Ayuthara, an old city outside of Bangkok, was very cool and not what we expected, as it is still a functioning city. You have these temples and ruins that are hundreds of years old, scattered throughout a living modern city- It’s exactly as odd as it sounds. We rented bikes and pedaled between temples with the help of some French travelers we befriended.
It was at this point we were shown the app “maps.me”, which is the best travel app ever. Literally. It uses the satellite in your phone, so when you have wifi you download a county’s map, and when you’re out exploring, you can use the offline map to see where you are, where you’re headed, and what’s around you. It’s pretty great.
The other good news?
The overnight train was a success, and we managed to find our hotel, and after resting we wandered another 20km around Chiang Mai.
All in all, we love Chiang Mai.
The bad news:
Very quickly with backpacking, you are confronted with the dilemma of materialism. Your shoulders ache from the weight of your bag, you reassess the value of every item on a regular basis (more often when you’re constantly packing/unpacking), and you cringe at the thought of packing even more.
For many, it is an eye opening experience, and often liberating by the end. Why do we value the things we do? What purpose do they serve and what do our lives look like without them?
Well I can tell you exactly what my life looks like without my Fujifilm waterproof-shockproof camera:
My bag is not lighter, I have yet to experience any sense of “liberation”, and an entire memory card with 3 years of pictures now floats (ahem, sinks) somewhere along the Mae Ping River.
After realizing that I would’ve rather lost ANY other item I have with me (yes mom, even my passport), it stings, but it’s not the end of the world.
We continue on from Chiang Mai today to the “hippy” town of Pai.
All the best,