Like a fish in the sea

I don’t know whether you like it that I always write such long posts but this is the travel diary I’d be keeping for myself if I wouldn’t publish it on a blog and so I’d be writing all that anyways 🙂 But you know that you’re free to just read the parts you want to or even, just look at the pictures. But it makes me really happy to see that so many people are reading and following my blog!!! Thank you so much for all the likes and comments 🙂 And please keep on doing it 🙂

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I had a good first night in my 6 bunk bed bungalow. There was only a couple from the Netherlands inside and so it was quite agreeable. When I got up at 8.30, the sun was already smiling at me. I put as much sunscreen on my skin as I could but later I’d have to accept that there’s no way of preventing a sun burn on this island if you want to get in touch with the beach and the sea.

I had breakfast in a modern but comfortable café around the corner (they had good wifi :)) and had my first bread with jam since I arrived here, if I don’t count the toast in the hostel in Bangkok. Afterwards, I strolled through the shops for a while and finally bought a new bikini. I haggled it back to Bangkok market prices but at least I could try it on this time 🙂

Then, I wanted to see whether my new possession was of any good (I was prepared for it to lose its color or fall apart when I enter the water, since some ear rings I bought in Bangkok already broke before I had even worn them once. Bummer!) So, I went to the beach, which is more quiet in the morning and only has a few joggers (in that heat, really ?!) and people reading books. I placed my towel below a palm tree and lay into the now agreeable cool water for a while. When I was convinced that my bathing suit was made out of good material, I got back below the palm tree and read in my book until it was time for my refresher dive course.

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Our group was made out of 6 divers and our instructor, Carly. She is a real live wire. I don’t know how she does it! Diving is so exhausting and on top of that she seems to be in charge of organizing the dive groups for all the boat trips.

We got our gear. However, most things weren’t really the perfect size because they are out of material. Koh Tao is crazy busy right now, because it’s right after full moon and everyone is coming back from Koh Phangan, plus it’s summer holiday for most people. Nevertheless, they said that it has never been as full as that. When we were all set, we had to climb into a small nut shell kind of boat, which brought us to a bigger boat. Like a really small yacht. There weren’t really any places to sit except the floor on the first deck and the sun roof. So, our group climbed up to the roof and had a roof top briefing party 🙂 Meaning, Carly went over the signs she would be using on the dive, the specialties of the dive site and what fish we might see. We wouldn’t really see much this time since we would only drop down on the sand and refresh the dive skills. When we got closer to the site, Carly explained again how to set up the equipment. I wouldn’t have had a clue anymore otherwise. But it’s actually quite easy to get used to setting it up again.

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This is how it goes: The handle of the tank has to be on the left side when you’re standing in front of it. Then, you strap the BCD on, about 4 fingers below the inscription. Then, the tubes with the regulator (take away the dust cap and screw it on so that the regulators are on the left and the other two things on the right). Clip the inflator tube to the tank tube. Open the tank all the way while pointing the pressure meter away from everything important and then slightly close it back up. Tuck the buddy regulator into the jacket. Go set up a weight belt (buckle to the left and then the same amount of weights on each side with a space for the bottle in the middle).

What followed was putting on the gear. I remembered that getting into the wet suit was the hardest part of diving :). Once we squeezed ourselves in them, we slid into our jackets and, with all our strength, got on our feet. Carrying the tank out of the water is so heavy! And of course a rocking boat doesn’t make it easier. We then did the buddy check:

Bangkok: BCD, does it inflate and deflate?

Women: Weight belt, is it on and can you open it with the right hand?

Really: Releases, how many, where?

Are: Air, breath with both regulators and check that the finger on the pressure meter doesn’t move too much, do you have at least 200 bar?

Fellers: Final check, do you have the mask and fins?

And then, we got to the back of the boat, had to hold on to our mask and regulator and take a big step to jump into the water. What a relief to not feel the weight anymore!

We slowly descended and I was sooooo happy that my ears didn’t make any troubles. I was afraid not to be able to dive anymore because when my doctor at home did an ear check, they didn’t always equalize. But with pinching my nose every half meter, it was no problem.

