Yeah, I know you are all tired of me writing about how much I had fun, but guess where I am back from?
I recently came back from Northern Thailand, more precisely Chiang Mai.
After a quick transition in Bangkok (Tuesday), mainly to check out the (morning) floating market about 2 hours south of Bangkok by (slow) bus, we headed to Chiang Mai on a night train from Bangkok. Count 250B (5 Euros) for a very simple room in a clear and pretty guest house of Krao San Road (Sawasdee House). For a month they would cut it down to 6000B which is as low as 140 Euros a month. Ridiculously cheap.
Later on the train, food was very good, and the comfort quite OK, all with great service. Only hic, the lights were kept on in the corridors and two French hyperactives kept chatting and laughing like drunken for the whole night. Count about 800 Bahts +/- 100 Bahts depending on whether you choose upper bed (smaller, shakier) or lower bed. If the meal service is handled by a short big mama that comes in a dancing boom-boom-shake-shake bouncy funky move then you have to deal with Naarin, she’s awesome. Woke us up, remembered our names, came to chitchat, remember what we wanted for breakfast and stuff…nothing you would experience in France…
Following a day of pure laziness and sleep recovery (Wednesday), we found a pretty good trekking deal:
For no more than 700 Baths (14 Euros) — and we didn’t negotiate too much — Chak Choi Tour’s bus picked us up at the hotel, for: Orchid’s and Butterfly farm visit (nice actually), an elephant ride** (Have you ever met the real DUMBo? ), bamboo river cruising, rafting, and visit of a “local” tribe. Randomly were shown sensitive plants that close when you touch them, really cool.
The evening boiled down to a peaceful walk at the huge Night Bazaar. Explored a new way of negotiating on markets. Pretend to be a wholesaler, ask how much the object would talk if you buy 50, 100, 500, and 1000. When the price/unit stabilizes that is pretty much the incompressible price of that object. Now he’s got no way to fool you around by selling it 5 times the normal price as he just unconsciously given you what the object costs him per unit. It’s a non-offensive, tremendously fast and efficient method of getting to the point while avoiding the custom paths of standard negotiation.
The following day, we did bungy jumping (1450B, negociated) and zipwiring @ JungleFlight (1500B, there’s Flight of the Gibbon too). Simply fantastic, don’t tell your mother if you care about her…Bungy in breathtaking, very unique and strongly experience. Zipwiring was very nice, and I am not only talking about the equipment that would make any man feel like a sheriff or a cowboy. Deep contact with nature, extraordinary views, very enthusiastic staff (you bet that! being paid for monkeying around), good meal, van with AC, pick up at the hotel….what else can you possibly want?
Mhh… a massage maybe at the women’s prison on Propakklao Rd (Police Station : near Jadiluang and Daungdee Rd).
Total cost of the trip including round-trip from Singapore : 268 Euros.
Experience: Undoubtedly unforgettable !!!
Appendice on Cost of life in Thailand (low-cost style):
Local Food : 30/40 Bahts per meal (less than 1 Euro)
Falang Food (western) : 70/140 Baths per meal (1/3 Euros)
Monthly Food : about 180 Euros/month for decent meals
Budget Rental : 6000 Bahts (140 Euros / month)
Local transportation :
20 to 100 B daily ?
So monthly 15 to 60 Euros / month
TOTAL : 380 Euros / month (vs 600 Euros/month in Singapore)