It always seems to be the case with me that, after an enlightening, wholesome experience, I go down the deep end — FAST. But deep end in Maria Alexandra’s life is just a night of absurd fun. Or 2. In a row. Minimal drinking required. Alongside the most beautiful Chiang Mai ladyboys:
And an innocent Indian-American boy and a good 20-something Spaniard–whom yours truly both enlightened and corrupted in less than 24 hours.
Don’t jump into conclusions so fast, though.
WELCOME to part 4 of my impromptu solo adventures in North Thailand!
- Part 1: My First 24 Hours
- Part 2: Couchsurfing & Temple Desecration (whoops)
- Part 2b: Blacking out on Top of a Market Bridge (ay..)
- Part 3: Chiang Mai Temple Hopping
Chiang Mai Ladyboys, Monks, and Micro Flights
After my magical afternoon tea time at the Makka Hotel, I walked down the old city until night fell. Then, some catchy music caught my years at the Night Bazaar inside Anusarn Market.
Out of the blue, gorgeous Thai women started to approach me. It only took one of their friends walking after for me to realize that,
Many of these Chiang Mai ladyboys were more gorgeous than me, though.
And so, I was convinced to pay the ~290 baht entrance fee and enter the magical world of the celebrated Chiang Mai Cabaret.
All by myself. Right in 2nd row.
I laughed until my tears were so salty my eyes stung. Almost immediately after, another act moved my heart toward another bout of tears.
HOW, in the world, could a ladyboys show be so funny, so entertaining, so sultry, feisty, and yet moving — all at the same time?
I’ve been to my fair share of drag queen shows and let me tell you, Chiang Mai’s was peculiar. And far more fun.
Maybe I’ve never been to a particularly good one? It was my first trip to Thailand, after all. Maybe next time I should go on a ladyboy Cabaret tour around the country.
(that sounds fun as heck)
the next morning…
MICRO FLIGHT TIME! ‘Cause I don’t waste time between my thrills.
Another last-minute arrangement of mine in Chiang Mai: to fly high above the sky and see the region from yet another perspective.
At the crack of dawn, I was scootered to the Old City by my Couchsurfing host to be whisked away to a tiny airfield at a nearby town.
WOW is all I can say — some of you have seen the Chiang Mai micro flight video from a previous post. Here are some photos again!
My host Julien had yet another busy morning playing online poker for a living, so it was time for me to crash a hostel patio one more time to make more friends and rally up a new crew.
I first met up with José* (the young handsome Spaniard) again after he decided to join his friends at Pai a day later.
Then, super randomly, a good-natured Indian-American crashed our duo.
I can’t even remember how it happened–we were kind of talking about what we would do for the day and he said something along the lines of “hey! My name is Vader* — can I join you?!”
And just like that, the new 3 Musketeers were born. At least for a day.
Our Top 2 Off-The-Beaten-Path Chiang Mai Temples
The day flew by: I showed them some of my favorite Chiang Mai temples from the day before, in addition to going on the hunt for some off-the-beaten-path gems.
What really happened is I got lost again, drifting them into local labyrinths.
And so we found beautiful things somewhere between suburbia and the forest:
1. Wat Ram Poeng: a fascinating monastery that now serves as a popular meditation center for both locals and foreigners alike. Charming 6-acre campus.
Why I call it off-the-beaten-path? It is only popular with people who are extremely serious about meditation, going on 10 to 26-day courses.
We were the only visitors there who were not enrolled in such a course. The calming energy that enveloped us was incredible.
2. Wat Umong: conveniently located close to my Couchsurfing host’s apartment, we ended up here after a long, long walk from Wat Ram Poeng. The smartphone map said it was close! (we probably got lost and took a parallel road. Again).
This was the most touching, as it blended seamlessly with the surrounding forest:
There was even a lake and intricate caves doubling as temples:
We spent several hours there, until I had to go back to my host’s apartment to hang out and have dinner.
BUT WE SCHEMEDDDD *insert evil laugh here*
After a wholesome afternoon exploring some of the most gorgeous, off-the-beaten-path temples around Chiang Mai, I started to tell the boys about my crazy time at the cabaret the night before.
They were more than intrigued: they had never been to a dragshow. EVER
Like, nowhere in the world. In their entire lives.
Oh yah, WE ARE GOING.
My host Julien shied away after my proposal, so he went back home after dinner–while I proceeded to have one of the funnest nights of my solo travels anywhere in Southeast Asia…