Wonderful Chiang Mai

We’ve been in Chiang Mai for 1,5 days and we love it! It’s much more quieter and calmer compared to where we were. It’s located roughly 700km north of Bangkok and it’s surrounded by hills up to 2km. Our flight to here took about 1h10m but there’s also an option to travel by bus or a train (roughly 10-12 hours). Bangkok is a great place to visit for up to 5-6 days but we wouldn’t have wanted to stay longer.

Our Hostel here is great! It’s located in a quiet alley and the breakfast is just 25m of walking in a cozy cafe plus there are several dishes to choose from. As in Bangkok the hostel is located very near to the main city attractions. We have a huge bed 2×1,8m (or even wider), a TV, refrigerator, a fan + all the other conveniences. Only weird thing is that for some reason we have besides the bedroom and a toilet/shower a separate room with just a small sink. Don’t know why but we don’t complain – we got a 3 room accommodation :)! In addition there are 3 really cute hamsters in the lobby (in cages:) ) who we greet every time entering the hostel :).

Yesterday we just looked around in the neighborhood, visited the local Warorot market, had an exquisite cup of iced latte for 35 baht (most likely we will visit that place every day we’re here, we already did today:) ) and also a huge portion of Tom Kha Kai chicken coconut soup for 70 baht. It was delicious!

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Today in the morning we stumbled upon a small adventure. Our original idea was to have a small walk in the old town when we were approached by one of the tuk-tuk riders. He said we would take us on a trip around the old city for 1 hour. In the beginning it was 150 baht, then 100 and in the end 50. The usual stuff :). At the end we agreed with 50 but of course we knew that there was some sort of a catch. First he drove us around on different streets, made some stops for pictures and we also visited a very beautiful temple.

At some point though he took us to one of the Thai silk shops where there was also a small handicraft factory (as said in the beginning something like this was expected). For a moment we looked around but after that there was another stop in yet another handicrafts place. It turns out that for every time a tuk-tuk driver takes tourists or just passengers to the shop they will get a stamp. If they get together 10 stamps then they are provided with free fuel. At first it was a bit uncomfortable going through these totally overpaid shops (all in all we visited 5 different places) but since they weren’t too pushy in the shops and the driver still was a nice guy plus we got a 2 hour tuk-tuk ride around the town we were actually quite amused with all of it going on :). Wouldn’t do it again but for one time it was fun:)!

In the evening we went for our first massage in Thailand. Although there are many places in Chiang Mai top-rated by tripadvisor and similar sites today we just walked around and went for a place what seemed cozy and offered a good price. And it was worth it! For 340baht in total (8,7€) we both got an hour long massage for feet, back, neck, head and shoulders and it was extremely good! In a matter of fact I actually loved it and we will definitely go back! At some point it was actually a bit painful but you just feel so much better afterwards! I don’t understand why massages cost so much back home!

Anyways there are still so many things to do here in Chiang Mai and I already cant wait for another day to start! Tomorrow we plan to visit the local zoo and we need to get an early start.

I’m also making a video or two of Chiang Mai so you could get a better overview of our adventures.

Until next time :)!

Chatuchak market and our final day in Bangkok

It’s quite difficult to describe Chatuchak market. As they say on their web page – if you can dream it then most likely you can buy it from the market. It’s located roughly on a 1km x 0,5km area + numerous shops surrounding it. There’s just stalls after stalls after stalls and in fact based on different data all together 15000-25000 of them (try to imagine 25000 stalls in your head:) ). And in each and every one of them somebody is selling something. It’s sounds like a madhouse and it is but actually I really liked it. No-one was too pushy, they let you look around without a bigger hassle. And the food + all the snacks were also good (like in most places in Bangkok). Somehow we managed to evade the shopping craziness and bought ourselves only new pairs of sunglasses for 39 baht (1€) each since we actually don’t need anything. We will do our Thai shopping before we leave Thailand 🙂

In the evening we went to Khaosan road for the last time, had some food and a bucket. A bucket is a very popular thing over there. Basically for 150 baht (3,8€) you can get a relatively big bucket full of either rum or vodka based cocktail. We had rum with coke and actually it was really good! If you someday find yourself in Khaosan road, definitely have yourself a bucket :)!

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We also had a little show while eating. As said in some of the previous posts its rather common to see squirrels, rats and different insects and animals on the streets. Today, when we were eating a delicious Pad Thai with Egg and Shrimp we saw a lonely cockroach having an evening walk on the streets. Then a small mouse appeared behind the lamp post, tried to snatch the small thing and almost succeeded. But only a second later a huge rat jumped out from a hole nearby and in turn, as it seemed, tried to catch the mouse and because of that cockroach got away. At the and at least this time everyone got away with their lives. Just a normal dinner in Bangkok :).

