In all the previous posts related to my Thailand travel, I shared some strange, adventurous and joyful moments of my journey with you all.
Do check out my previous post(s) on Thailand travel series listed below.
#1 The Road Not Taken
#2 A Break To Our Expectations
#3 The Odyssey Begins
#4 A Juicy Landing
#5 A Murky Twilight
#6 The First Day Fun With Food
After a long time, I am going to reconnect with you all and continue from where I left off. So, here we go! I am back to keep up the excitement as promised.
Finally, there came a day after a really long time when I slept like a log. You already know by now how I was ready to drop on my bed the other night. By the time I woke up the next day, I felt like it was only a moment ago I went to sleep. They say a sound sleep can heal one’s body like no other medicine. It proved to be just right in my case.
After I woke up, I sat on my bed for a while before getting ready to go out and explore Chiang Mai in daylight. I always have an unseen problem in adjusting to my surroundings when I visit a new place. But that day, I felt different. Not even for a moment, I felt like I was away from home or among strangers. The first thing I did as I woke up was to observe the dorm room. There were 5 bunker beds and 10 occupants, including us.
I saw that a few of them were packing their things to venture out and were ready to leave, while some were waking up like me and talking to others, and few were still asleep. By then, Ashok was already on his toes and was pushing me to get ready as soon as possible. His prompting worked, and in the next half an hour, we were out of the hostel to start our adventure.
One brilliant plan that Ashok had was to search for the bike rental shops nearby and keep the information handy so that we could rent a bike on the way back from the temple. We did bookmark a few shops on the Google Map. Our plan for the day was to have a light breakfast and visit ‘Wat Phra That Doi Suthep’. Then we could decide the course for the day later.
Traditional Thai Breakfast:
As we reached the main road, I spotted a mobile street food stall nearby. The vehicle on which the food vendor was selling food was like a two-wheeler with a sidecar. But here the difference was the replacement of sidecar with a small countertop on wheels. The stall served a traditional breakfast that is quite popular in Thailand, Kai Jiew, which is a Thai style fried omelette served on a bed of Sticky Rice (Khao Neow) and topped with Thai Sriracha sauce (a typical Thai chilli sauce).
It was intriguing to see how rice is widely used in Thailand, just like India. My love for rice is so much that I cannot live without it. So naturally, when I spotted my favourite combination, which is egg and rice, I instantly fell for it. We ordered two plates of ‘Kai Jiew’ with sticky rice. The previous night’s experience of finding a vegetarian meal forced me to learn a few words in the Thai language, which could help me communicate with the vendors. One such phrase is ‘Mâi ao kâ’. ‘Mai’ loosely translates to ‘Don’t’ and ‘Ao kâ’ means ‘I Want’. I tried to identify these words when the vendor was talking to me so that I could convey what I want and what I didn’t.
The lady who was serving the food at the stall was very patient with us. When she pointed out the fish sauce bottle and said something in the Thai language, the only word I recognised was ‘Ao kâ’. As I didn’t want fish sauce in my order, I quickly signalled NO to her. As I said no to fish sauce, she asked if I wish to have Soy sauce and I nodded YES to that. Like this, the 14 days long stay in Thailand was ‘The Game of Dumb Charades.’ I would like to think that I succeeded in that. Coming back to the breakfast, the omelette had a crispy outer layer and a runny yolk inside. It was a filling breakfast for 20 Baht.
Our First Ride in Songthaew:
Now that the breakfast was over, the thought was how to reach the temple. One of the cheapest ways to reach the temple is by a ‘Songthaew’. Let’s see what a Songthaew is.
A songthaew is a red coloured shared taxi that is most commonly used as a means of transport in Chiang Mai other than bikes. We decided on going to Doi Suthep in a songthaew as it was very affordable for a 15km ride. The driver asked for 50 Baht each for the trip, but we bargained, and he agreed for 30 Baht each. I was very excited about the ride in a songthaew and could find a corner seat for myself in the taxi to get a broader view of the city.
One of the reasons people visit Chiang Mai is Doi Suthep. Doi Suthep gets its unique attraction because of ‘What Phra That’ that is located at the top of the mountain ‘Doi Suthep.’ The name ‘Wat Phra That’ means, ‘There is a relic of Buddha’s in the sanctity of the Wat’, ‘Wat’ being a temple. The route that led to Doi Suthep wasn’t like any other route. It was a mountain passage filled with greenery on either side of the road.
Trees with verdant green leaves stood tall on both sides of the road. The leaves filtering the sunlight through them left a dramatic imprint on the surface of the road. Road transport is not the only way one could reach the top of the mountain Doi Suthep. It attracts many hiking enthusiasts, which is why every now and then I could glimpse a few hikers on our way. The taxi ride took us nearly 45 minutes to reach the entrance of the Wat and every single minute of that journey was worth it.
There is a lot more to come in this temple expedition, but you have to wait as it would take another post to wonder at the marvel of it. Thats all for today folks. I sign off with a hope to see you soon!