8/12/2008 – Goodbye Chiang Mai, Hello Luang Prabang
Still got a cold and it’s getting worse. My last morning in Chiang Mai was spent sleeping and packing. It’s surprising how long it takes to pack a rucksack.
So, my final thoughts on Chiang Mai? I love the place. The city is small enough to feel intimate, easy to get around, not too drowned in traffic and surrounded by stunning landscapes. There is plenty to do here, with lots of yummy food to be had, great shopping, a huge range of activities to do. SpicyThai was a home from home and I will miss wandering around a hostel in my pyjamas all morning drinking tea, watching telly and writing blogs. And so much more. I am finding hard to express the atmosphere of the place, I guess atmosphere is one of those things that by its nature is difficult to describe. Still, I know that this won’t be the last time I go to Chiang Mai and I look forward to my next visit.
I said my goodbyes to Jimmy and Kelly and Noom and Saow. I felt a little tearful as they waved me off in the taxi as I headed off to the airport. I guess I have spent nearly a month with Jimmy and Kelly, day and night and we’ve done quite a lot together, so it is understandable that I’ll miss their pretty faces.
And so I embarked on my next adventure. No-one mentioned that Lao Airlines fly propeller planes! It was the scariest ascent I have ever experienced on a plane, we literally bounced through the air until we reached 20,000 feet. My knuckles were white from gripping the arm-rests and I’m sure my heart was pounding at an unnaturally fast speed. Thankfully the flight was quite short, I read for about 45 minutes, refused the cold burger that the air hostess offered as a snack and resumed my hand-gripping position on the arm rests.
I had a great view of the landscape as we came down to land in Luang Prabang. It’s stunning. As we came to land we swooped so low over the town that I wasn’t sure if a runway even existed and we would inevitably drop onto the town itself. And drop we did, but thankfully, right at the last minute, the runway appeared beneath us and we plopped down onto the tarmac.
The airport kind of looked like a snazzy shed and we queued up to get our visas on arrival and passports checked. My baggage I found dumped on the floor by the exit, waiting for me to pick it up. Nice.
I jumped into a taxi and arrived soon after at SpicyLaos. The sister hostel of SpicyThai. Jimmy had already emailed Pong to book me in and so I trundled in, introduced myself and settled into my new dorm.
Not long after I arrived, 3 of the girls from SpicyThai arrived. They had left 3 days before me and looked a little shocked to see me here already.
After settling in, we all went down the night market to hunt down some food. The night market was lovely, so much more chilled than any of the ones I’d seen in Thailand. But after spending so much money on flights I’m working on trying to preserve my funds so went back to the hostel with the girls where we settled down in the TV room to watch X-Men with Pong.