It’s been a contrasting experience going from the freezing temps of Nepal to the tropical climate of the Thai islands, spending my time here shirtless and with the same pair of swimming trunks for the past three days.
I wasn’t even meant to come to Thailand but my good friends who I worked with in Barcelona, were going to meet here for the holidays. My arm was easily twisted to fly through the land of smiles (and delicious cuisine), when my friend Tiffany found a ticket that was cheaper flying through Thailand than going straight from Kathmandu. Thanks Tiff!
I arrived to Chiang Mai at Nai Boutique House, where the girls were staying, and crashed on the floor on my yoga mat. After some of the places I’ve stayed in, this beautifully decorated room with the most exquisite blue mosaic tiles in the bathroom was a treat to sleep at.
As I sit for breakfast in the beautiful gazebo up on the rooftop terrace, I’m so happy I decided to change my ticket to arrive 12 hours before planned and escape the tourism that has plagued Phi Phi Island (what I am sure was a low key island before all the party seekers turned it into what appeared more like Ibiza than Thailand).
Luckily, I only needed to use Phi Phi as a base to getting on the Maya Bay Sleep Aboard tour, which was filled with a fantastic group of people.
We kayaked, snorkeled, swam with illuminating plankton in the dark, slept under the stars, and had an unforgettable experience at “The Beach” where Leonardo DeCaprio filmed and put Thailand on the map to a generation of us, who have dreamt of visiting Thailand because of the torquoise water, white sand and avataresque landscapes.
Before getting to Maya bay, I spent two nights at Railay Beach at the Princess Resort. What used to be a very hippy, Rastafarian land (and still maintains this chill environment) is now more catered to families and those seeking more quiet. This time, I found that the tranquility was more of what I was seeking than the party with buckets of booze.
I spent my hours there sipping on coconut water, mango juice, eating papaya salads and experimenting with Thai dishes. Loved the vibe at Panang Restaurant, while enjoying beers at the outdoor deck facing the beach and lounge deep house music. The staff was friendly and the mix of local and western clientele was at a good proportion. Moreover, it was great slowly transitioning out of my silence by meeting fantastic individuals while on this island.
Even though I feel that I’ve bad mouthed Phi Phi (while putting Maya and Railay Bay on a pedestal),
I have to say I had the best meal and iced Thai coffee at Grand PP Arcade and the most delicious Pad Thai at Lemon Resto at about 80 Thai bahts (~$3), which is a deal considering the exuberant island prices.
It is just my first few hours in Chiang Mai after an easy cheap flight last night (~$30USD), and I’m so excited for what’s ahead.
I’ve already gotten a more chill and relaxed vibe, even though I’m not in the paradisiacal environment of southern island life anymore, my few interactions with locals has been the best so far. Stay tuned on Snapchat for more to come from 23-26 of December. Then it’s back to family and friends for me, which is never a bad thing to return to.