After I had finished school in Sweden, I went to see the world. My flight took me from Stockholm to Bangkok in Thailand – the kingdom of tuk-tuks. Early in the morning it is already boiling hot and I fail to find my hostel. I am feeling miserable and am hungry. Somehow I manage to get there using a free tuk-tuk but must promise to come back if I need a ride later. Well … I am sorry.
Because it is too early to check-in I am dropping my heavy backpack and am heading out to explore the city and the cuisine. It doesn’t take long until a local approaches me and gives me advice on what to see and what to do in Bangkok. He tells me about a ”Buddhist holiday“ and flags down a ”free” tuk-tuk to organise my day’s itinerary. It must be my lucky day! I hop on board and soon realise that my driver bypasses the sights and instead cruises to the overpriced tailor shops. Am I really looking like a bloody tourist who carries a suite for the next couple of weeks? I am leaving, but the tuk-tuk driver insists me to pay him. Most expensive ”free“ tuk-tuk ride I have ever had.
The next day, I continue my journey to Chiang Mai – the biggest city in Northern Thailand situated amongst the highest mountains of the country. The streets and temples are filled with monks dressed in their orange robes. At the local market, you see them collecting alms early in the morning. On an adventure tour I am riding elephants, visiting the Kayan people, trekking in the jungle, and am floating down a river on a bamboo raft.
Chiang Mai has over 300 Buddhist temples, but I can’t get enough and I am heading to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep for the sunset overlooking the city from its mountains. At the entrance vendors try to sell you singing bowls, kids in traditional costumes want you to take a picture and pay for it, and shoes are piled up in every corner. I certainly don’t like these crowded places, but its nice to sit down watching the tourist hustle and bustle.
After five days I am leaving Thailand and am moving on to Laos. It was harder than I thought to find a bus that actually goes all the way from Chiang Mai to Luang Namtha in just a day. A short stop at the Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai and hours later, I am receiving a briefing from the bus company just before crossing the border from Chiang Khong to Huay Xai. Corruption is commonplace and I must not pay anything to anyone except of the visa fees at the immigration office. Finally, I arrive in Laos, but the bus is already two hours late and we have to hurry up.
Check out all photos from Thailand at flickr: sebblsphotography