What happened next was stuff that dreams are made of…in strawberry flavor. I had my wits on and made the sign in Thai, believe it or not. 20 min into the hitch and it just felt off. Like it’s not gonna work. Nobody really gave a shit, the owner of the nearby restaurant kept waving me towards the bus station. I suggested we move along. Out of the blue a woman approaches us. Startled, it took me a few seconds to realise she’s actually offering a ride. She saw our sign and thought I could teach her son how to skateboard, haha. I gotta say, traveling with the board is the best. It can be cumbersome at times however, I’ve got my own transport for shorter or medium distances – money I cam better use for fruit shakes. I can make beer runs for people and be useful. The best of all it’s a great conversation starter. Not only do I meet other skaters who, at least in Thailand are excited about me traveling like this but it seems every other person seems to have skated at some point in their lives. Plus, chixdiggit.
Although our plan was to go to Pai, the lady got us convinced Chiang Dao was a better option. Less tourists was all I needed to hear. So we took the choice of an unknown venture – the choice that usually rewards and this time it was no different.
Sometimes you see people from a far and just intuitively know you were ment to meet up. The three youngsters soaking themselves in one of the hot spring pools were no different. I can’t recall where I first heard of the shaky delight. Someone somewhere was quite enthusiastic about it… Ah yeah! It was a guy from Holland we met at a beach barbecue in Koh Phangan! Anyway, since then I wanted the experience and here it was.
First of I expected something else. Like, natural ponds of water flowing into each other, the highest one being the hottest. No one mentioned they smell of rotten eggs. Unpleasant at first but not unbearable. About 7 or so concrete basins, with water temperature varying from lukewarm to too hot, next to a cold river where you can cool off if things get too steamy. One of Kneipp’s five pillars, right there. Lying in the bath, gentle sound of the stream, wind carresing the leaves, simple chatting of the locals and children squeaking with joy, cows from the village nearby calmly grazing about felt so relaxing I nearly fell asleep. But then, as is always the case in life, hunger striked. Had to get out and get my stash of peanuts from the backpack back at the camp. I love the peanuts here. For a price of a normal meal, a bag would last me for days if I only use them when I’m somewhere where there seems to be no food stall in sight. A rare occurrence in a country obsessed with food, but it happens. Actually, I’ll be right back, got a get some 😁
Heading back to the camp I find Laurie disgusted at this butter and sugar filled bun she purchased at the local shop, as well as the Italian couple and the girl from Chile we saw earlier at the springs, all chatting away like you do when you meet fellow travelers in the middle of nowhere. Even more so if you feel like you’re united by fate. The couple made some hot tea for everyone and the Chilean invited us to another session at the hot spring with a look in her eyes I couldn’t ignore😊
Opening my eyes, there were millions of stars and a half moon above me. Chiang Dao basically means “village of the stars” and I can’t think of a more appropriate name for a place with such low light pollution. I’ve just set myself up perfectly in one of the baths taking in the healing properties of the minerals in the water as well as the moonlight directly above me. Laurie disturbed all that, trying to get me to open up a bottle of beer but I wasn’t having it. I just didn’t wanna move a muscle. If she doesn’t know how to open it with a lighter, I guess she’ll learn. Which she did wouldn’t you know. But before she did she had to get upset and leave which was actually quite alright with me cause now me and the other girl were quite alone in a setting one could only dream of. Needles to say, we took use of it until the cows came home.
I don’t even know how other travel writers decide what exactly they’re gonna write about. Everyday there’s a myriad of little happenings and twists and turns, I mean, how do you encapsulate all that without going into too much detail or make it seem like you’re only touching the surface on events that bear such great significance for one’s life? There’s always beautiful, extraordinary things to be seen which can be further intensified and enriched with the right people. I have to say, so far on this journey, we’ve had nothing but amazing people coming our way and that made an amazing country spectacular. Thank you all, safe travels.