Next post will be already from Chiang Mai. Thank you Bangkok for all the craziness you have to offer :)!

Some relaxation time

For the past few days we have taken it slowly and just rested and relaxed. We’ve looked around in our neighborhood, visited some parks in our local area and looked for different interesting places to eat. Below you can see a picture of beautiful Saranrom park which is just a short 7 minute walk from our Hostel.

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Besides everything mentioned above we took a trip to National museum of Bangkok today. It’s a really good place to get an overview of Thailand’s history and I would recommend a visit. There is a huge number of things to see although some parts were currently under renovation.

All of Bangkok and most likely all of Thailand are preparing for the King’s funeral which is going to be held at the end of October. A lot of places are closed and renovated or just decorated with black ribbons, pictures and different ornaments.

When we’re currently not outside looking around we are staying in our Hostel room enjoying air conditioning, reading a book, surfing through internet, watching movies, educating ourselves or working with pictures and video in my case. To be honest it still feels like that we are just travelling as normal and in a couple of weeks we’ll be flying back home although we actually came here to live for half a year :). I think it just takes some time to get used to.

We’ll be staying in Bangkok for 2 more days, on Sunday we’ll go to see what Chiang Mai has to offer :). Tomorrow’s plan is to visit one of the biggest markets in the world – Chatuchak market.

Regarding the weather it’s getting more tolerable by the day, especially in mornings and evenings. Luckily we haven’t had any sunburns or other similar issues, our legs just have to get used with all the walking. Of course we would have an option to use more often some sort of transport but actually we enjoy walking and the more exercise the better :)!

 

Bangkok is truly city of life

There’s just so much going on in here. Doesn’t matter where you are or what time it is there are people around talking to each other, selling their goods, just having good time or trying to get your attention with magical words of “tuk-tuk” :). You can see an overview of our first days in Bangkok from the video above.

But yesterday in the first half of the day we visited 2 different temples called Wat Pho and Wat Arun. It’s just unbelievable how much work and handicraft has gone into creating such pieces of art. Every detail is handmade with great precision. Currently a lot of temples are being renovated, I presume it has something to do with the oncoming funeral of the King. Because of that the biggest temple in Bangkok, The Grand Palace, is also closed but luckily there’s a lot of other beautiful places to see. During the temple visits we also crossed Chao Phraya river which was an adventure by itself although it lasted for only few minutes. But let’s just say that the traffic on the river here is the same as on the roads.

We also caught our first rain. So far it has sometimes been raining during the night but yesterday for about an half an hour around 11 it was just pouring down. Rains around here are something different then back home but during hot days the’re actually quite refreshing.

Besides that we have now got our first tries of local foods from places where basically the only way of communication is body language. But is has been fun:) And foods have been great. Tom Kha soup that Anna tried at dinner was eye wateringly spicy but otherwise it has been ok:).

In the evening we visited Lumpini park which was actually very nice but it seemed that there was a marathon going on although it was just an usual Wednesday. I guess it’s normal when there are so many people living it the city and not much places where to run. After that we went to one of the many sky bars here in Bangkok. The cocktails were rather good (and of course expensive – 800 baht/20 € for 2 drinks) but what we and I especially enjoyed was the view. It’s just something special to have such a great look at Bangkok night skyline.

The last stop was infamous Soi Cowboy red light district. Yes there were a lot of beautiful women (probably) and also a lot of not so beautiful ones. And in some cases you could definitely tell that it’s not a woman that you’re looking at. But all in all it was just one street where all that happened. On the surrounding streets there were just a huge number of massage salons where (I think) you could probably get whatever kind of massage you like. I know that there are also 2 other regions in Bangkok with similar things going on but it seems that generally these areas have been reducing compared to years back since legally it’s still not allowed. Although it definitely brings in a lot of money. But the main thing is that now we’ve seen it. All the services provided will be for next time.. or next life. Who knows 🙂

Lastly one sad thing is that during evening or near nighttime there are a lot of people sleeping on the streets with just their bags and other belongings next to them. Unfortunate that there are so many of them but at least it doesn’t get cold at night. Generally there’s a very big gap between so to say rich Bangkok and poor Bangkok. I hope that they manage to close that gap somehow in the future without damaging the cultural richness that Bangkok has to offer.

Sending a lot of sunshine back home:)!

The Golden Mountain, Sampeng market and endless shopping malls

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Our day began quite early at 7:30 when there was only modest 28 degrees outside :). After a quick breakfast we visited the Golden Mountain from where you could see beautiful scenery of Bangkok skyline and enjoy the hilltop temple. It was a nice mixture of nature and architecture since the temple itself was built on a rather high mountain surrounded by greenery and flowing water. Definitely would recommend to visit!

