In Australia and New Zealand I was permanently confronted with bays and beaches – that’s why I leave the south of Thailand with its numerous islands and sandy beaches for the time being. In the north of Thailand, so I hoped, I should also meet a little less tourists – but unfortunately this was a fallacy.
Chiang Mai is a bigger city about 7 hours drive north of Bangkok. For me it should be the ideal starting point for trips into the mountainous region, into the border area to Myanmar and Laos. Chiang Mai is also crowded with tourists, but it is still a lot quieter than Bangkok. There are also countless Wat’s – Buddhist temples hidden all over the city and less crowded than those in the capital.
I like to cook for myself and when I’m standing at the stove, I usually get something Asian out of it. Besides Indian cooking, there has always been a great interest in Thai cuisine, so it was time to take a cooking course in Thailand.
The choice of the cooking school was really successful – together with 10 Americans I was able to learn from a really excellent cook. The most important thing is of course the ingredients – i.e. first we visited the local market, then herbology in our own garden was part of the program. The cooking itself was a blessing – 8 different dishes were prepared and of course eaten by everyone. Every single one of them was perfect – I did not know before that I can cook so well.
With a rented motorbike we went into the mountains, through the forests of the north. The roads are excellent, even if you choose very remote side roads. But it can happen that you meet elephants as road users.
Rather by chance I passed a snake farm, and of course I could not miss the show. Especially the show with the poisonous cobras was quite impressive. I had already seen something similar in Nepal and India – but there the poison fangs are usually extracted before the beating, which means the death of the animal after 4 – 6 weeks. As a proof for existing fangs and the poisonousness of the animals, they were “milked” at the end of the performance, which means that the poison was extracted from them.
A king cobra was displayed in a cage on the premises of the snake farm. Rather jokingly, I said to the snake charmer that I would like to take it in my hand. My eyes got quite big when he really opened them and told me to go inside. The cage was about 2 x 2 meters, the snake was about 4 meters long and as thick as my forearm. I went inside, but I was quite uncomfortable. In such a small room such a snake becomes even bigger. He attacked her on the head – I did not dare to grab her head after all. I am not afraid of snakes – but the whole situation was violent for me, especially because it came so suddenly and unexpectedly.
The area around Chiang Mai is truly beautiful, but there were just too many tourists around. So I decided to drive on to Laos quite quickly. On the way to the border the bus passed the White Temple, a modern and completely cheesy Buddhist temple which is mainly visited by locals.