This morning I had every intention of catching a bus to Chiang Mai.
I packed up my things, and then left to find a bite of breakfast before going to the bus station to purchase a ticket.
I remembered reading about BaanChivitMai in the Lonely Planet guidebook, and it happened to cross my path, so I stopped in. Its a local bakery whose proceeds support disadvantaged children, and whose coffee and free wifi fuel the tourist types.
Now, here I am, an hour later, having had a wholly unhealthy breakfast of cafe fare, still typing away on my tablet. I just ordered a fruit smoothie to balance things out, and that will probably keep me going for another hour.
The atmosphere in this cafe/bakery is so calm, and so...familiar. I feel like I'm at home, which at the moment is quite comforting! I also have a lot of emailing/interneting to do, so its a convenient place to hunker down. I think I'll stay one more night in Chiang Rai!
For the last week or so I have completely neglected the blog and my personal journal. I will try to get back on track!
First of all...I have departed Laos! I spent just over 2 weeks there, and while it was very beautiful and I liked it a lot, I just couldn't seem to connect there. I don't know how to explain this. I struggled to decide whether to spend more time there or head back to Thailand, and as soon as I arrived in Chiang Rai, I knew I had made the right choice. I am LOVING this part of Thailand!
That being said, I would love to go back to Laos one day and explore more of the country, but I would go with someone else. I found it a difficult country to travel solo, in part because:
1. 99%* of tourists are French, and don't want to speak English
2. 90%* of tourists are couples and aren't necessarily interested in meeting other travelers
3. Most accommodation is private rooms, not dorms, so its more difficult to meet people
4. Everything is very expensive (roughly same prices as at home, or more), especially if you can't split costs with anyone.
5. Its a country where there isn't necesarily much to do, but its a cool place to hang out. This means good company is essential.
*Highly scientific numbers
I only saw a handful of what Laos has to offer, so in my reasoning, this makes it an excellent location to return to. I think it would be a wonderful place to cycle/motorbike through. One day :)
Now that I'm back in Thailand, I have been enjoying how cheap everything is...especially the food!!! It's so delicious. And its much warmer and sunnier than Laos. After having spent 2 weeks in Hanoi, and 2 weeks in Northern Laos, I was beginning to feel some serious sun deprivation. In Thailand I can wear shorts and tank tops again! It's glorious. (Yes, I realize you are all in the dead of winter and I shouldn't complain about "chilly" 20 degree weather). Best of all, there are so many cheap hostels to stay in and meet other travelers!
My plan now is to visit a few places in Northern Thailand while waiting for my e-Visa for Myanmar to be processed. Fingers crossed it will be accepted, and then I will be heading off to possibly the most interesting and un-touristed country of my trip! I have met a few people that have been there already, and they all loved it! Apparently tourists can only stay in certain registered accommodations, which makes it expensive ($25-35/night for "cheap" places, compared to $7-8/night in Thailand), but on the plus side that means it will be easy to locate other travelers :)
After Myanmar, I wll fly back to Bangkok to meet up with my dear friend Rishelle who is coming to Thailand for a 2 week vacation! I couldn't be more excited! We will bask in the sun of the Southern Islands, and it will be so great to have some quality time together!
When she flies home, I will continue South to Malaysia to eat away my depression noshing on the delicious street food of Penang...and that's about as far as my plans go! I'm halfway through my 6 month travels, but I think the 2016 half will pass much faster than the 2015 half (which has gone by very quickly!).
Happy New Year, Regis readers!