1. Holidays on Changi Airport, Singapore
47 hour stopover in Singapore. It is now the eight time that I am here, and already during my first visit in 2006 I have fallen in love with the best airport in the world. My buddy Mike and I are not in the mood to go to the megacity and after a quick flirt with the female ground staff we are allowed to spend the two days at the airport. Normally one must not stay longer than 36 hours there.
2. Let’s go to Chiang Mai
After two relaxing days at the airport we are on the plane to Chiang Mai in Thailand. I have not been to Thailand before, have not checked on any information and no expectations. This is my favorite way of exploring a foreign place – without any picture in my mind. When we get off the plane dry heat is nearly pushing me to the ground. It is March, what a climate. And here we are going to stay for a whole month!
This night I am enjoying my first Thai street food for about 30 cent. Chiang Mai is the culinary pearl of Thailand. Here food culture of three countries (Laos, Thailand and Myanmar) as well as of numerous tribes from the surrounding mountainous region meets. This is how paradise tastes like! Tuk Tuks take us from A to B for a fistful of Baht. However, after a couple of days we rent a scooter in order to feel a little less like tourists.
We are here for a while now and Chiang Mai already feels like a second home to me. The city is of a manageable size and the rectangular ring road with its many contorted connecting roads makes it easy to move on. In the big shopping malls we buy DVD’s with movies that got released in theaters only recently for about 50 cent. Every day is hot, dry and cloudy.
But only when night falls it gets really exciting in Chiang Mai. I just say Tha Pae Gate, Thanon Chaiyaphum, Warm Up and The Spice. These are the places for a crazy party night Thai style. It is a colorful mixture of locals, backpackers, hippies, lady boys and prostitutes. Locations range from dosshouse, hippie village, house party over night club all the way to brothel-like establishments. Truly insane, but everyone is super nice and amazingly friendly.
Our time here comes to an end and it is very hard for me to leave this place. We return to Changi Airport in Singapore where a longer stopover awaits us again.
We are currently in Asia for the next three months because of our Tourism Master Fieldwork Programme. So, next stop where we will spend another month will be Bali :)
6 Things to do in and around Chiang Mai:
- Night Bazaar, street food as well as driving around by scooter or Tuk Tuk in Chiang Mai. Always negotiate!
- Overnight stay: Hotel Eurena. Cozy, quiet, central.
- Trip to the three-land junction “Golden Triangle” of Thailand, Burma and Myanmar.
- Numerous Buddhist temple grounds, especially temple Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and Wat Rong Khun “White Temple” are worth visiting. Very inspiring!
- One or two nights in the Lisu Lodge and Khum Lanna: An eco-tourism village that offers rich food, accommodation in bungalow style as well as many activities in nature and visits to old tribes in the mountains. A very unique experience!
- Two or three nights in Panviman Chiang Mai Resort: A luxury resort that is located in the middle of the forest with Thai and ecological construction. Pure relaxation!