Party Of Five

From link::In The Land Of Smiles

We had a couple days to kill in familiar Bangkok before the girls arrived. After re-aquainting ourselves with the over-stimulation that is Khao Sarn Road, we dropped off a couple kilos of excess backpack weight & had an amazing Italian feast at Chatree's place, got to know modern Bangkok downtown at the malls, & lay out at Lumphini Park in front of a pond full of massive lizards that we initially assumed to be either anacondas or snakes (hey, you never know in Bangkok).

An era ended & a new chapter began when the girls joined us on the other side of the world- we officially went on a vacation from our vacation. Conveniently we decided not to acknowledge Tara & Mindy's jet lag & on their first day we dropped them at the Royal Palace, took an hour long cruise of the canals, squeezed all five of us into one tuk-tuk across town where we weaved our way through hectic chinatown, explored the uber-modern central world mall, & then head to the train station where we hopped on an overnight train bound for Chiang Mai.

Immediately after checking into our hotel we called up the same massage parlor we'd visited during our first whirl through town & arranged for them to pick us up ASAP. After being chauffered, we all changed into those same orange pajamas & sipped pandanus tea in a row while our feet were scrubbed clean. The former-inmates/current queens of massage lay us out on floor cushions & introduced Tara & Min to what Thailand really has to offer... tiger balm & all. We spent the rest of the day & into the evening perusing the Sunday walking street that had erupted outside the salon unbenounced to us. Every street inside the moated area of the city had closed down & been completely taken over by vendors offering up a unique selection of food, art, & souvenirs. It seemed nearly every person in Northern Thailand was floating through the maze.

The next day Lauren, Jenny, & I separated for the first time in months. Tara, Mindy, & I went off into the suburbs for a 7 hour intensive cooking class while Lauren & Jenny head to the Chiang Mai Zoo. While we learned & successfully made everything from heavenly mango sticky rice to drunken noodles, the girls got up close & personal with hippos & giraffes. We met up later for a cruise through the Night Bazaar & a couple St. Patrick's Day beers at an Irish Pub.

Next stop: Pai. Lonely Planet's description of this Northern expat haven sucked us right in.
"The hippie trail is alive & well in Pai"
After a long, overcrowded, winding trip through the mountains of Mae Hong Son we found ourselves beyond perfect accomodations at the Golden Hut Bungalows where from the benches surrounding our patio you could see the bright orange robes of monks (who we could also hear chanting at dawn) through the palm trees at their nearby wat. The town was quiet, bohemian, & fully enamored with it's own unique vibe. Small galleries sold postcards & other souvenirs baring cutesy recognition for Pai's Pai-ness...
"Pai in the sky"...
"Do nothing in Pai"....

We spent our first day poolside & surrounded by mountains before heading out into town to scope out the perfect spot for Jenny's birthday celebration. At the edge of town we stumbled upon Ting Tong Bar (which means "crazy... but in a good way"), a huge open air bar ran by a lively bunch of locals who promise nightly fire shows & live to entertain. We dropped word of Jenny's birthday to this fun loving bunch & extraordinarily the next day employees donning customized Ting Tong shirts passed out flyers inviting the entire town to join in the celebration of Jenny's 23rd. Strangers were actually stopping the herd of us on the street to wish Jenny a good one. While the girls found a new pool to spread out at, Tara & I spent that afternoon playing alone in a nearby river with a couple loveable elephants. We rode bareback through the countryside & got repeatedly dumped into the river as our new friend plopped himself over repeatedly. Tara had been waiting a long time to hang out with a real elephant & the experience could not have been more ideal.

0 . 2 . 8 . 4 . 0 .

That night, after a candlelit pregame with appetizers on our bungalow patio, dinner at a local restaurant, & a quick bar crawl for some cocktails & live music, we made it fashionably late & spent a memorable night at Ting Tong. Another unique 23rd birthday in Southeast Asia!

Are you Ting Tong?

The next day we left Pai behind & took a bus all the way back to Bangkok where we've been wandering for the last couple days. After a final Thai experience in the Red Light District last night, Tara flew back to the US & now the four of us have only a few hours until we get on a bus that will take us back down South where we'll spend our final weeks on the beach :)

Yet another chapter begins....

From link::In The Land Of Smiles

Other links::Hippyland, Thailand
Living with Lisu Hilltribe


Thailand travel deals said...

I like your blog.I think you have so much fun at there. Elephant riding must be so much fun!!!! Thailand is a lovely place!!!

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Pervaiz said...

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