Laos and Northern Thailand
Chiang Mai Travel Blog› entry 5 of 5 › view all entries
This is my first blog ever..I can't believe I am so slow on the uptake as I have been travelling on and off for about 10 years now! So I have been overseas for just over 3 weeks and I am staying in Asia for about 2-3 months before I head to France to live for a while.
My first stop was Laos, as I have never been there and I spent 2 weeks travelling the general tourist trail - Vientiane, Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang - next time I go back to Laos, I plan to stay much longer and get off the tourist track as well. I absolutely loved Laos. It really is a hidden jewel in South East Asia. The scenery is just amazing and the people so friendly and laid back!
I will have to go through my journal to add in the highlights of Laos as I have packed in so much in 3 weeks of travel that it feels like I was in Laos an eternity ago!
I am actually sitting writing this journal entry in a Buddhist temple! I was in Chiang Mai a week ago (sick as a dog from catching some parasite from eating at a dodgy place during my last night in Laos) and basically didn't see one Wat or even really walk around the town. So..I decided last Monday that I had to get out of my guest house and see at least one temple. During this time, I met, Udone the monk and we started talking for hours. I told him I am very interested in meditation (which I suck at!) but would love to learn more about it and he invited me to stay at his temple for a couple of days so he could teach me. Of course I said yes! I was off to Pai for a few days so I told him I would get in touch the day before I left Pai so we could organise my stay when he was free. When I got back from Pai (which I will talk about soon as that has to be one of the coolest places so far of my trip!) I met up with Udone and I have had a very spiritual last 2 days..it has been hard for me to just stay in one place in his temple and doing a fair bit of mediation but it has been an incredible experience and the talks I have had with Udone and his friend, Thong - another monk about Buddhism has been very enlightening. This is why I absolutely love travelling - the unexpeccted experiences that happen are just amazing!
I am not sure if I like Chiang Mai as a city - well it is not really that, I just don't get a feel for the place like I do with other places. I had heard about Pai from a few different people in Vang Vieng so I decided to check it out. Now this is more my thing! I think as I get older I like smaller places over large cities (as I say this, I will be living in Paris soon!!) but Pai has the vibe of a small place that I could really settle down in. It's not that there is a whole lot to do - though I did get a motorbike and explore the surrounds one day. If I had more time I heard about some caves about 2 hours from Pai that would be nice to check out next time! I think what I loved about Pai was that it is so chilled out! The people, both Westerners and Thai who go there or live there are just cool. Plus the scenery is amazing and it really is a lovely, chilled out, a little bit hippy but not too much kind a town! I met some great people in Pai as well and if I didn't have to fly out of Chiang Mai today and do some meditation with Udone I would have stayed that little bit longer!
So, today I am off to Cambodia where my aim is to do some volunteer teaching and then explore more of the country. I was there for a short time last year where I basically saw Siem Reap and Phnom Penh and this time I want to do a lot more outside of the main cities. I expect to be there for about a month.
Until next time,