We tried to wait in the sand in a semi-circle. I was doing absolutely fine with the skills like taking the mask of and putting it back on, losing the regulator and finding it again, getting the correct buoyancy and taking off the jacket or weight belt (funny, try to stay balanced like that!). Some of the others in the group were having more troubles and it already took them a long time to finally get under water. I was getting quite cold on the ground until everyone had finished the skills (and that being in 28 degree water, wearing a wet suit). So, I was quite glad when we started the ascend and got back on the boat. Getting on the boat though, is the thing I like the least. It’s such hard work, since suddenly, you feel all the weight again and you have to pull yourself up, your wet suit being filled with water. I hate it when the waves are big then, I always see myself getting knocked out by the boat or latter.

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Back on the boat, we switched our gear to a new tank and rode to a second dive site, called Twins. There, we did our first fun dive, which means, no learning skills but just floating in the water amongst all the fish. Oh God, it’s sooooooooo wonderful. Amazing. No words for that feeling. I don’t know how I could be without that for so long. It’s so quiet down there. Just the blue water, the colors of everything else you see and the bubbles you’re breathing out. The first few breaths under water are always very special because you just don’t expect it to work but then the air just flows so easily. Like I said, amazing. My buoyancy was pretty good so that I could even swim through a few rings in a buoyancy test garden. We saw a big sting ray and long morays that weren’t even inside a rock but just hiding below one like a long snake.

Back above sea level, unfortunately there was no way of avoiding more sun burn. This has been a bad year for my skin in this regard.

We only got back to shore by 7, where we logged our dives.

After a cold shower (this time, I’d have preferred a hot one but it wasn’t possible to turn it to warm) I met up with my new friends and we went to have sushi. Everyone had something exciting to tell from their day and it’s so good if you go out eating with a group of people who like the same food and are willing to share plates so you can try several dishes :). I could see myself traveling with these people for longer. Especially Rabea, always with a huge smile on her face, will be an inspiration for my Australia plans. She was abroad for a whole year and had the time of her life.

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Afterwards, we went to the beach for a while, where all the beach bars were packed with people. Many places, Thai men were making shows with fire, they have done that every night so far.

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Back in the bungalow, the newly arrived German girl was sleeping. She arrived from Bangkok in the afternoon. There also was a group of two American and one British guy. When they came back in the middle of the night, they were really quiet and didn’t even turn on the light, which made me love them already 🙂

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Via Chumphon to Koh Tao

I entered the train after wagon 10, thinking I would be in car 9 but it was actually the restaurant wagon. I didn’t know they had that here! I continued to the next car and had to walk all the way through it, for I had the bed right at the beginning, which was a little stupid. More people walking through to get to the sinks and toilets, the loud screeching from the crossover to the next wagon and the staff talking. I’ll have to get off at 4.13 anyways, so it won’t be too long.
I set an alarm to 4am (!!) although they told me that they would wake me before we arrive. After that, I just dozed off again and again. I was freezing with my sweater and the blanket from the train. Sleeping with fans is more agreeable, since they always make the a/c too cold. During the day, a/c is perfect.
Good that I half woke myself up already because a man only arrived two minutes before we arrived in the station to tell me and the other 4 people in wagon 9 who had to get off at Chumphon, that we’d have to get off. Ugh, stress so early in the morning.

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Outside, a man directly asked whether I had a bus ticket to the ferry and ushered me to my bus. I wondered why it was there already since the bus would be leaving at 6 and I had already prepared myself for at least an hour of waiting. However, it was 5.45 already. Good that I didn’t check my watch again on the train or I might have become nervous. The bus was half full already and completely filled up until we left. On an about 20 min drive I saw many monks walking along the street in their orange robes, we crossed an idyllic stream with boats on it (reminded me of Fort Myers) and finally, I saw the sea! No time to really take it in though. Get a sticker to enter the ferry, leave the backpack with all the other luggage and then find a seat. The boat was also full except for a few seats. Men walked around advertising diving schools and someone told me, that before full moon, people even have to sit on the floor of the ferry because do many people want to go to a party  at Koh Phangan. The sun started shining and so it got quite hot and I was glad to be mostly in the shade from the roof.

