thailand

Where I Lost My Heart, Part Three: Chiang Mai

May 08, 2018



This story started here and tells how I found myself in Asia – Bangkok, to be exact – for the first time. It was an amazing experience! 


Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is the biggest city in Northern Thailand. Up till 1920, it was isolated from the rest of the country. You could get there on an elephants or fording through the river. You can really feel it there — the mountain atmosphere and former isolation created a peaceful, spiritual and harmonious place.

The center is built on a square plan and encircled by city walls. As soon as we got off the night bus, we directed ourselves into the walls, into the city proper. We encountered a cheap hostel on the spot, even though it was about 5 AM.

Of course, we had numerous ideas for how to spend our time there. We thought about an evening with Muay Thai or a (proposed by the boys) ping ping show. Ultimately there were four main themes to my Chiang Mai journey: trekking, temples, parties, and a tattoo.












thailand

Where I Lost My Heart, part two: islands

April 18, 2018



This story started here and tells how I found myself in Asia – Bangkok, to be exact – for the first time. It was an amazing experience!


Islands

The islands have their own micro climate. The aura is a bit different. No one is ever in a hurry. It can take thirty minutes just waiting for breakfast, but it’s alright. What on earth could be wrong?

We spent the most time on Koh Chang. It’s a big island that offers so much you can’t get bored. All our time was spent on travelling, meeting new people, swimming, partying and coming up with stupid ideas. It is true that Thailand is a totally touristic country. It has everything that young people with backpack could ever need. Luckily this island, Koh Chang, isn’t as crowded yet. I didn’t see even one loud beach even though I went to quite many.

We spent a few days on Koh Kood, a much calmer island. We competed on who’d swim out the farthest into the sea and fed fruit to the monkeys. We spent one whole day sailing and snorkeling by the nearby islands. It was then, when I was lying on the boat and had nothing better to do, that I thought of my first tattoo. No one will be surprised if I say it’s a compass. Three days later we landed in Chiang Mai and I had it done.

One time I talked Jaro into a trip that consisted of us just riding our scooters wherever. We rode on, constantly on the lookout for interesting spots, and we reached a few really amazing places this way. One of them was a fishing village built on stilts in the water. The houses weren’t really houses as we understand the word, just three walls and open space facing the pier. Everything made from wood and looking as if it was about to fall down. I spent quite a lot of time trying to understand the rules of the games played by the kids wading through the water, but there was no way. Maybe they were smarter than me and decided to gather up some seashells to sell at the local market.

We never hurried but still, the time on the islands went by too fast. Before we knew it we had to get going and set out yet again.















thailand

Where I Lost My Heart, part one: Bangkok

February 17, 2018



I’ve got to experience my dream journey. It was six of us that travelled, me and five more. There, in Thailand, I felt so happy I could scream. And I did, we all did.

It was a crazy and exhausting journey. The first crazy bit was that I didn’t even know any of my five companions. We got in touch with each other on the internet and just went for it. And when we reached our destination, the crazy was just about to begin. We hauled around our sleeping bags and backpacks, ever too heavy. We slept wherever we could: airports, buses, beaches, cheap hostels. We ate anything that looked edible. We bathed in cold water... when it was available, that is. We drank and danced all night, but still had the energy to traverse tens of kilometres during the day. We met tons of people from different countries, with different ideas for their future.

Bangkok, the islands, and Chiang Mai. In Chiang Mai, I got my first tattoo. On the islands, I fell in love with dashing down its spiraling roads with my scooter. And Bangkok... It is pure love and insanity.


Bangkok

My hotel, as cheap as they come, was on Rambuttri Street. An amazing place. Parallel to Khaosan Road, the best-known backpacker street in the world. They both do as they like at night, but Khaosan is so loud that you can lose your hearing. Rambuttri is like its calmer little brother. But no matter the street you’re at, though, the smell of coconut is there. It was stuffy, of course, and there were a lot of smells, but the coconut is like a trademark of the backpacker area.

I remember the days spent in Bangkok as a crazy kaleidoscope of joyful experiences. I was literally high on that place. I perceived everything in an entirely different way; positively as never before. Everything was just as it should be. I could sense that the chemistry of my body had been altered somehow, I was swimming in endorphins. I long so badly to return to that state.

We would cover about twenty kilometres every day. We saw loads of Buddhist temples and spending time inside of them filled me with tranquillity and joy. The most beautiful of them all is, I think, Wat Saket, the Golden Mount, from the top of which you can see the entire city. We burned incense sticks for Buddha and took hundreds of photos. No monk was left unbothered as I struggled for a perfect portrait.

That day we also visited the area with the river and Wat Arun, the Dawn Temple, beautifully illuminated after the sun sets. Thai people are amazing but also crazy, so it came as no surprise to us that while we were still walking the quay, our boat started to set off. We jumped onto the back of it at the very last possible moment. And that is how it all went.

In Bangkok, we also enjoyed a few crazy tuk-tuk rides. I think that the drivers make bets on which of them will scare some tourist the hardest. Maybe they keep score or something.

While we were on our way to see Wat Arun lit up for the night, we entered the Wat Phra Chetuphon temple complex. It was full of cats with the occasional monk passing by. Some women were removing New Year decorations. I remember how fascinated I was back then by the Thai lifestyle. By the fact that one of the most important words in their vocabularies is sanuk – which means something joyful, fun, relaxed. Why do anything that is not sanuk?

It’s hard to believe that I actually only spent three nights in Bangkok. We saw so many things! But the timestamps on the photos serve as evidence. We only slept for a few hours, the rest of the time we kept running around, trying to see as much as possible. That might be one of the reasons why I felt so high. However… later there were the islands and there was Chiang Mai, and the trip kept its double meaning. But that’s a story for a different day.




















About me

I am at a crossroads with several passions that, in general, may be described as words and sights. Formally, I'm a Polish Philology and Sociology graduate and right now I work as a TV editor. Not so formally, I’m just a word lover and an amateur photographer.

Here is another thought storage of mine, old, dusty, and abandoned, where I used to write while I was studying literary criticism.

© Sylwia Kluczewska