Day 5 - going to Chiang Mai
We were afraid we'll miss our flight if we took the train back to Bangkok, so we decided to take a bus instead (more expensive - 101 bahts per ticket, but faster than the train). The view from the bus was nice, and it seems that there are a lot of places to visit a long the road from Pak-Chong to Bangkok, but one should rent a car to do so.
Tomer decided to buy fruits for the road, and bought a pack of jackfruit. On the way from Pak-Chong to the bus station we faced a "sugar dady" for the first time, when an American (approx. 35 years old) was hanging around with a young Thai woman who looked uncomfortable when he called her "my girlfriend".
When we got to Bangkok's bus station, a bunch of taxi drivers jumped at us and tried to rip us off - 400 bahts to go to the airport.
This time we were smart enough to take a "taxi-meter" which cost us only 100 bahts. In the airport we used the "lonely planet" recommendations and started calling guest houses.
When we started smelling weird smell from our bag we realized we haven't eaten the jackfruit. It tastes ok, not more than that, but the bag smelled like jackfruit fore a few more days.
The flight was delayed for a few minutes, but the pilot made up for that time flying in a super-speed. Anyway, we didn't notice the time since from the moment the plain took off and until the moment it landed, we were getting food to eat. We were not hungry at all, but who are we to say no to food? (and especially good food...)
From the airport we took a taxi-meter, in a cab that smelled great thanks to a chain of flowers hanging from the mirror. We drove to a guest house called "Safe House Court", which was ok, but over estimated by the "lonely planet". It started raining so we decided to take a room there - 350 bahts for a triple room with air-conditioning and hot water. On the alley behind the guest house were some laundry places, and we went there as soon as the rain stopped.
We spent the rest of the evening trying surveying different trek offers, and going to the night bazaar where we ate pizza for the first time in Thailand. We also found a new detail about Aviv - he "transmits" innocence to a distance that much, that whenever we went by a massage place and the girls their saw him they started yelling at him - "massage....." (but not at the rest of us).
Day 6 - a trip in Chiang Mai's area
We split up in the morning: Aviv who preferred a trek ona jeep went to check for details in Tana guest house, and the three of us wanted to visit the orchid farm outside of town.
In Chiang Mai we met the red taxi - a red pickup truck used for long distance rides in the city and its surroundings. We hired a taxi and a driver for a day for 600 bahts. The driver took us to "Doi Suthep" which is a famous temple on a mountain near the city which also contains a viewpoint on Chiang Mai's area. In order to get to the temple we climbed 306 stairs and found out that there is no visibility up there because of the fog.
When we tried to enter the temple we found out that Einav wasn't "Kosher" enough and she had to wear a skirt she loaned there.
einav wearing a skirt
The wat was pretty impressive all covered with gold, but in our opinion the ancient temples in Ayutthaya were prettier and more interesting.
Doi Suthep
From Doi Suthep we continued towards the orchid farm. We had a feeling that the farm the driver took us wasn't the farm we showed him on the map, and when we asked him about it he explained that they are all the same, and that the only difference is that the one we wanted also had a restaurant in it. We decided to visit in the farm he took us to, and saw an amazing place.
Inside the farm there was also a small butterfly farm which wasn't especially impressive. The driver who took us was really nice so we agreed to do him a favor by stopping in a local crafts shop in order for him to get gas coupons.
He asked us about our plans for the following day, and we told him we were looking for a quality trek with a lot of scenery and walking. He told us he knows a guest house that has good treks and that he'll take us there. We agreed (what a mistake...).
This is how we got to the "Lanna House" guest house. Julie the owner of the place (man/woman no one can tell for sure...) was a good sales woman. She asked us where we come from, said a few words in Hebrew and then showed us recommendations in Hebrew about her trek. The recommendations looked genuine, and in one of them it was written: "don't tell Julie we wrote it, but if you pretend you are not certain about taking her trek, she'll give you a free night in her guest house".
Later she said why her trek is better than other treks: no more than 10 people, going to an area without tourists, sleeping in bungalows with electricity and mosquito nets, a cultural entertainment evening with the villagers, a professional guide and a fine walking course of 3 hours in the first day and 6 hours in the second day. We liked the fact that she was the only one who promised us white water rafting as well as the usual bamboo rafts. For these reasons we agreed to pay her the price she requested (1800 bahts per person) even though other treks cost 1300 bahts. We signed up for the trek leaving on the next day.
We left Julie and went to eat lunch. This is the place that whenever Tomer is hungry or tired there's no point in talking with him, and he becomes restless and is willing to eat in the first place he can see. This way we found ourselves in the restaurant of "miss penis". A small place where the owner is also the cook and the waitress and also.. a man. Oren and Tomer ordered chicken with cashew nuts for the first time in the trip and Einav took the green curry. The chicken was really good, but the curry wasn't, so Einav decided to order the chicken as well. In this point we discovered an interesting fact about the Thai people: they don't understand the phrase "I also want something else". No matter how hard you try to explain that you'll pay for both of the dishes they will sill come again and again to ask you if you are sure.
We got back to our guest house to rest for a while, talked to Aviv and he went to register for the trek also. In the afternoon we decided to go to the flowers market and then to dinner. The flowers' market is located near the river in a long street, and you can see there beautiful orchids stacked in big piles as if they were garbage, or as a part of big orchid shaped bouquets. In another street nearby there is a small food market in which you can find delicious fruits as well as other barbecued "weird creatures"... We bought some fruits there and an "air freshener" - a chain of white flowers (like the one we saw in the cab) which we used to freshen the air in our bathroom.
We kept wandering in the city, in the area of the night bazaar, until we found ourselves in a great restaurant called "The red snapper" which didn't look too western on the one hand but relatively prestige on the other hand. It was the best restaurant we've been to in Chiang Mai. The price was a little high for chiang mai (around 200 bahts per person) but the dishes were satisfying, and were served aesthetically. The kitchen which was right in front of us was very clean.