1/11/18: Hiking & Partying In Chiang Mai

I woke up around 8 and had breakfast, which was muesli, banana, and passionfruit with rice milk.

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After breakfast I was chilling in the hammock, working on the blog, when the same guy from the previous morning started talking to me. He was still drunk from the night before, and told me he wanted to get to know me and started asking me questions. He ended up just talking about himself the whole time (it makes me laugh when people say they want you to talk but then just talk the whole time anyway). Turns out his life story is pretty sad… I don’t really feel comfortable revealing it here, but after hearing about it I do really empathize with him and understand a bit more why he developed a bad relationship with alcohol.

Anyway, around 9 I got a cappuccino across the street (which didn’t charge me extra for almond milk!), then I went to the grocery store to pick up some lunch since I would be hiking during the day.

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I met up with Nick, the Aussie I had met the night before, to rent bikes to take to the base of the mountain we would be hiking up. After renting our bikes, we stopped by this absolutely ridiculous/amazing cafe called Pencil. I will let the photos speak for themselves.

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Ball pit in the back!

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Literally only exists for Instagram
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My coffee was so cute!! That sugar shot!!

After our pit stop, we took our bikes to Chiang Mai zoo, which is near the base of the mountain. We headed off to a trail that led to a waterfall. It was actually pretty grueling… steep uphills and precarious rocks everywhere. After exploring that trail, we ended up on a large road, which would take us all the way up to the top of the mountain and to the main attraction: Doi Suthep Temple.

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From hike #1

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On our way up, we approached an entrance to a different temple and decided to check it out. We ended up staying at the temple (Wat Pha Lat) for a couple hours since it was so nice. We ate lunch on the rocks overlooking Chiang Mai, just chilling & looking at the clouds and trees. We then hiked a trail that happened to be attached to the temple. We were super sweaty by the end of it, but it was a REALLY nice way to spend a few hours.

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Entrance to temple

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Where we ate lunch
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Nick (and his funky hat)
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View from lunch
Processed with VSCO with f2 preset
Lunch

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We decided to continue up the mountain, but then after about 30 minutes of walking we realized we were still 7 km away from Doi Suthep. We decided to head back down since it was already 3 pm and we only had the bikes rented until 5 pm.

The walk down was kind of painful since my hips/hamstrings hurt from all the downhill momentum. Once we reached the bottom, we snacked on apples & bread.

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After we returned our bikes, I walked home, showered, and chatted with my hostel roommates. They told me the hostel was having a family dinner tonight, prepared by a local Thai chef, for 100 baht (about $3). After being assured that there would be veggie options, I decided to sign up.

The dinner started at 7. The first half hour involved very lengthy explanations of all the dishes, 95% of which were not vegan/vegetarian. There was fried chicken, pork, bbq, sausage, papaya salad (with fish), fresh spring rolls (with meat), chili paste (WITH PORK… WHYYYY), crickets, and other things I can’t really remember because I tuned out.

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There was a separate table for vegetarian dishes, but 3 of them turned out to not even be vegetarian: the spring rolls had pork, the stir fry had chicken, and the papaya salad had shrimp. And 2 of the vegetarian meals had eggs, so I couldn’t eat those either. I was left with rice, plain fried rice noodles, and some stir fried veggies.

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Stir fry veggies, fried spring rolls, egg/veggie dish
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Papaya salad (spot the shrimp!), plain noodles, spring rolls, chicken dish

I was really annoyed by this… there were at least 10 vegetarians but we had SUCH limited options, it was kind of ridiculous. I mean, how hard is it to make spring rolls vegan???! Or to not put shrimp in papaya salad??! I was hardcore complaining and being a bit of a baby, but I really love food and if I’m going to be in a place for a limited period of time and PAYING for the food, I want it to be good.

All the complaining paid off because all the vegetarians ended up getting 50 baht back. Woo!! Half price discount.

After dinner we all went to the nearby 7 Eleven to pick up some beer. I got 2 bottles of Leo (SO MUCH BETTER THAN CHANG BTW) and chatted outside with the rest of the hostel people. Around 10 pm, everyone started heading out to go to the bars. I decided to join since I was curious about what night life in Chiang Mai would be like.

Turns out, not great. We got to this area that was lined with 5 or 6 bars and PACKED with foreigners. We went to Roots Rock Reggae, where all the guys proceeded to compete to see who could shot gun a beer the fastest. It naturally turned into a nationality war: Canada vs America, America vs England, etc. etc. It was pretty hilarious to watch.

After the Reggae bar, we walked about 10 feet away to another bar/club called Zoe in Yellow. It was more of a dance bar so I liked it a bit more. That shut down at midnight, so we all got into a Songthaew and headed over to another club called Spicy. I wanted to go home, so I stayed back in the Songthaew thinking I would just have the driver take me home, but then everyone started calling me out and telling me that I should join and just have fun, don’t be so lame, etc etc so I gave in and went to the club.

Which was not worth it. First of all, they only card Asians (wtf is up with that), make you pay 100 baht to get in (which I narrowly avoided by just acting dumb and slipping by the security), the music SUCKED (all fist bumping, dumb EDM music), and everyone was just way too drunk (I had stopped drinking once we got to Reggae Bar so I was pretty sober at this point).

I decided to leave with one of my roomies about 20 minutes into it, but as soon as we stepped outside we saw another guy from our hostel who tried to convince us to stay longer. My roommate caved and went back in, so I went back in with her. This time, however, security would not let me back in without a drink so I got pissed and was like whatever I’ll just go home. When I went back outside, the same hostel guy was still there. When I told him I was going home, he kept saying how I need to be more of a partier, how lame I am, how I need to represent New York better. He mocked me for being vegan, presumed that I do yoga and made fun of me for that, and was just trying to make me feel shitty for not drinking and wanting to go home.

I think I tend to get more insecure when traveling. Especially when I’m traveling alone. I seek validation, want to fit in, and want to make friends.

So when that guy was saying those things to me, it bothered me. I feel like in normal circumstances, I wouldn’t really care if a random guy I just met was calling me lame and peer pressuring me to drink/stay out, but it got to me this time.

It’s strange how aggressive and offended people get when you decide you don’t want to drink as much as everyone else. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to feel like they’re drinking more/too much. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to be alone…?

Anyway, I got a cab home and got in bed around 1:30. The room was absolutely FREEZING and I slept terribly.

The first half of the day was great; the second half was …. meh. Mixed feelings.

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