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They were putting all the backpacks on a pile on the deck...I hoped it wouldn't fall off with all the waves.

They were putting all the backpacks on a pile on the deck…I hoped it wouldn’t fall off with all the waves.

I couldn’t sleep but at least my stomach felt ok, unlike some other peoples’…The sleeping 10 year old boy next to me got abandoned by his parents because the mother was sea sick and so the dad went looking out for her. Unfortunately, the boy then got sick too but he was very grown-up about it and even made it until in front of the toilet door. When he came back, I talked to him in French (not to make him feel even sicker -he was French) and we both made it to the island intact from then on.
First impression of the small bay with the green nature back ground was good but we didn’t stand around for a long time. The taxi for the people who were going to Big Blue diving resort was waiting.
We dropped our bags at the reception area and had to sit down around a table in the restaurant to fill in tons of paperwork.

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Then, I received a key to my 6 people dorm (a small hut directly on the sand in front of the beach:)) and also a homework sheet which I have to complete until tomorrow, when my refresher dive takes place.
I finally had something real to eat at 11.30am and then went to change into beach wear.
First, I went to buy some water at 7/11 (everything is more expensive here!!) and then I spent the rest of the day in the Gulf of Thailand and at the beach. The water is so warm that you could stay in it all day. It’s also so shallow and calm that you can read books and drink cocktails in it. I’d definitely get bored if I couldn’t dive. In addition, the corals start 7m into the water, still at knee height, so you can’t even swim.
It is really pretty; the beach with the palm trees, the boats and the sand. But I just expected more paradise and fewer tourists.

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I’ll take more pictures during the next days and will probably sum up a few days in the next entry.
In the water, I already met some nice girls from Ireland and Germany. We had a delicious and fun dinner at the beach that evening. It’s so good to meet pleasant and fascinating people from all around the world!

Despicable Me in Bangkok

(I wrote this post about 3 days ago, just didn’t have enough internet in the meantime.)

I slept like a baby in my bunk bed. Good that I went asking for a blanket though. I had my silk sleeping bag and there was nothing but a pillow on my bed when I arrived and I’d have been much too cold with only my sleeping bag.

*hug-time*

*hug-time*

When I got up, Moritz and Hedi were already waiting for me. They even had movies on their VIP bus for 650 Bht, their baggage was intact and it took them only 9h from Chiang Mai to Bangkok. I guess that would have been the better option for me also.
We walked to the food market close to the hostel since we were hungry. I didn’t even want to take the camera out to take pictures, it was such a disgusting place!!! So many dead and dying animals. Hundreds of frogs and fish on a pile in a way too small jar, trying to survive. I love frogs when they hop around a pond. So that was a sad experience. They had toads and eel as well. When Moritz tried to take a picture of the frogs, a man thought he was being funny by pretending to throw one of the poor frogs at us. I guess no breakfast for us here. I was surprised that I hadn’t felt nauseous yet, from the weird smells on an empty stomach. Maybe, I got trained a little 🙂
We took a taxi to Paragon Center. It was only 69 Bht, you’re definitely better off traveling in groups of 3 or 4 in Thailand!
The center was very disappointing because they had pretty much the same brands as in Switzerland but with higher prices. But the floor with the movie theaters was very entertaining:) As the movies were more expensive at Paragon, I decided to go back to Terminal 21. I preferred the food court there also.

