We’re no longer the only tourists on the bus. Oh no, we’re now one of many thousands of backpackers making our way through Thailand, island to island, up through the mainland, onto Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. When I cast my mind back to our adventures in Borneo, we rarely saw another Western tourist. In fact I can confidently say we only saw one other couple between Sibu and Miri and randomly we ended up sharing a minibus with them through Eastern Java.
We’ve now arrived in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. After a lovely few days on Rai Leh with our friends Phil and Tereza (click here to read about our time in Rai Leh), we’d planned to head to Koh Samui to visit the family we met in Borneo, but we had to change our plans. ‘The boy’ had been suffering from a chesty cold and a bad bout of teething (not a good mix) and we didn’t think it would be fair on him to spend 6 hours travelling on a minibus and ferry. We thought it best to stay in Ao Nang for a further 2 nights until he felt better, and I have to admit that after 5 nights of very disturbed sleep and a few days walking around in an exhausted drunken like haze, it was a welcome break in the trip for us too.
So along with many other travellers we made our way to Phuket on a cramped minivan, had a one-night stopover in a little beach chalet, and then flew from Phuket direct to Chiang Mai.
We arrived on Sunday, just in time to visit the weekly evening craft market which lines the streets of the central area of the old city, a major attraction for locals and tourists alike. The market sells handmade items at a fraction of the cost of the places we’d been to previously. I’m a lover of crafts and I get great satisfaction from making things so I really enjoyed wandering around looking at the beautiful handmade items that were for sale. Children’s knitted animal hats, patchwork skirts, leather bags, handknitted scarves and shawls, hand printed cards and batique prints were just a few of the items available.
If we were on a two-week holiday then there’s no doubt that the buggy would have been laden down with bags, but unfortunately with our backpacks we’re not in the market for household items.
The only purchase that was made was by my other half, one that I wasn’t keen on and barred him from bringing near me. He found a stall selling deep fried insects and finding it hard to decide which ones he wanted opted for a mixed bug bag! The saying goes that you should try everything once, but after looking at his selection VERY briefly, I lost my appetite. I could barely bring myself to watch him crunch through what looked like a huge cricket. The sound alone was making me gag. ‘The boy’, still awake at this point, was almost subject to taste testing the worm like grubs, but I intervened. If he wants to eat grubs when he’s older that’s fine, but he can make that choice for himself, until then ‘the boy’ and I will be leaving the grub sampling to Daddy.
Top tip of the day:
Before we left the UK we stocked up on baby Calpol and Nurofen sachets to use for teething days. Unfortunately, in the three months we’ve been away, we haven’t found any similar products sold in sachets. Bottles of paracetamol-based product are widely available, so I would advise you to use the local product at night and save your small lightweight sachets for your daypack. We didn’t do this, so now on teething days we have to carry the heavy bottle around with us.