Mae Hong Son, Thailand:
Journeying even further into the remote outposts of Thailand’s Northern provinces, my next stop was that of the tiny border town of Mae Hong Son. Lost in the mountain haze and practically a part of Myanmar, both architecturally and culturally, this diminutive, sleepy town of only 6,000 people was originally a founded as an elephant training center, but now offers unbridled views of what life would be like living relatively isolated from the comings and goings of the outside world.
Getting to Mae Hong Son is half the fun, too, as the only ways to access the town are via a short, but nerve-wracking, flight from Chiang Mai or the famous Mae Hong Son Loop road — often touted as one of the best motorcycle rides on the planet, as it boasts over 1,600 curves as you navigate switchbacks up and down the mountainsides the entire way there. I opted for the flight, being that I only had a few days to explore the village and the 6-8 hour drive would have only left me exhausted. However, given the “misty mountain haze” I spoke of earlier — which is really a smoke-screen created from the slash-and-burn agriculture that is practiced here — I still found myself stranded in Mae Hong Son trying to get back to Chiang Mai after all flights were grounded due to poor visibility issues. Eventually, I was able to hitch a ride in a mini-van headed for Chiang Mai, so I did make it back after all. Alas, the woes of a traveler…
Chiang Mai, Thailand (again):
After having spent a few relaxing days in Mae Hong Son, it was back to Chiang Mai for another week before heading back to the big city of Bangkok. To keep myself busy, I booked an adrenaline-filled trip trekking along the tree tops and coasting over the jungle below via a series of ziplines just outside of the city. And if you’ve been following along with my adventure so far, you’ll be as pleased as I was that I got a chance to check off yet another death-defying extreme sport from my wish list (sorry Mom).
So far, I’ve only presented photographs on this blog, but today is a first: I’m trying my hand at video. Though I’m not planning on using it extensively, it is another avenue that I may employ from time to time if I see something that is particularly movie-worthy. In this case, I’m taking you for a ride on the longest zipline of the whole course, streching over 800 meters (over a half mile) across the entire mountainside. Have fun!
Another of my favorite activities (as you likely well know by now) is scouring the cities I visit in search of whatever new and creative culinary creations I can find. And although I never seek out foods specifically because they are “weird” or “different” (it is only our misplaced Western sensibilities that label something weird or different, after all), I can’t help but find them from time to time. Back in Chiang Mai, two of the best places to indulges ones hunger pangs are the Saturday and Sunday Walking Streets, respectively, which are essentially large outdoor markets that are set up once a week selling everything from tee shirts and pashminas to tribal artwork and handicrafts. The eats are what I was after, though, and below are just a few of the fun foods I was able to find:
Bangkok, Thailand (again):
After my 3 week stay in Chiang Mai finally came to an end, I had to head back to Bangkok for a few days to pick up my primary camera, which was being fixed after I broke it way back in Koh Samui (I’ve been using my old back-up I brought along ever since). And to celebrate having it back, I decided to try my hand at documenting the changing light of the sunset as seen from the Sirocco Sky Bar off Silom Road. For those movie buffs out there, this was the rooftop bar that was featured in “The Hangover 2,” though luckily I didn’t have to deal with any of the shenanigans that the wolf pack did:
And a few minutes later:
This post has been quite a mixed bag of sights and experiences, so I apologize for the lack of a theme, but I’ve been moving around quite a bit this last week and I’ve had a lot of material to get out to the way. This will also, very sadly, be my last post from Thailand, as I’m heading into Cambodia tomorrow. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my stay in this beautiful country and am mournful in that sense, but I’m also looking forward to the change or perspective that accompanies a new country and new culture. Until then, Choc-tee from Thailand!