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So, I said goodbye to Hedi and Moritz and left the building via the skywalk. I then realized that I could walk to at least two more shopping malls from there and so I made my way to central world. Another movie theater and shops, probably similar to Paragon. I asked a man if there was a bus to Terminal 21 (after all I had an hour until the movie began). He wrote down several numbers for me and told me to go outside and to the right. When I didn’t see a bus stop there I guessed that he meant I had to drive in that direction. Which meant climbing the stairs to the skywalk again, walking down on the opposite side and walking to a bus stop. I was pretty tired and hot by then. Luckily, one of the correct busses arrived right away. Unfortunately, the driver told me I had to ride into the opposite direction. So, back on the skywalk and to a different bus station on the other side, to the left side. I took bus 48, paid my 12 Bht (with a/c) and rode straight to Terminal 21. Took little longer than the skytrain but less than half price of it and I had time anyways. I took the elevator to the top floor and did something I hadn’t even done when I worked at a movie theater in Switzerland and could watch movies for free; I went to see a movie alone. The man asked me 3 times whether I was sure that I only wanted one ticket (180 Bht) . Yeah, rub it in.
I had to wait in the area in front of the theaters. They don’t let you in until the starting time of the movie. At the entrance, they checked my bag thoroughly, so that they discovered my camera and I had to leave the battery in a safe. Haven’t they heard of iPhones? I could record the movie with that too…
I walked to theater, asked again if I was in the right place because commercials had already started and then was led to my seat. The inside of the cinema is about the same as in any movie theater except that the seats are very comfortable! Soft and you can almost lean back a little.
I watched funny commercials in Thai and then a few trailers in Thai or English with Thai subtitles. I was surprised that there was a rather brutal, blood flowing trailer of a horror movie, considering that I wanted to watch Despicable Me, which probably has a bigger fan community among children than horror loving grown-ups. I might have nightmares from this trailer…but there were only about 30 people in the theater anyways.
Then suddenly the people next to me got up and afterwards the people behind me did the same. I didn’t know what was happening, are we supposed to switch seats? A glance at the screen helped me out; please rise for the king’s anthem. Of course I got up too and the Thais around me smiled at me for doing so 🙂
It was a nice song with beautiful pictures. It made me want to belong to the Thai royal family.
Then it looked like the movie started but there was a man beating up another man. Fists, bloood, ouch. Everyone in the theater, including me started getting nervous. I turned around and looked into the wide open eyes of a little boy. He’ll probably be traumatized for life. Most others were adults and they told me that they  were also here to see Despicable Me. Some people went to the employees and after a few minutes, this movie stopped and finally, Despicable Me started. We didn’t even get free popcorn because of the mistake:(

Despicable Me was great! What a funny movie!!! And I really want a guacamole chips hat now! I hope there is a Mexican restaurant on Koh Tao…
After the film, I started walking to McDonald’s to get a chocolate sundae. But one of the chocolate donuts from Sushi Do was smiling at me in such a happy way, that I just had to buy it. I still had space for a sundae though and I probably needed to get some of all these calories back, which I had walked off.
Mhhh, at least something that tastes the same all around the world.
I went to the supermarket to buy some rice waffles for the next morning. But they only had huge packs so that I just bought some crackers. Then, I went back to the food court to buy some take away dinner.

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It was 4pm by then, so I had enough time to get back to the hostel an then the train station. So, I asked a security man if there was a bus to Queen Sikirit (they say Soon Sikirit in Thai) and I guess he had nothing else to do because he walked with me for at least 3 min to bring me to the bus stop. Bus 136 arrived right away and since there wasn’t a free seat I had to stand and did not have to pay:) Two stations later, I had to get off. I wasn’t at the metro exit I got out off but I recognized where I had to go.
Back at the hostel I enjoyed the a/c and just sat down on a chair in the lobby. It was then that Hedi and Moritz arrived and so I could even go to their room for a while to pack my bags in a more quiet area. They are lucky and can have a family room to the price of a double room!
When it was time, I said goodbye again (should be for the last time during that trip now) and walked to the metro station with all my bags. It was easy to get to Hualumpong. My train was waiting already.

Hardcore shopping in Bangkok

Early morning after very little sleep. Myriam, you could have told me that the train tracks from Chiang Mai are in such a bad shape (for at least 8 hours of the train ride) that falling asleep is impossible. I felt like inside a shaker. At least the temperature was agreeable with the a/c. Almost too cold sometimes. I could lie down which was comfortable but otherwise I probably had the same amount of sleep as I would have had on a bus. When I finally did fall asleep in the morning, I soon was woken up again by the French group from La Réunion. They had to get off a little before Bangkok. The train was an hour late though and so they already started loud conversations at 5.30 😦 How about some respect to the people who could have slept until Bangkok?!
When they finally got off, the workers on the train were so nice to leave my bed intact until 7.55am. Then, they also transformed it back into a seat and we reached rainy Bangkok at 8.10am.

