This year Christmas and New Years were different than ever before. For Nina it was the first time she celebrated the holidays in a warmer climate. This makes it difficult to get into the Christmas mood, even though they do their best here in Thailand with beautiful decorations.
Christmas is getting closer and quite frankly we have no idea where we will find ourselves. It is difficult to plan on the bike because you never know exactly what is achievable in a day.
We finally managed to arrive in Chiang Mai on Christmas Eve. It was a long day because we actually planned to stop 20 km before the city to enter the city the next day, but the city turned out to start a bit earlier. After trying to find a place to sleep without result, we cycled all the way to the city. Because of these extra kilometers we had cycled more than 100 km!
But we now had a nice central sleeping place and therefore also “won” some time. We where planning on going to the movies and because we are already in the city we decided to treat ourselves by going wired away. We went to Avatar! It’s kind of a tradition for both of us to go to the cinema for Christmas and Avatar was a movie we’ve both been looking forward to.
After a good but short night we packed our things again to go to our next stay. We had already arranged this in advance. We arrive early and no one is there to receive us. We leave our stuff behind to do some chores. The bicycles has to go to the bicycle repair shop because the shifting is not going so well and after trying to solve it ourself it has only gotten worse. We were helped by triple cats bikes, a bicycle repair shop specialized in touring bicycles. He also gave us good tips for the route and a warm shower host close to the border with Laos, but more about that later.
Christmas Day was not really a special day for us. We explored a bit of the city (on the scooter) and did some chores like laundry and a haircut for Q. We also visited an organic farmers market and drank delicious coffee. It as a nice social place and we got to talk with a few people how live in Chiang Mai. In Chiang Mai there also is a very large Sunday market that we visited the same day and where we ate a lot of good food. So we had our Christmas diner and called some family.
On Boxing Day the alarm went off early because we want to be at Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep with sunrise. After sitting on the scooter for 45 minutes in the cold, we arrived. It was a magical morning with the monks chanting with the rising sun. The temple is located high on a hill, giving you a beautiful view of the city.
This beautiful morning left us both very tired. We visited a number of sights, but by noon we went to our room to get some sleep. We also used the rest of the day to relax and only went out for dinner. This way we were well rested to continue our journey the next day to Chiang Rai where we will celebrate New Year’s Eve.
We arrived in Chiang Rai on New Year’s Eve. We had booked a cheap accommodation here that we didn’t expect too much from. Fortunately, this was not too bad for us and it was also close to the New Year’s festivities, but far enough away that we could sleep well.
It is nice that we can celebrate our New Year’s here in a city with not a hole lot of tourist because its not the New Year’s of Thailand. They have there own New Years party in the warmest period of the year where there is a big water fight everywhere. And they celebrate Chinees new year aswell.
We went for dinner at the night market, where there was live music and various performances that evening. We had a delicious festive meal with Thai hotpot, which almost everyone seemed to be having. After enjoying the performances while enjoying a beer, it was time to go to the clock tower.
Here is a long street with many tables, foodstalls, bars and again a large stage. Several well-known Thai artists were performing here and it was very busy and fun. Only for the bikepackers we are it’s hard to stay awake till so late, so we decided to rest for a while in a coffeeshop. After resting we went among the crowd and watched the show. After the countdown there was a small fireworks show, but after that it was over. Where in the Netherlands the party really starts then, everyone seemed to be getting ready to go home.
Fortunately, when we went to our stay there was still a small party on a street with dancing people. We joined in and had a good dance. The music made it seem as if we had ended up in the year 2010;) It was very nice, in the end we went to bed reasonably on time to start the new year fresh and fruity!
Best wishes to anyone reading this. We have had a wonderful 2022 full of stories and adventures and look forward to our journey in 2023. We hope you have a healthy, adventurous and happy 2023!