<< Read Part 3

Northbound

Before leaving for this trip, everyone I spoke to about Thailand told me to go to the North, in the Chiang Mai province and the city of the same name. I just HAD to include it in my plans. Plus, it was the perfect way to get closer to Laos, through the North East region of Thailand to continue my trip!

So here I am, Northbound, on a night bus from Kanchanaburi to Chiang Mai.
Instead of a regular bus, I pay a little $10 extra for a "luxurious" VIP bus: my seat can go all the way down to sleep AND once on board, I realize that there's a bus hostess serving fresh beverages, meal and small cakes from the 7-Eleven… Wow!
It's a looong 12-hour route with a soft blanket to stay a little warm. The whole bus has black lights and psychedelic curtains (because why not?!), oh and there was also a disco mirror ball! Too bad they didn't turn it on!
Thais are so funny and cute at the same time! There's an extraordinarily corny side to this place: from karaoke music and its bad singers (who have no shame whatsoever, I admire them!), which you can hear in EVERY village EVERY night (no kidding), to the 90s-style ads and much more!

I arrive at 5:45am, Terminal 3, pretty weary and I wait an hour for my hostess to pick me up as planned… I think that's when I realized, while looking at Google Maps, that once again, I booked a place in the middle of nowhere (I've become an expert!). After the tranquility of a 10-day silent meditation retreat in the mountains, I couldn't see myself in a youth hostel dorm room in the heart of the city. Instead, I had chosen a cabin on a medicinal herbs farm of Chiang Mai. What I didn't know was that the city is quite spread out: I was 13km away from the old town, in nature and total isolation.


Ok… I was there, the place was nice and the owner absolutely adorable, so I decided to stay the full week as planned. My bamboo cabin was rustic and the idea of spending a week in this bucolic setting was exciting to me! The only downside: if I wanted to go to the city it was either by taxi (too expensive) or with a rented scooter for the week!

I went for the scooter and it was the best idea: I loved feeling like a "locale"! I was leaving very early, riding through the mist on the narrow country roads still covered with morning dew. I would see the merchants sweeping and cleaning the front of their stalls and would smell the little skewers cooking on charcoal briquettes on the side of the road.
Here, people live outside for the most part and everybody gets up very early (it helps that the rooster crows as early as 2:30 on some mornings...). You can go to certain markets at 5am to get your breakfast (rice porridge with meatballs and ginger :P). Then, I would drive into the city's traffic (with Google Maps in my ears because it's chaotic to drive around here, especially on the left side!!!). That was my routine to get to school! More about this next month!

 

 

<< Read Part 3   Read Part 5 >>

 


 

Many of you have met Véronique Laplante during her 3 years and more as Lotus Palm administrator and massage therapist. She is a dear member of the Lotus Palm family and we follow her journey with great pride and love.

She has graciously agreed to share with us her thoughts, experiences and photos while she is traveling through Southeast Asia.

We will publish her story over the next few months. Follow the guide!