I had to wait until the ticket booth opened at 8.30, when I could buy a combined bus and ferry ticket from Chumphon to Koh Tao for 500 Bht. Then, there was a very happy Seraina because no more organizing will have to be done and I should reach Koh Tao on the 26th without any problems.

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I took the MRT to Queen Sirikit station and then followed the description with pictures to the De Talak Hostel. They sent me that when I asked how I could find them from the train station and with the pictures it was an easy 4min walk. What a good idea from the hostel!
I couldn’t check in yet, but they let me leave my backpack there and I could use the bathroom as well as free tea, coffee or ice cream (?!).

After a while, I felt pretty hungry and made my way to the terminal 21 mall by MRT (Sukhumvit station).

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What a cool place! Every floor is named after a world city and you find recreated sights on each level. I had an early lunch at the San Francisco food court.

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Afterwards, I walked through the mall and had a look at the store. The prices were almost the same as in Switzerland except for the movie theater. I might go watch one tomorrow, since it’s just a third from our price 🙂

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Then, I took the MRT again, switched to the sky train (BTS) and went to the national stadium to enter the (I think) biggest mall of Bangkok, MBK. Oh dear, there was no way I would ever remember where I had to go or where I’ve already been. So, when I saw something I wanted to buy but wasn’t entirely sure yet, I just took a picture of the store and perhaps even the location name, so that I would find it again. I walked around in there for at least 7 hours! With some stalls it was like at the market and you could haggle. I think they had about the same prices for the t-shirts. Headphones are very cheap but not very good quality (at least the ones I tried).

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On the 5th floor, I received a free ice tea, as a first time visitor, which I was badly in need for after the first few hours of walking.

In the end, I treated myself to all you can eat sushi. It didn’t exactly fit my daily budget (same price as in the US) but since every other food booth at MBK was also pretty expensive I thought I might as well go there.

Afterwards, I had enough energy to get back to the hostel, where I finally could check into my room. 6 nice bunk beds (with thick, soft matrasses!!) in a female dorm. And even a/c 🙂

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Tomorrow, another day in Bangkok and then night train to Chumphon. I’ll probably write again when I am in Koh Tao.

P.S. What I forgot to say: although it’s always so hot outside, it was freeeeeeezing in the malls. I should have worn long pants and a sweather. But I was melting when I was leaving the hostel, so why would I think of bringing warm clothes?

Night train again

Last night, I slept rather well except for the extremely weird animal sounds, I first thought came out of a speaker and I still don’t know what animal they come from.

After I got up and was standing in the courtyard, I got already rained on a little because Jimmy made a tour splashing holy water from yesterday’s Buddha ceremony on his house and everything in it.
If you consider yourself an unlucky person, you should come to Thailand; there is so much luck to collect everywhere:)

Jack and I had breakfast at Jimmy and Jeng for the last time. They were always so friendly and helpful there and the prices are better than at all the other places I’ve seen. They gave us some home rice waffles to try that morning and I remembered how I always ate them as a child. The ones here were better though 🙂

Then, I had to pack my backpack and sow part of the zipper back to my bag. Luckily, I brought a small travel sewing set.
I paid my 100Baht a night and went looking for a hairdresser. Unfortunately, the woman from one salon who spoke English so well and who I saw a few days ago wasn’t there today. So I just walked around the city for a while looking for a different place but couldn’t find one that looked appealing.

Already past lunch time I went back to the hostel, where Jack was figuring out where to go next. We went to have lunch and then sat into the a/c restaurant of Black Canyon to have some ice cream. Needed to start restocking my chocolate deficit.

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Soon after that, it was time to leave for my train. I went to Jimmy’s to get my food and when I arrived already everything (big portion!!) with some extra rice waffles 🙂 was packed into a box and bag.
Jimmy then had to come back to the hostel too, to trim a tree and so I could ride the 200m with him on the scooter. I was glad because it was soooo hot again. I think I prefer an average temperature of 26 degrees. Here it feels more like 38.

