While waiting for my visa for India, a process that took a grueling 10 days, I decided that instead of hanging around Bangkok, I’d wait it out in Chiang Mai.
I prefer Chiang Mai to Bangkok. It’s still a big city, but with a much more small city vibe to it. Also, it’s a lot cheaper than Bangkok.
This time around, I did a couple things I missed the first time. I went to Doi Suthep, the wat on top a mountain about 12 km outside of the city. It’s a very beautiful wat with very ornate patterns of red and gold and a bright golden pagoda in the center. The view of Chiang Mai is also quite nice up there.
I also went to a few other wats around the city that I didn’t see the first time. One day, another traveler told me about a music festival going on at Thapae Gate. I went with her and a guy from our hotel and we listened to Jazz and watched cultural dances put on by people from various SE Asia countries. Toward the end of the night, the trumpet and saxophone were doing their solos just before the last song. It was great to hear some improv Jazz. I haven’t heard much live music these last 6 months and I realized then how much I missed it. Another highlight of my Chiang Mai stay was getting a Sak Yant tattoo from Arjan Pi Bang Kating, which I wrote about in-depth HERE.
Mostly though, I just spent my time researching about India, planning my route and things I wanted to see. I went to a different temple every day to meditate. Finally, Monday came around, and I got the letter than my Indian visa was ready for pickup. I went to Bangkok on an overnight bus, picked up my visa, and caught a late-night flight to Kolkata (Calcutta). At the time of writing this I am in India, walking to the beat of a different drum.