Journey around the world: Thailand

in TravelFeed3 years ago (edited)

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In the last weeks before the trip, we spent a lot of time on physical preparation. My hometown stadium served as a stretch of obstacles, and the old streets of Linkuva were a sanctuary of peace.

Confidence grew with every workout. Nothing boosts the mood as much as some propper music. In this particular case, 'One night in Bangkok' by Muray Head could not be beaten.

Affected by the song I felt like sooner or later our road will turn East and we will come to Thailand. It turned out that was it destined to happen in less than 4 months. After spending a few weeks in a remote Nepali village of Shukranagar, it was time to move on.

Our host Tara had a relative who owned a Travel agency somewhere in Kathmandu. He offered two tickets to Thailand for close to nothing. To be fair, such a route was not in our plans. However, there was no plan, to begin with, so why not.

BANGKOK

The first misunderstanding happened once we left the airport. After having trouble paying for the 2-week visa, finally, we entered the country. Somehow, it didn't come to mind to double-check how many airports Bangkok had. Surprise, surprise. There were two.

The room at some kind of 'Airport Guesthouse' that we pre-booked online was located on the other side of the city and it was already too late to cancel it. As the day was long and it was already pitch dark, @Kamile and I went to the closest guest house we could find. This is where I got my haircut.

The early morning trip from the outskirts of Bangkok to the city center happened to be an adventure on its own. Various different busses and trains had to be taken. The humidity and heat were hardly bearable, but all buses had powerful air conditioners. These differences in temperature led to Kamile having a sore throat.

The locals were helpful and friendly. Especially a girl named Kantaja that we contacted on Couchsurfing.com. She was our host for the next few days. It is always nice to have a place to leave your backpack while you are exploring the crowded city.

Bangkok had yet another kind of feeling about it. It was a lot different than Istanbul, Teheran, Kathmandu, or any other city that we visited on our way here. Kamile noticed that the food was completely different too.

For the first time, we had a chance to taste some 'snacks' that could not be found in Lithuania. I don't say I regret trying them out, but most likely I would not do that again. All kinds of insects and worms are just not for me.

'The Golden Mount' and a few other mainstream places were the sites that we visited. Sometimes it is great to look for those off-beaten paths, but there are also times when it feels right to follow the crowd. The most memorable fact that we found during the tour was the real name of Bangkok.

'The city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarma' (source).

AYUTTHAYA

Ayutthaya was founded in 1350. From its foundation to 1767, the city was the capital of the kingdom of Ayutthaya. During the military conflict with Burma, Ayutthaya was destroyed, and of the 2,000 temples that stood here, only a few have survived to this day.

In order to come to Ayutthaya, we took a train. Somehow I've lost my ticket, but the ticket controller was very kind and let me in without purchasing another one. The trip was so smooth that we started thinking about continuing to explore the country by trains only as we had only a 2-week visa and the distances we long.

It coincided that the King of Thailand had recently died and admission to all temples in the country was free. The old town of Ayutthaya was swarming with curious tourists. Wat Chaiwatthanaram and Wat Maha That were only two out of many temples that attracted them to this ancient city.

The world-famous Head of the Buddha, imprisoned in the roots of a tree near the Wat Maha That, was my favorite. Some historians believe this stone head got trapped by accident. Others say that around 1900 part of the temple collapsed and this attracted treasure hunters. The robbers decided to hide the head in the roots with an intention of returning.

CHIANG MAI

As there are the so-called 'off-beaten paths', there are also, as I say, 'the most beaten' paths. The train trip across Thailand happened to be the most 'mainstream' part of our 12-month journey. Without a doubt, the most touristic city of the ones that we visited was Chiang Mai.

In Chiang Mai, we heard the term #digitalnomad for the first time. These are people who have a laptop and do not need a stationary place to do their job: photographers, programmers, bloggers, videographers, freelance translators, and so on.

Chiang Mai is called 'The paradise of digital nomads' for a reason. Cheap food and accommodation are all that they need. Some of them come here for a weekend, while others stay for a year. There are also the ones that got spare banknotes in their pockets and choose to buy some Real Estate.

As staying in Chiang Mai was not within our field of interest, we agreed to explore the old town as well as some more remote spots and continue our trip without too much delay.

Wherever we went, we were accompanied by dragons. Brightly colored creatures guarded many homes. Dragons, on walls, doors, and fences. From barely visible flat silhouettes to full-length 3D creatures. It turns out that in Thai mythology, the dragon is very common.

It is said that the bodies of dragons are made up of many parts of various beings: the head of the chameleon, the scales of the fish, the horns of the deer, the body of the snake, and the paws of the tiger. Add ears of the buffalo, eyes of the rabbit, claws of the eagle and you will get a purebred dragon.

Those who appreciate peace and silence prefer visiting the outskirts of the city. According to various sources, Thailand is home to a tenth of the world's animal species and has more bird species than all European countries combined. No wonder why Chiang Mai has such a rich and colorful zoo.

Separate areas of the zoo are divided in some special order. Species of the same areas of the world live close to each other. Asian elephants are the ones that attract the most attention. It is said that just over a hundred years ago, more than 100,000 of these powerful beings lived in Thailand.

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THE LONG ROAD TO MALAYSIA

Once we left Chiang Mai, Kamile and I agreed that we needed a break. For the next few days, we continued the journey without doing any sort of recording: no filming, no taking pictures, and no taking notes. It felt like it was time to get back to the old ways as hitchhiking was our true passion. That was exactly what we did once we crossed the border...

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i'm guessing this happened quite some time ago since no one is wearing masks in the pictures. Nice pictures still!

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