I said goodbye to everyone at the hostel. It’s very easy to meet people in the courtyard and so you probably know all the people who go in and out of the guest house.
So, if you ever go to Chiang Mai, stay at Jimmy’s Home Stay (see picture). The double rooms are nice and affordable. The bathrooms of the dorms are well kept and in a good state and you get a good sleep if you don’t mind sleeping on a matrass on the floor, hearing weird animal sounds. You’d get that at many other places too, I guess. Jungle feeling 🙂

Jimmy's home stay

I had no trouble getting a Songthaew for 40 Bht (he first wanted 50) and arrived at the train station almost an hour early. No problem, the train was there already and the a/c running. It surprisingly left at exactly 5pm. There was a nice Thai lady in the seat across from me and a couple from La Réunion on the other side. The man looked very much like Jack Nicholson but didn’t even know who that actor was.

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At dinnertime the Thai lady asked (well, as much as the few English words she knew permitted it) whether I was hungry. I pointed to my plastic bag and said that I had food but she insisted nonetheless that I eat one of these big dough balls with meat and herbs inside, which her son made. It was very good! It’s wonderful when the people are so kind and just suddenly offer you free food:)
She even took a picture of us together, how we were eating these big dumplings, to send to her son. White skin bonus :)?
I offered her some of my fried pumpkin or rice but she said she knows it already. Even out of a cardboard box, this meal still tasted good. As dessert, the lady offered me a piece of the fruit she was eating. It looked like a crossing of a pepper and a tomato and tasted like star fruit but not bitter.

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At 8pm they came by to make our beds. In my small private upper berth behind the green curtain, I finished the day with looking at the photos I took so far on this amazing trip and watching more Gilmore Girls:)

Doi Suthep and Chiang Mai Zoo – Two very touristy places

Yesterday was my first day of doing some things alone. I went to have breakfast at Jimmy’s. He makes the Müesli almost like my mom would make it. With a lot of fruit. On the way back to the hostel, the laundry shop was open and so I went to get my freshly washed clothes for 60 Bht (2kg). Wonderful 🙂

Then, I started walking to get to the Songtaew stop for Doi Suthep. There are many red taxis driving around in Chiang Mai and the more people you are, the cheaper it gets. Usually, there are enough people and then it’s a fixed price from 20 to 70 Bht a person, depending on how far you go.

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It was about a 20min walk to the bus stop Jimmy had marked on my map and on the way many of these taxis offered to take me to the bus stop for 20 Bht. I declined because I knew I could get there by walking but once I reached it, there were no other people there. I waited for about another 20 min and when still no people arrived I asked the songtaew driver if there wasn’t another way to get to the temple because I wouldn’t pay 500 Bht. A tuktuk driver then told me, that there is another bus stop 2km away, where more people would wait. So, I had no other choice but to agree to take a red taxi for 20 Bht, which then brought me to the other bus stop. It was right on the opposite side of the main street from the 7th Century hostel (where we stayed during our first night in Chiang Mai). There was already a group of people waiting and when I arrived a driver said that I could come to the temple with him for 50 Bht and so the whole group got in the car and we were off on an about 30min ride. Again up a steep and curvy mountain road. When we arrived, I was a bit confused which stairway I had to take to go up. There were so many tourists everywhere… I then just picked the right one on the first try (the upper one). The lower one only leads to the cable car which costs 10 Bht one way. But I wanted to climb the steps. At the beginning, there was something like a market and I bought a banana in a waffle to get some strength for the more than 300 stairs.

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It was already hot and my freshly washed t-shirt wasn’t so fresh anymore once I reached the top. I paid the 30 Bht entry fee and entered through the gate. The inside was very nice once again with golden roofs and buddhas, bells and candles but not very different from the other temples I had seen. I wondered whether I’d have had to pay to just enjoy the view. Maybe if you just walk past the ticket booth, you can walk a circle on the mountain without entering the temple.

