The past month was a busy and fun-filled month of travels and new adventures. As much as I’d like to catch up with my backlog with blog posts here in my site, I found that traveling from Northern Thailand to the Northern and Southern Part of Vietnam for the past 4 weeks has been tough. I tried to go everywhere I can possibly go and I was barely online. In an effort to update my blog, I’d like to give you guys an quick update that I’m now back in the Philippines, wrapping up my trips, spending time with family here and catching up with good old friends before I go home to America.
So where was I the past month?
I officially ended my 2.5 month stay in Thailand. After experiencing the Songkran festival and after my Chiang Mai apartment rental expired last April, I only had a week left until my Thai visa expired. I loved Chiang Mai a lot and spent two months in my whole year’s trip just in that city alone. Since I’m more of a mountain person than a beach person I decided to spend my remaining time in the north. Going to Pai was a no-brainer.
On the way home to Pai
Sunset view from my bungalow in Pai
I intended to have a quiet time in Pai and practice my motorbike driving skills, after all I am a solo traveler. However, I was still in Thailand- the land of smiles, the land of the friendliest people and the land where I get mistaken as Thai everyday.
I was on my way to Pai on a minivan when I met a group of Thais from Bangkok. I originally planned to sleep the whole time on the van since I didn’t want to get dizzy on the trip so I chose to sit in front. However, the girl beside me wanted to talk. I ended up in an ambush interview and was asked with the usual questions in South East Asia: why I was traveling alone, my relationship status, how much I spent on my trip and why I stayed so long in Chiang Mai and where I was going next. Gotta love the Thais!
In our conversation, I found out that they were there for the Pai food festival. I didn’t know that I will be there on the exact dates of the food festival. I wonder why I always find myself in food festivals. Food and me are really meant to be.
Food tasting at the Pai Food festival with the Bangkok locals
Since they will only be there for two days, they invited me to tour Pai the next day. The only reason I went to Pai is to become really comfortable driving a motorbike by myself. Since I had time, I accepted the invitation and before I knew it, I found myself in the following situations:
Boiling eggs in a hot spring on a Thursday morning
Having a conversation with an elephant
and blending in, Thai style.
One advantage of being a South East Asia traveling in South East Asia is that people always mistake you as a local. I don’t mind this at all and got used to it since my third month on the road. I noticed that people are also a lot nicer, give you special perks (discounts) and treat you as one of them. Since I am a traveler and not a tourist on a limited time, I am more open and flexible to spontaneous situations. Joining this group has been so much fun! Not only did I get to meet sweet friends who bid me farewell with a message “You always welcome in Thailand, Anna”, I also did accomplish my goal of driving a scooter confidently!
I love Thailand long time! Crossing mountains @ Highway 1095.
After my time in Thailand, I flew from Bangkok to Hanoi and started my Vietnam adventures in the north. I intended to travel the country for a month but was only given 21 days visa on arrival.
So where was I in Vietnam? In a few pictures, I…
enjoyed walking around Hanoi despite its crazy busy streets,
experienced the beauty of Ha Long Bay,
trekked through the mountains of Sapa,
biked around the UNESCO World Heritage City of Hoi An
and loved its colorful and beautiful lanterns at night,
jumped my way in the sand dunes of Mui Ne,
and finally made it to Saigon to fit into the spy hole in Cu Chi tunnels.
It’s been one crazy, fun-filled month of exploring! I will post more details about the destinations I visited for my recommendations in the next few weeks.
Next week I’m ending my 1 year trip in Asia where else but in my home country, the Philippines. I’m heading next to Northern Luzon to explore another cultural heritage site and will try to squeeze in some beach time.