chang to Kampot in Cambodia. This was of course not without benefit of a corrupt border crossing. It seems that this decided at each border individually, how high the fees for a visa. At our border said some gentlemen were even armed with a thermometer, ready to put us into this ear, for the purpose of the Health Check of the sickly-looking Europeans. The cost of a routine examination at the Cambodian border somewhere in the nowhere, would have been too expensive almost certainly than in the rest of the country. So we declined with thanks and started right in the little cubbyhole with the negotiations of the current visa costs. The four uniformed men assured us that the prices in October were again increased, and showed us an informative letter with amount and stamp (maybe it was even a little animal-stamp). Long story short, we have finally agreed on a price and then found somewhere on a sandy place even a vintage minivan, drove us to Kampot. Here we are now, and let Cambodia affect us until we will take on Sunday in Phnom Penh a precious cargo from Zurich in reception !
More about Cambodia and the reunion then next time ...
Here is the link to all the photos from Northern Thailand: