Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chiang Mai to Bangkok Update

We've had a fantastic time in Chiang Mai. We haven't done what most people seem to do here: go on treks to hill tribes and whatnot. Instead we've taken to the relaxed and easy-going attitude of the north. We've pretty much been getting up and going to bed with the sun, which has been interesting.
We've been spending most of our time just wandering about, enjoying the town and its food. We took cooking classes and made four dishes: papaya salad, chicken satay, tom yum soup and khao soy noodle curry. Delicious! We also went along to a dinner and traditional Thai dance show which was great.
Less excitingly, we've used our time to make some serious progress with the Korean job-hunt. We were a little slow getting our CVs out to the recruiters but in one afternoon we applied to about 20 different recruitment agencies in Korea and heard back from about half a dozen of them. We had an interview with a school in Daejeon and subsequently got offered the position, which we accepted! So as soon as the visa madness is sorted we can hop on a jet plane back to the land of the morning calm.
We took a sleeper train down from Chiang Mai to Bangkok. It was quite a chilly night, (which doesn't bode well for us turning up in Korea during the middle of its winter!) and neither of us got much sleep. We decided to stay on the infamous Khao San Road. It was a bit of an ordeal trying to find a place to stay. My huge wheelie suitcase has been slowly dying on me so I decided to ditch it in favour of using the various separate bags I have already. So instead of one backpack and one wheelie suitcase I'm now traveling around looking like a human Christmas tree decorated with luggage. I was walking along with a backpack, a stuffed out satchel, a camera bag and my 300mm lens in its soft case. Still, I have less luggage than some of the chumps staggering around this place. I'm still in awe of Courtney with her small rucksack, small wheelie case and laptop bag. So much better than what I'm lugging! This basically meant that on very little sleep, with about 30+ kg hanging around my neck we were dodging tuk-tuk drivers, tailors and motorbikes, trying to find a place to that stay that a) was a good price and b) didn't look like a place where we'd be killed in our sleep. We did managed to find a very nice place. It was through an alley way and opened into a very pleasant courtyard. They had a Labrador puppy and free coffee and toast for breakfast. So we were sold on that. The room was pretty small and no private bathroom but it was clean and did I mention the puppy?
Arriving in Bangkok, both Court and I were getting pretty saturated with traveling. Little annoyances like not staying in one place for more than a few days, a lack of sleep and the general hustle of being in such a touristy country were starting to wear us down. But we were aware of this and decided to try and take it easy. So far we've still been hitting it up pretty hard. We went off to Wat Pho the day after we arrived. It's an amazing collection of stunning buildings that had me in awe. In the afternoon we went off to Chatuchak Weekend Market, the biggest in Bangkok. We saw crocodile skulls, porcelain bulldogs and Thai cowboys among the usual assortment of clothes, Buddhas and food.
Yesterday we went to Wat Rajnadda, which is home to Bangkok's biggest amulet market. Thai's can be seen wearing reams of amulets and I guess Rajnadda is THE place to get them from. We didn't find the market that interesting, mainly because we don't have a clue about amulets. The wat itself however was fantastic. It was a multi-tiered building that was quiet and cool. You make your way up gradually smaller floors via a central spiral staircase. The top has a shrine and offers great views of the city. After thoroughly exploring that, we wandered along one of Bangkok's many canals and eventually found ourselves at the Golden Mount. It's another temple very close to Wat Rajnadda that has a big golden wat on the top and offers even better views of Bangkok. The wat itself isn't quite as nice as Rajnadda.
Today we've been taking it easy. We've sent off all the relevant documentation to get the ball rolling on our Korean visas. That means that we have to stay in Thailand until we've had our Korean visas processed here. So we've decided to actually try and move ourselves down a notch and try to enjoy a slower pace of life.


  1. In anticipation "Welcome Back to Corea"!!!! You'll be just down the road from us in Anseong ... well so to speak!!!!

    Tom the photo that you sent me of the lake in Bundang went over a real treat for my husband & our friends who live in Bundang - thank so much.

  2. Congrats on getting a job in korea! I'm sad you guys won't be around for the holidays, I was planning a trip to thailand, but it sound like you have had your fill of the country. My sister and i will be backpaking through it, so we will have to have a skype date about your thailand greatest hits! I love and miss u both! hopefully we can talk soon!