We spent much of our time in Chiang Mai but we wanted to explore the outside region, so we took a day trip to the villages in Northern Thailand. The tour was by mini van with 12 other travelers. We drove 1 1/2 hours north of Chiang Mai to a set of villages tucked away in the mountains down a bumpy dirt road. The first village was called Lisu with villagers of Christian religion. Upon departing the minivan, we were greeted by a group of women dressed in traditional clothes trying to sell us souvenirs. One woman was carrying a baby around her dressed in “traditional” gear and headdress. The baby was so tired falling asleep and finally she passed him off to her “husband”.
Lisu Village Spinster
As we explored the village the woman continued to follow us offering souvenirs. We walked through the village visiting their huts, farm animals and saying hello to the locals chilling out during their lazy Sunday afternoon. We met the Lisu village “Spinster”, who was the oldest women in the village that had never been married. Brett had bought some lined notebooks and pens for the children while in Luang Prabang, Laos. He was handing them out as we passed through the village. The children seemed so happy that they could write or draw in their new books. Continue Reading
March kicked off with several stops around Central and Northern Vietnam. We found it difficult to avoid the tourist track up the coast….. and, impossible to bond with the local people. Sapa promised a village getaway, but we found that it was super touristy and spoiled. In a sense, we wish we had alotted time for Southern Vietnam where the people are supposedly more cordial. In the end, we found positivity in Vietnam through meeting several new friends kayaking at Cat Ba Island.
Top 10 Vietnam Scams:
10) Woman puts heavy basket on our shoulders in hopes for a tourist photo and tip
09) Taxi driver tries to charge $15 instead of the $1.50 on the taxi meter for a simple 2km ride
08) Paying $.25 to pee outside on flat concrete flooring
07) Paying $1.00 for a wet towelette without telling us before the meal
06) Masseuse ends 60 minute massage at 45 minutes after changing a friends’ watch 15 minutes ahead
05) Paying for 2km taxi ride after charging us for 5km Continue Reading
Northern Thailand was quite a refreshing break from the previous few months on the road through Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. Thailand in general is a very easy and friendly country to travel around. The Thais are very much set up for tourism and this is why so many people from all over the world vacation or choose to live in Thailand. One can find just about anything they need. Most Thais are extremely friendly and willing to help tourists, especially in Northern Thailand.
Exotic Asian Art
Chiang Mai is a great place to stay awhile and hang out with a multitude of things to see and do. Chiang Mai old town is a square of 1.5 sq km surrounded on all four sides by a moat and a 700 year old medieval wall once used to protect the city from the Burmese. Inside the city walls are a number of small streets and alley ways filled with friendly family guesthouses, restaurants, cafes, shops and markets. The great thing about Chiang Mai is while you have many tourists and expats in the city, there is also a large mix of locals living all throughout the city. It’s very easy to mix in with the local people and get to know those friendly faces from Chiang Mai and their culture. Continue Reading
We started our Southeast Asia journey with mixed emotions. We felt both excitement and anxiety for the unknown in terms of daily living conditions away from the familiar comforts of home. One main focus has been maintaining our good health. Both of us hit a snag towards the end of January, but we now head into February strong and geared for the charm and adventure of Cambodia and Vietnam! Continue Reading
It’s crunchy, it’s salty, it’s nutty and just a bit fishy too. It’s grilled grasshopper time! That’s right it’s time to try a taste of one of those nutritional insect snacks that have become a popular delicacy in so many parts of the world. Not only are insects high in protein, but they are also rich in vitamins and minerals. We just might be missing out back in the United States! Continue Reading