It’s time for my visa run, which means I have now been living in Chiang Mai for almost a month. And you know what? I have turned into the worst explorer ever. Go ahead and call me lazy because I really can’t think of any excuses for my lack of motivation, or maybe we can just blame it on what feels like 40+ Celsius weather…yeah, maybe that’s a better idea.
I may be calling Chiang Mai home for the summer, but the truth is that I really don’t know this city all that well. I thought I was fairly familiar with my neighbourhood, but then the other day the tuk-tuk driver was driving me back home from the train station and we went past a bakery shop behind my apartment building that had completely gone under my radar.
A bakery shop…
Just ten meters behind my apartment…
Pies, cheesecakes and chocolate croissants for the taking and this pastry gourmand was completely oblivious to it.
But it’s not just about the bakery shop. I haven’t been to any of the main sights or even the ‘lesser known’ attractions around town.
I almost don’t want to admit this, but I saw more of Bangkok in one day than I have in Chiang Mai over the course of an entire month! What is happening to me?!
I was reading an article a few days ago about all these free things you can do around Chiang Mai and I was surprised by everything that’s out there. You can go cliff jumping in the nearby canyons, go climbing on the ‘sticky rock’ waterfalls, and even catch a free documentary in town every Thursday night.
Where have I been hiding?!
If a friend of mine were to arrive in town tomorrow and ask me to show them around Wat Chedi Luang, I would have to pull out a map and try to figure out where it is, because sure, I can see the temple from my rooftop, but I’ve never actually been there.
So what exactly have I been doing with all my free time over here?
Oh you know, developing an addiction to banana-mango-coconut smoothies at Dada Kafe, sampling food at every Mexican restaurant in town, visiting Mrs. Pa’s fruit shake stand at the night market, and slurping on pork dumpling noodle soup with lots of chilli added. I’ve been…eating. And for the sake of salvaging the situation, I’m going to argue that eating is a ‘great insight into the local culture…’
Since time is ticking down and I already have a few side trips planned to Southern Thailand and a few neighbouring countries, it’s time to kick this thing into action – no more lazing around Chiang Mai!
I am making a list of what I want to do during my time here, and unlike my Korean bucket list, I intend (for starters) not to lose it, and also to cross off as many things as possible over the coming months. So here it is:
– go zip-lining through the jungle with Flight of the Gibbon; this could be a fun way to spend my 26th birthday
– visit the Elephant Nature Park and spend the day playing with these gentle giants
– visit the Wat Sri Suphan, the Silver Temple, which apparently is right by my home
– go to the Saturday Night Market
– and then go to the Sunday Market because one market is never enough
– catch a free documentary at Documentary Arts Asia on a Thursday night
– visit Wat Chedi Luang because seeing it from my rooftop doesn’t count
– go white water rafting and try not to fall overboard
– reach the top of Doi Suthep, the mountain which overlooks the city, and visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, the temple which sits atop
– and perhaps also go adventure caving
I’m going to try to squeeze in as many of these activities as possible of the course of the summer, so wish me luck!