Udon Thani to Chiang Mai

Posted from Mueang Udon Thani, Udon Thani, Thailand.

My stay in Udon Thani was brief and I sort of regretted not staying longer. The city wasn’t stuffed with foreigners like many of the places I’ve been visiting. Perhaps this had to do with it being a border town. Most people probably only pass through on their way to Vientiane to do a visa run or to just get into Laos after visiting Thailand. But from the moment I got off the bus the place felt special. I will have to return one day.

Udon Thani and the airport.

Udon Thani and the airport.

I stayed in a hotel called JK Place that I found on Agoda. It was a little more money than I was used to paying, about $13, but I figured it was near the airport and my taxi ride in the morning wouldn’t be too ridiculous. When I went up to my room I was impressed. It was clean, with a flat screen TV and a mini-fridge. But after my previous stay and concurrent bedbug bites all over my legs, the first thing I did was throw back the covers and inspect the bed. Sure enough, there were tiny ants crawling around on the bed. Mother fucker. I returned to the lobby and tried to explain to the lady at the desk that my room was no good. I drew her a picture of an ant, a bed and then put tiny spots all over the bed. Then I showed her my legs and she gasped. We both went back to the room to inspect the situation and she gasped again. I got a new room.

This room we both inspected and it was good. Then that sweet lady lent me her bug-bite balm for the evening to help soothe my legs which were itching beyond the outer rims of hell. The ants, however, not bed bugs, probably came on board when the sheets were outside drying. That being said, they still fucking bite.

After I was settled I went in search of food. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. There are restaurants everywhere, but I wanted some street food. I missed Thai food so much. I found a nice side-walk joint nearby the hotel and luckily the man running it knew some English. I told him to make me whatever he wanted, but with chicken. He smiled. I’m told Thai people don’t usually play lottery with their food. He made me a wonderful soup with Thai noodles and lots of vegetables, and chicken. It was piping hot and I had a hard time eating it.

The next morning I returned the frontdesk girl’s balm and headed to the airport. My flight was on Nok Air, a domestic budget carrier within Thailand. This was my first experience flying within SE Asia, but I can say it’s the same as flying within Canada. Check-in is the same. Baggage collection is the same. And you wait in the same kind of boring waiting area. There were a few other Westerners at the airport too, but most of them were older men, with young Thai women.

The check-in counter at Udon Thani airport.

The check-in counter at Udon Thani airport.

Ah yes, the waiting area of waiting areas.

Ah yes, the waiting area of waiting areas.

The flight was one hour. I got settled in my seat, we took off and then we got refreshments – a water and chocolate pretzel. Eat your heart out Air Canada! Apart from the noise of the props, it was a great flight and something inside me was relieved to finally be in an airplane again. It felt so normal.

Our trusty bird.

Our trusty bird.

The bus ride to Chiang Mai is about 12 hours. It winds through mountains at the break-neck speed of 30km/h, making an otherwise short distance drag on forever. At times I think flying within SE Asia is worth it, but as a rule I won’t do much of it. I like to see the country-side. Plus, the journey gives me the feeling that I’ve actually gone somewhere, which makes sense.

Getting some writing done while enjoying my chocolate pretzel.

Getting some writing done while enjoying my chocolate pretzel.

The whole experience, though, was very uneventful, apart from the ants in the bed.

When we landed we were put on a shuttle bus to transport us across the tarmac to the terminal. My luggage came out within five minutes after arriving in Chiang Mai. The taxi ride was 120,000 Baht, standard, I suppose, but I’ve decided to stop nickel-and-diming on every single thing. This is supposed to be vacation.

I got to my hostel, So Hostel and checked in, despite it being before check-in time. Next step, explore Chiang Mai.

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