Month 12: Travel Summary and Statistics
Month 12 was all about hitting the pause button. After eleven months on the road it was time to completely unpack our bags, get to know somewhere a bit better, and dare we say it, establish a bit of routine and normality.
We chose Chiang Mai for a number of reasons. It has a large expat community, it’s relatively inexpensive (compared with the rest of Thailand), it has great street food, and there is world-class rock climbing to be found nearby.
We found ourselves an apartment with a poorly equipped kitchenette and spent the first three weeks of the month in the same way as we spent the last of September: eating our way around the street food of Chiang Mai.
It was time for us to get fit again. We joined a yoga class and stretched like we hadn’t since our time at the ashram in Rishikesh. Then we visited the local climbing wall and were shocked how puny we had become. We met some great people there who fast became friends and went outdoor climbing with them at Crazy Horse Buttress.
The time flew by and before we knew it, it was time to pack our bags again and head down south. We headed to Khanom in search of the rare pink dolphin. We did see them but as they were quite juvenile, they had yet to develop much pink pigment.
It was a mixed experience. It was wonderful to see the dolphins. We had chosen an environmental conscious company to go with who kept a distance from these marine mammals but unfortunately many of the boatmen were less considerate of these wonderful animals. They would drive their boats as close as possible to give their passengers a better look and throw fish to attract them in, causing undue stress and affecting their natural habits. In the last four years the population has dropped by over 50 percent.
Then we headed to a natural fish spa had had our feet nibbled. It tickled so much we had difficulty keeping our feet in the water! Everyone found our reactions hilarious.
We’ve bumped into Kristin four times during our trip accidentally. This time we decided to do it on purpose. As we’re all rock climbers we met on the beautiful island of Koh Yao Noi for some hot rock action. But the weather had other ideas and we had to beat a hasty retreat from the lingering monsoon rains.
And that’s how we celebrated one year of travel: climbing… almost oblivious to the day, yet alone the date almost cut off from the world as wifi in the area was extremely limited.
Stats of the month
Countries visited: Thailand
Places visited: 5
Chiang Mai, Khanom, Koh Yao Noi, Tonsai, Railay
Money spent: £24.15 / $29.81 per person, per day
Distance travelled: 2,385 km / 1482 m
Meal of the month: Authentic Southern Thai
Fining some genuine Southern Thai food was a bit of a challenge in the areas we visited. But we got lucky when we found The 14 Khanom. From the outside it appears to be a bike rental shop. Contact them in advance with your preferences and they will head to the market for the freshest ingredients and cook up a storm. We enjoyed a tamarind leaf soup with the softest most delicious squid we’ve every had; incredible slipper lobster fried with whole peppercorns and garlic, and a wonderful Thai seafood salad with fragrant herbs. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.
We’ll be heading to buzzing Bangkok for a few days. After that we’re going to Kanchanaburi to visit the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai and to learn about the prisoners of war who worked on the Thailand-Burma railway. Then we’re making a flying visit to Vietnam to meet Eliza’s brother and girlfriend. We’ll be revisiting one of our favourite towns: Hoi An and sampling yet more hawker food on the streets of Ho Chi Ming City. And then, after one year and 21 days, we will finally be leaving Asia and heading to New Zealand!!