An appealing offer to go relaxing at the lake
The girl working at the bar of my guesthouse asked me yesterday if I wanted to join her and some friends on her free Sunday. The prospect of relaxing at the lake sounded appealing to me, so I agreed. She arranges a tuk-tuk for me. We drive to the center of the city to pick up Ae and another friend, Rung. The four of us – me as the only foreigner – head out of downtown Chiang Mai to Huay Tung Tao lake. I am sitting in the middle of the couch, flanked by two Thai ladies.
Exchanging travel tips
Rung and I start talking. She picked up studying again after having worked for a few years; she is not really following a specific course, as far as I understand it is instead a preparatory level. Inevitably, she also wants to hear something about my travel plans. She was recently in Kanchanaburi, a nice place to visit according to her. She recommends me a cozy little hotel; after returning to the city, she will give me a guest card. That way I instantly have a tip regarding whereabouts when eventually I decide to visit Kanchanaburi.
Chill out with friends and relatives
Huay Tung Tao where we have now arrived is an artificial lake. Scattered around the lake are several small, open huts. Inside there are reed mats and a table. Each cabin is numbered; we choose one and sit down. A servant comes over to take our order. This is the way the Thai – especially the youth, but also families – spend their days off; by just relaxing at the lake with friends and relatives, and inevitably a lot of food. You don`t see too many tourists hanging around here, but they are a few.
Feasting a local delicacy
My company ordered several dishes; spicey meat, some vegetables, and also one a particular recipe. It is served in a closed soup bowl. Shortly after that, I discovered the content; small, living grasshoppers, mixed in a soup with herbs. To kill the unfortunate creatures you need to shake the bowl for a while, and then you can start feasting this local delicacy. Wisely, I stick to my rice-vegetable dish.
Hiking in a jungle-like scenery
Rung wants to go hiking, I also want to explore the area, so I join her. The first part of the road leaves away from the lake. In the distance you spot large, green hills, at the front, there are some rice fields. The whole thing looks a bit jungle-like. I am enjoying the walk in this scenery a lot. Back at the lake, we suddenly end up in front of a golden Buddha. I didn`t expect to see encounter this outdoors. Gradually we approach the huts camp again. When I tell Rung that I am curious about the nightlife in Chiang Mai, she proposes to guide me around tonight. That is an opportunity I gladly accept, as it is my last day in Chiang Mai.
Great time relaxing
Around 4 o’clock in the afternoon, we return to Chiang Mai again. Afterward, in the tuk-tuk, I hear that this is because they thought that I was getting bored. That is far from true, I had a great time relaxing at the lake with my new Thai friends today, in a beautiful setting.
Loud blaring reggae music
After a beer and dinner at the bar of my guesthouse, I refresh myself. The tuk-tuk driver picks me up at 11.00 pm to meet Rung. As it is still too early to go to a nightclub, we end up in an open bar, with reggae music. The place is mainly filled with young tourists and some Asian youth. We talk about the facts of life, the conversation is fun, Rung is a smooth talker, but because of the loud music blaring through the speakers, I have to do my best to understand her.
Watching Thai people dancing
Around midnight we visit the first discotheque. The place is rather full, especially Thai, but also a few tourists. Western house music is playing, rather ordinary, but still audible. Here and there you notice people dancing, at their assigned tables, I find it amusing to watch. We can not really talk here, because the sound of the music is too loud.
A real Thai hot spot with a good vibe
After finishing our beer – the staff continually pushes us to order one more, but we turn that down – we leave for another hot spot. We opt for a real Thai place with a good vibe. The venue is filled to the brim with young Thai, I am probably the only farang. There appears to be a popular Thai music group performing. As a result, we regularly hear hysterical screams among the audience. The enthusiasm of the attendees makes us start dancing ourselves.
Sweet ending of my stay in Chiang Mai
The music venue closes at 3 o’clock. The beer takes its toll, and I say that I had enough. Back outside Rung has to discuss with a tuk-tuk driver to negotiate a reasonable price to return me to my guesthouse. I thank her for the wonderful time we spent together, first, during the day, relaxing at the lake, and later, revel by night. We exchange our email addresses and intend to stay in contact. This was a sweet ending of my stay in Chiang Mai, but tomorrow I really want to travel further.