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Still, I walked around the temple area several times because the smell of incense was too good and it was interesting to see all the varieties of praying or lighting something.

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Afterwards, I enjoyed the view over Chiang Mai and the flower decorations.

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Then, it was time for a bathroom brake but before I managed to get there, I was asked by a Thai teenager whether she could take a picture with me. I agreed because the girls were all dressed very cute with flower hats and dresses. But then everyone of her friends also wanted a picture with me. White skin must be so special 🙂

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Finally, I made it to the bathroom and was glad that I didn’t forget to bring toilet paper this time. Always good to have some napkins or toilet paper with you in Thailand!

I walked back down and easily got a Songtaew to Chiang Mai Zoo (I think it was 40 Bht). The entry to the zoo is 100 Bht for adults, which is quite cheap. Then the harder part started. I had no idea where I should walk to see everything. I think the way the zoo is arranged is very complicated. Plus, it’s like in at the Zurich Zoo. Up and down and more up and more down. Mostly, Thailand is such a flat country, why does exactly the zoo have to be on a hill?! It was soooo hot (the sun was shining today). I could have used the monorail or buses for 100 Bht but I thought I would miss too much if I used them. But also by walking it’s very hard to spot some of the animals because their cages are quite big and so they can hide somewhere, where you don’t see them. I later figured out that there are feeding times in every zone, so that you at least get to see the animals twice a day.

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I wanted to see the white tiger (as advertised on the web page), however, his cage was under construction and the tiger was nowhere to be found. What a joke!! Also, many other cages where empty and so a lot of my walking was for nothing. These were some things that frustrated me. I also didn’t like how they wanted to make extra money out of everything. Feed the elephants who are tied to chains and don’t look happy in the heat. Feed the cheetah with meet on sticks and to see the pandas you have to pay another 100 Bht.

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But since the pandas were a reason I went to this zoo, I paid the fee and asked for the feeding time. It was 1pm and so I had some time to look at the big cats first. Right on time, I was back in the panda dome. The youngest one was sleeping when I arrived but I think his sub-conscience told him that it was lunch time soon because his foot started twitching. Then a cage keeper came inside and brought bamboo leaves. It was funny when the panda woke up and tottered to the food. He ate for over half an hour without taking a break. I then walked into the next room to visit his parents who were also still busy eating. It was very cute to watch.

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I was lucky to find a lunch place behind the panda house. I had to buy a ticket for the amount of money my food would cost (you see that on the food stalls) and then I could go buy my food with the tickets. Afterwards, I had new energy to climb some more of the hill, where I found the koalas. Another animal I really wanted to see. They were all sleeping though, but still very sweet.

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I was impressed by the animals I did see and over all the zoo was a well-kept place. Just the thing with the extra money gaining bothered me. The climax of this was when I reached the seal presentation 10 min after it had started, when the spectators started to throw money bills into the water, which the seals would go get and bring to their trainer. Two other tourists and I left again right away but I think most Asian people had fun with this.

I had reached the top of the zoo by then and started walking back to the entrance. The first taxi was empty and wanted to take me back for over a 100 Bht. But when I walked to the main street, there was another one who brought me to Tapaeh Gate for 40 Bht. Off course there was a Swiss family on the taxi.

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I relaxed at the hostel for a while until I met up with Hedi and Moritz for dinner at Jimmy’s. An Australian guy who was just accommodated into my dorm room also came along with us.

Hedi and I had the delicious pumpkin dish we had on the trekking and even were allowed to watch how it was made. Now I have a new dish to cook and the recipe for the delicious lime spice sauce as well 🙂 I won’t write it down yet, because I don’t want my mum to cook it already before I get home 🙂

After dinner, everyone but Moritz went to Sunday walking street. Another HUGE market (we probably didn’t even see half of it). Moritz said he had seen enough of these with us three women. But I think the markets are always different! I liked the one yesterday better.I did get the best fresh passion fruit juice of my life though.

Then, it was time to get some sleep. I hoped I’d be able to do so, because the dorm room is right above the toilets and someone has been throwing up for a while. Sound travels. Hope the smell won’t…