We’re here in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where we’re enjoying fast food, fast cars, fast bikes, fast people and fast internet. Before launching into Thailand, we want to notify our readers that a collective decision has been made to head into Myanmar tomorrow…we’re going to the border town of Mae Sot and Myareddy for a day trip. This is a most last-minute, impetuous decision our team has made, so please wish us luck as we try to find our way into one of the most secluded nations on Earth. If you don’t hear from us in at least 3-4 days, then something went horribly horribly wrong. Haha, just kidding. Don’t worry, we’ll be fine.
So where can I begin with Chiang Mai? It does everything Luang Prabang doesn’t: although Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s idyllic vacation spots much similarly to how Luang Prabang was for Laos, it cannot prevent itself from being influenced by the excesses of Bangkok: there are streets lined with prostitution, loud fratty bars and massage parlours, drunk Westerners toppling over themselves, markets of cheap overproduced goods not made by the locals, and an overall sense of “selling out.” While Luang Prabang keeps urbanism and the outside world at bay, Chiang Mai looks like it’s slowly bending over backwards to commercialism. It still has a long way to go before Starbucks starts popping up at every corner, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I caught their new McDonald’s somewhere around here.
Just to remind you what Luang Prabang looked like:
And this is Chiang Mai:
Notice the difference?
Here are a few of the more cultural highlights I was able to pick out:
If I wanted to capture any sense of the old charm Chiang Mai may used to have, I’d go for a night safari and a few treks but then get the hell out before the gentrification swallows me whole.
- At time of posting in Chiang Mai, it was 77 °F -
Humidity: 88% | Wind Speed: 5km/hr | Cloud Cover: broken clouds