A Guide to Northern Thailand.
Trip Roundup! 16 days in Northern Thailand. After nearly 2 months in India, our two weeks in Thailand was a bit of a flying visit, but it was nice to go back to somewhere we've both been before. It's also amazing how clean everything felt compared to India! We spent a couple of days in Bangkok and then headed north. It felt like we saw about a million temples, and all of them look pretty much the same to be honest!
Best meal: Oli: The Massaman Curry we had in Sukhothai...it was epic, and you had to order it in the morning, that's how much prep it took
Lucy: I don't really like Thai food (awkward!) so my favourite was an amazing Malaysian Penang curry from the same restaurant as Oli's epic Massaman in Sukothai.
Worst meal: Oli: None to speak of.
Lucy: As before, I don't really love Thai food, particularly the breakfasts.....so I always go for a western one. Sadly, the muesli with yoghurt, aka condensed milk, was RANK.
Best place: Oli: Pai. It was so quiet and peaceful and we could just drive around as we wished. Only ruined slightly by Songkran, which meant people went mental!!
Lucy: Pai -- it was a dream, for loads of reasons, and I can't wait to go back and stay at Pai Bamboo hut waking up to the sound of elephants trumpeting.
Worst place: Oli: Probably Chiang Rai...but we spent a night there on route to Laos, so it feels a bit harsh. It was also full of Thai partiers for the New Year.
Lucy: Chiang Mai, which was weird as it's my third time there.....this time I didn't trek and saw the city for what it was. A seedy dump.
What we wished we'd known at the start: Oli: Songkran is kind of fun for a day, but it goes on too long, and the Thais become a malicious group of people without care for yours, or other's, belongings
Lucy: We read it in our guidebook, and scoffed at everyone who dramatically told us 'ahhhhhh it's going to be soooo hot when you get to Asia'. But Oh Em Gee it's scorchio. I wish I'd brought a portable air conditioning unit.
Best experience: Oli: Probably our cooking class...it was really good fun, and we were pretty good at it!
Lucy: As above.
Worst experience: Oli: Probably Songkran. Getting soaked while walking the streets with all your worldly belongings, while looking for somewhere to stay. Dull.
Lucy: Missing the weekend market in Bangkok.....gutting! I'm genuinely planning our trip so we get back to Bangkok at least once on the weekend.
Books read: Oli: Still ploughing through Shantaram!
Lucy: Only one, as I can't read on the bus (boo!). Lucy Sullivan is getting married....another Marian Keyes. I'm so boring!
Lost along the way: Oli: Nothing I can think of
Lucy: Hairbands, so annoying.
Gained along the way: Oli: T-shirts (I now have 6 with me).
Lucy: Half a new wardrobe, thanks to 2 very fruitful days in Bangkok.
Most useless thing in my backpack: Oli: A jumper. It was between 35 and 42 degrees the entire time we were in Thailand...mental!
Lucy: My microfibre towels -- you get towels in most guesthouses/hostels out here.
If you come to Thailand you must try: Oli: To go to Pai. It was lovely, and weird!
Lucy: To get a scooter in Pai and explore the trippy, beautiful landscape. And eat shed loads of street food.
What we spent: Budget was 2,500Baht (£50) a day. We came in under budget at an average of 1,380Baht (£27.80) a day.
Useful links: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx">Fit for travel
In Summation We really got our culture on in Thailand. We went to Ayuthaya and Sukhothai, both of which have lots and lots of ruins, and ancient temples. Then we headed to Chiang Mai, where we cooked up a storm, and saw some more temples before chilling out in Pai.
Although it is quite refreshing to not have to worry about booking train or bus tickets like we did in India, and I do now appreciate cleanliness on a different level, it was weird to leave India after so long there. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Thailand, and we'll probably enjoy it a bit more in the south when we go back, but it felt so clean and clinical! Like, the bus actually left on time, and arrived on time. And it had AC!