Since the life of a teacher is a very hard and stressfull one (stop laughing!) it is more than logical that we have some weeks off from time to time. I spent the last 3 weeks on the road while backpacking across Thailand and Kuala Lumpur. Here are some of my higlights.
Chiang Mai – Songkran Festival
The first stop was in the north of Thailand in the most beautiful city of whole Thailand. The Rose Of The North. Chiang Mai. While Chiang Mai is always worth a visit we although happened to choose the perfect time for a stay up there since we arrived during Songkran Festival and Chiang Mai is said to be Thailands Songkran capital.
As you can see during Songkran Festival Thailand went totally crazy. Water everywhere. Streets where full of people how threw water (hot and cold!) at each other. It was almost impossible to walk around Chiang Mai without getting totally soaked up. I have never ever experienced something like this. Wild & wet in a country where everybody usually pretends to be shy and calm. Unbelievable, strange and great fun for young and old!
But besides being wettened we although had time to do some great action stuff. We went to the jungle in order to be part of the “Jungle Flight” adventure. This is a guided tour through the rooftops of the rain forrest (all platforms built ecological!) with a lot of air & hangtime as well as some abseiling (40 meters yo!). Not much more to say about it. Not tooo much of an adrenalin boost, but quite funny. Especially the last 40 meter abseiling. Mission Impossible Style.
Oh and yes. There is another adventure that offers similar experiences. It is called Flight of the Gibbon. We asked some agencies that sell both tours and chose the “Jungle Flight” because they told us that Jungle Flight is completely owned by Thai people and Flight of the Gibbon is an Australian thing. Not that I do not like Aussies (oioioi) but we thought supporting the locals would be a good idea. That’s all.
History lesson – Sukhothai
After spending some days in Chiang Mai we took a bus from the bus station to one of the former capitals of Thailand. To Sukhothai. While Sukhothai city does not provide many attractions or sights (but our hostel was pretty cool!) the old and ancient city of Sukhothai awaits you with a whole load of history and culture.
Seeing these was not to easy since it was still Songkran time and the people in Sukhothai went as crazy as the people in Chiang Mai. For us, it was even worse. There is only one big main road in Sukhothai and people simply blocked it, lined up on the left and right side of the road and threw water on everything that tried to pass. Even in our Songtheaw (you know the “open busses”). So we were completely wet without being able to defend ourselves.
After arriving wet but alive we tried to dry ourselves and then rent some bikes since this is said to be the best way of exploring Old Sukhothai. So we went off to the ancient grounds and weren’t able to put our cameras away for quite a while. The temples over here look quite different than those in Bangkok since they come from a time long ago. It was quite impressive to see those temples and the green surrounding. Totally unusual to what we have seen so far in the most parts of Thailand.
We spent the whole day in Old Sukhothai but were far away from seeing every district of the old capita. In� fact we only made it through the main district. There are 4 other districts that we weren’t able to see. So if you really want to get the full load of it you should come very early and prepare yourself for a good hike or bike tour without many rests. If you try this or of you stick to our relaxed route, Sukhothai is worth a trip. And until next year you will even stay dry.
The Beach – Krabi calling
When we finished our history lesson and recovered from the fun – but although stressful – Songkran Festival we were looking forward to some beach time. So we went down to Bangkok, took a flight (last minute with Thai Airways. Great deal!) to Krabi and couldn’t wait to see one of the most famous backpacker beaches around. But in order to see this beach we first had to go to Ao Nang (kind of the island intersection down there – connects many islands with each other). From there we took a longtail boat heading for famous Railey Beach. Short before entering Railey we talked to another backpacker. He told us he had been there before and he would recommend to stay on board until the longtail boat reaches “Tonsai Beach” since Railey is full of resorts and for families. And so we did what backpackers do – believing a total stranger and heading to Tonsai Beach.
And man. The decission wasn’t that bad. No tourists, only rock climbers and locals. Totally out of season and therefore not much to see or do, but what the hell….paradise was there! The beach is not made for easy swimming or sunbathing but that is not what you do on Tonsai Beach. Hanging out at the bar, the jungle or the rocks. And enjoying the basic nature and its beauty. With Railey in walking distance (during low tide) we were still connected to the “mainland” and able to book a tour to all the other famous islands.
all inclusive horror
As mentioned above we booked a tour to see the other famous islands. Koh Phi Phi or Maya Beach (“The Beach”) for example. But here we can keep it short. It was the living hell on earth. Typicall all inclusive tour (didn’t find anything different though). 20 speedboats heading into the same direction at the same time. So people everywhere. No single free spot on Maya Beach or Phi Phi. It totally sucked and made us speechless due to it’s enormous amount of sucking. And it is not easy to make us speechless! The only fun thing was the snorkeling in the end since there were a heck of fishes and other sea life to be seen. But the tour was one of the worst I ever made. So we were happy to be back in paradise by night.
Sadly our time on Krabi had come to an end. So we went back to Bangkok and stayed there for a while. Since I already posted a lot about Bangkok on this blog I keep this part short. We spent some decent time up at the Baiyoke 2 tower, visited some temples (Wat Pho, Wat Prah Kaew, The Golden Mount) and ate a LOT!
Bangkok was, despite it’s business, a very chilled and relaxed time and perfect for me to get my mind clear for my next adventure. The trip to Kuala Lumpur. But before talking about it big thanks to my travel mate Georg (he took the cool ones) for taking awesome pictures and coming over!
Short trip to Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia
After saying goodbye to Georg I went to Kuala Lumpur. Well first I went to the immigration office at the airport since my dear college over here at Udon Thani forgot to tell me (I quote: “Sascha, no need to go outside the country. Everything is fine with your work permit”) that I have to leave the country every 3 months. Leaving the country and coming back again will extend my visa automatically. But just staying is not working. Even though I have a one year working visa. So I had to pay 20.000 baht fine (about 470 Euro) before I was able to enter the plane to Kuala Lumpur.
From then on everything went very well and you can read a review in greater detail over there at the backpacker where I already published my post. But in order to say something over here too: It was awesome. If Kuala Lumpur would have direct access to an ocean, it would be perfect. It combines so many things. Many different cultures (really a melting pot) from muslims over hindu to christians & chinese and different lifestyles and architectural styles as well. I am pretty aware of the fact that Malaysia is not a perfect country and that they have many problems too, but Kuala Lumpur itself – as a city – is awesome and combines everything I ask a modern city to be.
More information & pictures as always on facebook.
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