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