South to North
Yesterday we took a 2-hour plane ride from the south of Thailand, Phuket, to Chiang Mai in the north, and then a 1.5-hour very comfortable (and $4!) bus ride southeast to a smaller town, Lampang, which we read most people pass through on their way to Chiang Mai, the main tourist attraction in northern Thailand. We chose it as a way to try to experience a Thailand less affected by tourists, and perhaps as an even more relaxed town than the beach towns of Phuket. I realized I am not a beach town person! I get too hot lying on the beach for long, and feel guilty if I’m not on the beach…….and also found that the towns themselves didn’t feel as interesting after a little while, as they felt very catered to tourists and not quite as much of a glimpse inside a foreign culture like I am most interested in when traveling.
We just arrived yesterday afternoon but so far Lampang is just what we wanted. Much less touristy, tons of neat-looking restaurants filled with locals, and lots of little side streets that we can’t wait to walk down and explore.
We are here for eight days at a really neat guesthouse that we found from our Lonely Planet book which has all the quaint character that I love. It is very peaceful right by the river and is almost empty given that this is the tourist down season (ie. even more hot and humid). A warm and outgoing local woman we met on a taxi yesterday told us that eight days is way too long to spend in Lampang and thought we were crazy to want to do so, and according to the guesthouse owner most people stay for much shorter, but this is exactly the Thailand I want to see, and eight days sounds like the perfect length of time to get to relax and discover this small(er) town before heading to Bangkok.