The funny thing about this is I wasn’t even riding the bike when I got into a biking accident, and now I’m sitting in my hotel room with a plastic bag of ice I alternate between my knee and my arm hahaha.
I started the day with The Inside House breakfast. The staff told me to order as much as I wanted from the menu. I initially just got coffee and juice, and they asked if I wanted to go for a smoothie as well. Of course, I said yes. When the food menu came out, I got the Lanna Breakfast set (lots of interesting items on the menu!), and they asked if I wanted to have a salad with it too. I just went along with whatever she was recommending and.. oh gosh, I got so many things. I managed to fill the entire dining table with food I wasn’t sure how to finish. One of the things my mom insisted on while we were growing up was that we are only allowed to take food that we can finish. At one point in time, I wasn’t allowed to leave the dining table if the food I put on my plate was unfinished. My parents grew up poor and food was scarce, and my mom hated the idea of wasting food.
Everything tasted yummy, especially the chocolate croissant in the bread basket! I tried to stuff myself with everything and finish all of the dishes on my table but had to eventually ask if I can take some of them up to my room. They agreed! After breakfast, I spent some time in the tub before I headed out for my random photo walk. My thing about solo travel is – I’m shit at taking photos and I rarely have good photos taken of me. I’ve been traveling solo since I was 22. And sometimes I wish I had more to show for it. A lot of times, I just get so in the moment that I forget to take photos or clips of them. While that’s nice, our memories aren’t perfect and years down the line, I can’t conjure those visuals in my head anymore. I’d remember what happened but I’d also have to confirm if it actually did happen without having tangible proof that it did. Do you get what I mean? Haha
Boom and Not met up with me at McDonald’s Tha Pae gate. They’re a sibling duo who does photo walks in Chiang Mai. We spent some time walking around Tha Pae (East Gate) which apparently was the most recent one to be renovated/reconstructed. There were bird feeders there that you can pay to chuck bird seeds at you so that the birds fly at you conveniently for photos/videos. The video they got of me was nice but I get so insecure about my tummy that it’s probably never going to see the light of day. Our next stop was a cafe where I got really good iced orange espresso. It was very hot when I was there which was a good thing because I was worried it would be the rainy season. Last month, it rained so hard in Chiang Mai that one of the oldest pagodas crumbled down. Our third stop was Mae Kha Canal (Boom made sure to tell me to drop by at night because it would look nicer) – it was this canal lined by local souvenir shops, small cafes, and bars. Since we went early, the place was practically empty. But it looked nice with all the decor for the festival. Boom said that they’ll probably hold their own Yee Peng in the canal and oh my gosh, that would be such a sight to see.
We also went to one of the temples (my thing with temples is that beautiful as they may be – most of the time when you’ve been to one, you’ve been to all of them) to take more photos. I personally am not the biggest fan of taking photos in temples, if I’m being honest. I’m agnostic so I don’t really participate in a lot of religious activities unless I have to (baptisms, weddings, funeral rites etc), but I feel like if a building is an active place of worship, the best thing we can do is only take photos when it’s not in use. It makes me uncomfortable to be snapping photos while anyone is practicing their religion or praying – if that makes any sense. Because I used to be a devout Catholic and I prayed a lot, especially when my mom was sick, and that would suck if I was going through all those things and yet someone was out there, not understanding that I needed some peace to air my prayers.
Our last stop was at One Nimman. We had some ice cream and walked around. There were tons of Halloween decor around and Boom told me that if I wanted to party, this would be the best place to go. She did mention some other local places (there’s a spot within the Old City that was just all bars), but she said this would be the least overwhelming place for me since the crowd would be less dense there. Given that the Itaewon incident had just happened, I was wary of going into crowds, especially one for a Halloween celebration. We parted ways at One Nimman, although they invited me to lunch. However, I saw some perfume shops and wanted to check those out, and had to decline.
When I got back to the hotel, I passed by the hotel restaurant and saw couples having afternoon tea! I went back to my room to charge my phone and went down to try out the complimentary service. I thought it would just be a pot of tea and a few snacks, but oh my gosh, it was A LOT. I didn’t even need to eat lunch that day because I got so full of all the pastries and that pot of tea that I consumed. They even asked if I wanted more when I clearly was stuffed already. It was crazy!! Ugh I love this hotel and I’m already dreading having to leave.
It took me more than an hour of chill staring into space to daydream (because my phone was back in my room) while munching on all the pastries. When I got back to my room, I changed into another set of clothes (one I could bike in) and headed off to Trailhead for the city biking tour. Now I wouldn’t be able to name all the spots we biked in, but oh god, I was nervous. I’ve mentioned before that Chiang Mai reminded me greatly of Ayuttaya and Siem Reap. The old city looks similar to the moat, the rivers dividing the streets and whatnot. I did the one-day biking tour for Ayuttaya pre-pandemic and found it manageable (not a lot of cars or motorbikes), so when the vibe was similar, I thought it would just be as easy. It was not. There were so much more cars and a lot more pedestrians. I’ve known how to bike since I was in kindergarten (thanks to the pink Sailor Moon bike that my parents bought me, and which my dad took the training wheels off shortly after I got it for Christmas), and I still own a city bike until now. I’m comfortable with biking. But aside from the fact that they drive on the opposite side of the road, I was simply not used to having to bike in such a densely populated area. I was terrified of either getting hit by another vehicle or by getting myself into an accident.
And because I got the evening bike tour, it was harder to see. One of the stops we eventually ended up at was the less popular entrance of Mae Khan. And Boom was right. It really was a sight to see at night with all the lights, the people, and the decor on the water. We parked our bikes and walked around, spotted a couple of marijuana plants by the side of the road (very legal in Thailand), and ate all the snacks they were selling. Because there were too many people on the narrow roads by the canal, we had to walk with our bikes in tow. At the end of the canal, as I was pushing my bike up this slope (entering the highway/road), my pants got caught in the bike’s chains for some reason.. which caused me to trip where I ended up sprawled in the ground with the bike crashing on me. Ugh gravity.
I shrugged it off and said I was fine (I truly wasn’t), and soldiered on for the rest of the tour. Which at that point, I really just wanted to end and head back to my hotel. It continued on for a few more hours. Our last stop was Warorot Market where she had me try out different snacks before heading to a rooftop cafe where we watched Corpse Bride on spotty internet (the movie kept lagging) and we biked back to Trailhead to return the bikes.
Overall, it was truly a nice experience. Even if I got back with a badly wounded knee and I’m sure, another bruise on my arm (I already had a huge spot of red on my arm, this is gonna look awful for the rest of my trip). I was asking the hotel staff if they can send me a cold compress or an icepack, and they couldn’t seem to understand what for. So I just asked them for some ice and I emptied out a pack of face masks to use the plastic for my cold compress. One of the worst parts was I was wearing boob tape instead of a bra the entire day, and when I was about to wash my exhausted body off the day’s grime, some bits of my skin got ripped off when I took off the tape. It looks nasty – like I got a few hickeys on my chest, except it’s red because it’s a wound and I didn’t have any fun getting them and they are surely going to leave a wound. Ouch. I’m tired and lowkey in pain. But it does make for a good story that I can just laugh about in the future lol.