Archive for October, 2009
I have to admit I quite impulsively booked a flight to Bangkok back in September. I didn’t really have an itinerary; I just knew I wanted to be someplace else for a month. After some research and planning, this is my itinerary thus far:
2 days in Bangkok staying with my outrageous friends, Cameron & Dale. They live in a very swanky highrise condo next to the Malaysian Embassy. Staying with them for a few days is the best way to decompress from the long flight, and snag some insane shopping bargains at the nearby Night Market and Silom Road.
5 days in Chiang Rai, in the region commonly know as the Golden Triangle, formed by the borders of Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos. This area is home to dozens of different ethnic minorities, but is also known historically as a hub for the opium trade. My stay includes some responsible trekking and bike riding to nearby villages. I’m looking forward to visiting Mae Salong, a village in the hills of north Thailand that is populated by former Chinese Nationalists soldiers who settled here in the 1940s.
2 days on the Mekong River, having crossed the Thai border from Chiang Khong. Once on the Lao side, I’ll take a boat downriver, a halfday journey that stops overnight in the riverside town of Pak Beng. The boat arrives the next day in Luang Prabang. From there it’s slow goings, but that’s the whole point. I have about 10 days or so to explore the northern province. The scenery is spectacular, with tall karst formations, waterfalls, and Buddha-filled caves.
From there it’s a long and winding bus ride to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, where I’ll spend 3-4 days before I return to Bangkok for a few more days before flying back to San Francisco.