Thailand Part 2: Chiang Mai and Kanchanabury: Coffee, zip lining and tigers oh my!

And this is part two of my travels through Thailand, particularly Chiang Mai and Kanchanabury.

Chiang Mai is a lovely little city, said to be the intellectual centre and former capital of the old kingdom. We stayed at a beautiful and cheap place called Namkhong Hotel which was just outside of the old city gates. 250 baht per night. Very helpful staff, including Noo who also arranged our day of zip-lining (thrilling! Got some good videos made here) and a tour to see the long-neck tribe – the women who wear heavy iron rings around their necks in order to extend their neck, making them “beautiful.” (Some cultures, to me, are odd.)

One of the best things about Chiang Mai is the, you guessed it, coffee! You know how some of those coffee bags we buy back in Canada say the beans came from “Asia-Pacific”? Yea, southeast Asia is in there, including northern Thailand. Fresh Arabica coffee here I go! So as my travelling companion is knocked out from the nasty dengue fever, I hang around only two places: the healthy breakfast shake place in the morning, and Momo’s coffee shop in the afternoon. I managed to get quite a bit of writing done on those two days (sorry babe!) and get the third draft of The Musician done. I also brought back a kilo of coffee from Thailand (in addition to the kilo from Laos. Can you imagine the looks of the pretty airline bag checkers who politely told me that my luggage was overweight when they saw the bags of coffee?)

Zip lining is an interesting experience. We zipped for two hours and after that, I was pretty zipped out. Every time I zipped from tree to tree I couldn’t help but think about how far it was to fall. The guides, however, were having a ball. All spoke pretty good English and acted like monkeys, seriously. These guys would zip upside down, side by side, laughing and howling all the way. Is it the Jungle Book that has the monkeys that are always laughing? I can’t remember, but these guides reminded me of cartoon monkeys.

After Chiang Mai it’s back to the bustle of Bangkok for a day before taking a bus to Kanchanabury. We leave our bags at our hotel in Bangkok (which I didn’t know you could do. You can check your bags for as long as you want and they’ll keep them under lock and key for you! In theory, you could move from, say, Korea, with a lot of junk, then check your bags in Bangkok, and travel around SE Asia for an extended period of time. 10 Baht per bag per day.) From Bangkok we go to Kanchanabury.

There isn’t much in Kanchanabury except relaxing and wondering how those non-flush toilets seem to always maintain the same level of water. Oh, and tigers! The visit to the tigers is quite expensive, $30 for a 45 minute visit including some free photos. But if you want to have that memorable tiger-on-your-lap photo, that’s another $30. 😦 So we settle for the free photos. There were tigers of all ages. The cutest were the 4 month olds. It is here, amongst the tigers, that I think about the headlines that report a child or tourist being mauled to death while on vacation and the powerless trainers watching in horror. It is because of those types of episodes that there is a code of colours to be worn: no orange, pink, or red. The trainers wear those colours and the park doesn’t want the tigers to think you’re a trainer. And neither do I. I choose to wear black, and the shirt shows the amount I sweat because there are salt rings all over. Yummy.

After Kanchanabury, it’s back to Bangkok. My friend books her ticket to Siem Reap and I put off booking my ticket back to Canada for another day.

Thailand, I can see myself returning… if only to see the ping pong show.

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One Response to “Thailand Part 2: Chiang Mai and Kanchanabury: Coffee, zip lining and tigers oh my!”

  1. Coffee and Coffee Shops in Asia « S.O. Blog Says:

    […] Chiang Mai, Thailand: […]

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