Chiang Mai, Thailand
Guess what everyone? We've won an award!!! Already, I hear you ask. Yes. We won the "Hottest Room Ever" award in Chiang Mai. I will try to begin to describe the unstoppable and suppressive heat that we endured in our 4 bed dorm in Chiang Mai, but words may fail me. It was roughly 40 degrees INSIDE our room, with a fan the size of a small root vegetable (think baby new potato). Oh, and the walls were just windows, so it was basically like being in a greenhouse. Fun! If you'd like to endure a similar experience, stay at Nok Yung Guesthouse near Tony's Big Bikes. Most people come to Chiang Mai for trekking opportunities in the jungles of Northern Thailand, to attend a cooking class, or to chill out in the hippy old-town and see some temples.
Now, don't get me wrong, I like a good temple, and they are almost always visually impressive with lots of intricate work on the inside and out, but there comes a time in a man's life when he's seen enough. Wat Doi Suthep was one of the most beautiful temples we've seen so far, but on the way back I said to Lucy, "Lucy, I think we've seen enough temples for a bit." She wholeheartedly agreed, and so hopefully we'll be ending the epic temple viewing tour of 2014 at Doi Suthep, and moving on to other activities.
After the temple, we went on an epic bike tour to try to find some waterfalls. We rode about 30 minutes north of Chiang Mai, on the big roads, and then cut off towards Mae Sae on our quest. First we found a mile-long stretch of road that appeared to be a graveyard for businesses that were destined to fail, my favourite of which was the Snake Farm. When we stopped for lunch and directions we were told that the waterfalls were essentially all dried up, as it was the end of the dry season. Ahh, awkward! We persevered nonetheless as the scenery was pretty spectacular as we were now in the foothills of the jungle. When we finally arrived at what could have been a waterfall at 4pm, we were asked for 100Baht each but told that the park closed at 4.30...so £2 for half an hour. It was an awkward end to our search, and we returned to Chiang Mai (and our sweltering room) still hot and sticky.
We didn't do any hiking, and to be honest, Chiang Mai was OK, it wasn't great, it wasn't bad, it was just ok. There's a pretty big sex tourism business by the looks of it, which Chiang Mai doesn't really care about hiding, and after the crazy love-hate relationship we had with India, we've found Thailand's travel-friendly attitude a bit boring!! But I guess we shouldn't look the gift horse in the mouth.