Next we set our steps towards Sampeng market which is near the local Bangkok Chinatown. By the way what I wouldn’t recommend is walking outside for a longer period around midday when the sun is at it’s hottest. If you do, definitely bring a lot of water. Luckily a 1,5L bottle is only around 10 baht (0,25€). But the market itself is made up of one long alley (actually I don’t know how long exactly since we walked on it for 1,5h hours and it seemed liked several kilometers but we didn’t reach the end) and a lot of streets crossing it. Rather crowded but the prices were very reasonable and you could find almost anything. Best way to describe it is Aliexpress, but not online :).

On second half of the day we visited the Siam area which is known as the shopping hall center in Bangkok. There were many different shopping malls situated one after another, we only walked by most of them and spent a bit longer time in MBK center. But if you want, you could spend several days in there. Mall consisted of 7 floors with hundreds of smaller and bigger shops on every floor. The main reason we went there was that I needed to unlock my phone which I bought for the trip. Apparently it was locked for Asia region and some hacking needed to be done. As it turns out it’s quite common issue with phones bought outside of Asia but don’t worry – even only in that shopping mall there were about 100 booths where you could do that.

We ended the evening in a nearby cozy cafe and some delicious snacks from the horde of street-food trolleys located in every corner. Everything related to coconut is just indescribably tasty here! Today we had some sort of pancakes made from coconut and they just melted in the mouth!

A list of animals we saw today on streets – a huge rat who jumped on Anna’s foot so a loud scream echoed through Bangkok, superfast squirrels who ran on top of the thousands of electric lines in the city, a frog, some lizards and a bunch of (supposedly some stray and some not) cats and dogs. I’m really sorry for those guys in here because all they do is they are constantly out of breath and move slowly towards the nearest shadow.

In some other comments I also started keeping a budget of our costs to make some summaries of our expenses. I will share it at some point later on.

And finally soon there will also be a Youtube video of places we have and will visit in Bangkok.

Until next time :)!

 

A long journey and first impressions of Bangkok

First of all be warned that this post will have quite a lot of pictures in it :). So be patient scrolling through them :).

After about 20 hours of travelling time we reached Bangkok today. But before I get to that, here are some comments and pictures about our journey.

Since we had quite a lot of time in Helsinki airport before going to our Bangkok flight we went through most of the places and shops Vantaa airport offered. You could sum it up with quite many buzzing people in the middle section of the airport and calm Nordic quietness in the outer parts. And of course really high prices.

But what we liked most was a book changing room, basically a library, which was very cozy and filled with sounds of nature.

Secondly there was an interesting separate room filled with sleeping pods which this time we didn’t use but I think it would be quite an interesting experience 🙂

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Our flight was delayed but luckily only by 20 minutes. Getting on board was quite tricky since a huge number of people wanted to go also :). Based on last years Bangkok is still the most visited city in the world.

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Our plane was actually relatively comfortable and it looked brand new. Seats could be lowered by quite much and on-board infotainment system was spot on! But still, 8465km and 9 hours and 30 minutes can be quite exhausting 🙂

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But now – Bangkok. Well, for starters although we knew it beforehand it’s still extremely hot and humid in here. Within minutes you are literally soaked no matter what you do. Every once in a while you just have to step into some sort of store or public transport to be cooled down by air conditioning. And everywhere you go you will be greeted with lot’s of different sounds and smells. Some of them good, some not:). And it’s not even worth mentioning of how crazy the traffic is in here. Zebra crossings and traffic lights are more just a recommendation, not law. At first it seems very different to what we’re used to but even with one day you slowly start to blend in with all this craziness.

On our first day we just checked in to our Hostel (after 2 hours of different trains and walking), walked around in the neighborhood for a while and visited Khao San road where we ate dinner and just looked around.

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And of course at least in my opinion had one of the best ice creams ever! Coconut ice-cream straight from a coconut 🙂

Besides that we bought some snacks – crispy silkworms which actually don’t taste very bad 🙂

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Before ending this post here are some last comments

Firstly – there are Buddha statues literally everywhere.

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Secondly – I wonder what is the average life expectancy of an electrician in Bangkok. Because all the electric posts looked like this 🙂

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Time to end now :). Thanks for reading and new post about our adventures in Bangkok will follow soon!

Everything’s packed and we’re ready to go!

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Tomorrow our journey begins. Everything is set and now we just have to get to the plane. From Tallinn to Helsinki and then Bangkok. Flight will be roughly 10 hours so most likely a lot of movie watching and reading will await us. We are travelling with 2 large backpacks with one smaller one that can be put into the bigger green bag while walking.  And we will have a lot of walking 🙂

Excitement is high and thoughts are already in SE Asia! The next post will be from Bangkok. I will give you first impressions as soon as possible:)!

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