CHIANG MAI: LADYBOYS, TEMPLES AND BABY ELEPHANTS

Wat Rajamontean, Chiang Mai

My next destination after travelling round the south of Thailand was Chiang Mai, via Bangkok. For reasons unknown, I’d decided that New Year’s Day was the perfect time to travel to Bangkok and booked a ferry and overnight train. After a heavy few nights on Koh Phangan I definitely regretted this decision on the day. Though I wasn’t having nearly as bad a day as the guy who had to run to the edge of the pier to vomit in the sea. I stayed a night in Bangkok in Unitato Hostel. While this lacked any atmosphere it was a great hostel – clean, large rooms, unlimited free breakfast that included cereal, toast and drinking water, and friendly staff. There’s nothing to say about my time in Bangkok as all I did was shop and get lost in shopping centres.

I decided to fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, as it was only £26 and I didn’t fancy the horrific combination of the night train and then a long bus. This was my first time going it alone after splitting with everyone from the tour, I stayed at Spicythai because I’d stayed there in 2013 and loved it. Out of all the hostels I’ve stayed in so far this is probably the most sociable. As soon as I got there I made two new friends and went to look around the temples with them. We covered Wat Rajamontean, Wat Lok Molee and Wat Chedi Luang. Although there are many, many more temples in Chiang Mai to explore.

Wat Lok Molee, Chiang Mai Wat Lok Molee, Chiang Mai Wat Lok Molee, Chiang MaiWat Lok Molee, Chiang MaiWat Rajamontean, Chiang Mai Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai

I also tentatively signed up to a hostel trip to the ‘ladyboy cabaret’ that evening, not knowing what to expect. It was essentially a lot of ladyboys miming along to songs and dancing. We all had a great time having a sing-a-long, and one lucky guy got pulled up for a lapdance. But beware the table servers who will keep any change for your drinks without asking. If you do ask for it back they’ll say something like ‘noooo, for me!’ until you cave like I did because I am weak. This photo with a Rihanna look-a-like after the show also set me back money. Suppose they’ve got bills to pay.

Ladyboy Cabaret, Chiang Mai

We then all moved on to Zoe’s, the main backpacker club in Chiang Mai which plays some banging music but, like all nightlife in Chiang Mai, shuts at 12. After a quesadilla at ‘Tacos Bell’ round the corner a few of us decided to call it a night and head home. Obviously via the 7-Eleven, where I was ecstatic to discover a vegetarian toastie. It was mushroom and cheese in a croissant-like pastry. I know it sounds weird but it’s delicious – this was maybe the highlight of my trip so far. 

On my 2nd day in Chiang Mai, having chickened out of both ziplining and ATV riding, me and 2 other girls went to Art in Paradise – which is a 3D art museum. It’s basically a load of paintings that are made to look 3D, and you can pose in them and get some photos that will definitely fool your friends into thinking you’ve been eaten by a crocodile.

Art in Paradise, Chiang Mai Art in Paradise, Chiang Mai Art in Paradise, Chiang Mai Art in Paradise, Chiang Mai Art in Paradise, Chiang Mai Art in Paradise, Chiang Mai

It was kind of pricey to get in at 400 baht (£9), but worth it if you have a day to kill and you want a new tinder profile picture. We went to a vegetarian place for lunch recommended to us by the hostel staff – Imm Aim. As we had one vegetarian and one vegan in our group of 3. The food here was so good – I had this avocado and vegetable pitta, unfortunately they were out of vegan brownies 🙁

Imm Aim, Chiang Mai

That night myself and another girl from our hostel went to Chiang Mai night market to have a look around and have dinner. The market is essentially the same crap you find everywhere in Thailand. There are some nice things I definitely would buy if I had more money/I was going home sooner. It’s definitely worth a look. After eating some street food we had dessert. I can’t remember what these things were called but they were like banana pancakes with Nutella and they were absolutely delicious (how could they not be). I joined in pre-drinks and played some drinking games including a thoroughly confusing game of 21. The great thing about this hostel is that it has one big table that everyone gathers around every night, so there aren’t any separate groups and it isn’t awkward if you’re a bit shy.I didn’t go out because I had to be up early to go and see the lil baby elephants (eee)

Night Market, Chiang Mai Night Market, Chiang Mai

Me and 2 guys from my Thaintro group decided to book onto the baby elephant experience at Elephant Rescue Park – which was 1800 baht. Only one of the guys managed to show up for the bus that morning, and we later found at dinner that that was because he’d been up all night making sweet love to a ladyboy. We had a lot of elephant facts thrown at us at first, before changing into our sexy uniforms for the day (don’t be jeal). We then trekked with the elephants, took numerous selfies with them, and finally bathed them. We then got a delicious buffet lunch, and then, the highlight of the day – a free t shirt.

That night the two boys, another girl from the tour and I went for a meal at New Delhi. Which I can definitely recommend if you fancy Indian food. We then went to Zoe’s. The boys, having had a rough night were being incredibly boring and so I went off to find everyone from the hostel. After Zoe’s closed we went to Spicy’s, a dodgy nightclub that apparently pays the police to be allowed to open later. At some point in the night we were ushered out of Spicy’s and into some kind of dingy cafe next door. When that closed we went somewhere even more dodgy, ducking under the shutters into some kind of mock English pub. At about 3am, we all returned to the hostel to watch Madagascar. Rock ‘n’ Roll.

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