Travelling alone, not really.

Lying on a spacious sofa in a garden at my “guesthome” in the hearth of Chiang Mai city with a laptop in front of me early in the morning is something I have not done for a long time (if you were to exclude the requisite location of Chiang Mai).

I have been travelling since late march and though have returned to home for a week to recuperate from my sickness after Laos, have not felt a slightest hint of homesickness.

Maybe because I have always been in close contact with my family and friends over the phone and internet and that blogging has always linked me back to civilization, I never felt that I was really away. Reading comments becomes a past time and I felt that despite my distance, I’m never too far away from my home – Malaysia.

The odd thing about travelling alone, is that I can never seem to find myself alone.

As early as travelling in Laos, I have always been able to find a companion to travel with, whether they just land themselves in front of me, or it is god’s will to let us meet.

Three months ago, Raj called one night asking if I was interested to go to Laos, Airasia was throwing the once in a year free seatings promotion. With almost no delay, we booked a return flight to Laos that very same day.

And then I was browsing by the site and realised a single return flight from Cambodia would only cost me RM75. Out of enthusiasm, and I embarrassingly admit, I booked a one way ticket from back Phnom Phen at the end of the month of April (when I was to return from Laos on the 3rd) and made my plans to travel around Indo-China like I always wanted.

Yes it was an overnight decision, but it was a long night k?! I thought LONG and hard and didn’t sleep on it.

As read before in my Laos entry, when I parted with Raj in Vang Vieng, I was soon joined by John in Luang Phrabang.

But then I fell sick and couldn’t proceed to travel from Laos to Chiang Mai (as they were so near each other), hence with the privilege to choose to fly back from Vientiane to KL on my return flight ticket, I flew back to KL for recovery.

On my first night up to Hatyai on a night bus from KL, I was seated next to this really friendly Uncle who talked to me about his life and his marriage to his Thai wife. How he befriended the Thai bus conductors because he has frequented Thailand back and forth so often. He then helped me to buy a Bangkok bus ticket at the bus station before meeting up with his wife in Hatyai.

bus to bangkok
Quite comfy la~


On my second bus ride heading up north, I read through most of my books since it was day time and I have had enough sleep the night before (not that I ever sleep much when I travel). Shawn from Kuching emailed me one day telling me he would be in Bangkok the same time that as I, so we arranged to meet up as soon as I were to set my foot in Bangkok.

On my arrival in Bangkok Southern terminal, it was already midnight, and most bus services have ended. I met this Thai guy while waiting for the same bus to the city (pointless wait) and we chatted with the bit of English he could manage. He found out I was to look for a hotel and assisted me in taking all the public transport in Bangkok to reach name of the hotel I’ve shown him. It was my first time taking a public bus in Thailand, and he even paid for my 10 baht bus fee! (Though in the end I were to discover he led me to the wrong hotel -.-)

For the next few days, I spent my days travelling with Shawn exploring the bits of Bangkok that I was ever so familiar with, showed him around Chatukchak and he offered to bring me to the aquarium knowing I couldn’t afford such a price on my tight budget long term travelling.

nicole the flying manta
Nicole the flying manta


me and sharks
Come and get me shark!


jelly fish
As you can see I’m quite proud of this shot.


Shawn loves food, so do I. So we made good travelling buddies, but terrible finance consultants, we will splurge on every single good looking food we come across, including this exotic localised desert in Swensens.

mango sitcky rice ice cream
Mango ice cream with pandan sticky rice and cream, oh my heaven~


thin pocky
Thin Pocky!!! God’s gift to mankind!


Zen emailed me announcing that he’s a reader of Bangkok on my first official day in Bangkok, I asked him out for a drink. On the second night, we met in my first love location Soi 38 for dinner, with Shawn of course.

dinner at soi 30
Shawn, I think we over ordered


mango sticky rice and coconut milk
I love you Sticky Rice with Mango and Coconut Milk!!


pad thai
I love you pad thai too! Will update my food blog soon.


That night, he brought me out to Skybar on the 64th floor of the State Tower, the only place I ever regretted not visiting during my last trip here (ran out of time ma).

me and zen
Zen looking so cool on his PDA


We chatted the night through over the scenic night view of Bangkok that took my breath away.

sky bar night scene


We talked about everything, relationship, my travels, his work, life, studies, goals, future, past. Pisces, can you blame them for being so romantic and long-winded? (Btw, Shawn is a Pisces too. Yay, Pisces reunite!)

We also went over to Booze, a famous club that most Thai young adults like to visit. You will find very few “farangs” here. And drank Bacardi Breezer which I so missed since my hey days in England.

booze bar


Fourth day in Bangkok, as I checked out of the hotel with my night bus ticket to Chiang Mai in my pouch, I surfed the internet chatting with random msn-buddies at the lobby with the left over wifi-time I bought the night before. And Simon messaged me.

simon in temple


Simon is a British who has been working in Malaysia for two years and is now training for a course in Bangkok, he is moving in between apartments and hence will be homeless for a few days. With the Songkran Festival going on, he has a few holidays to spare. The next thing I know, he was sitting in front of me at the hotel lobby waiting to head to Chiang Mai together that night.

It was madness, both of us got so wet in Chiang Mai during the Songkran. The difference between Chiang Mai and Bangkok on Songkran, is that Chiang Mai is much wetter and the volume of water used is more, erm, immense.

icemen
Icemen!!!


By immense I meant it’s a war between the river warm water (which comes endless) and the trucks’ ice water.

river water chiang mai
Unlimited supply of water!!


Water guns became rather useless then, because everyone uses buckets. Small squirts and room temperature water just don’t quite cut it anymore. Seeing that I COULD NOT get any wetter than I already was, it all down to how cold the water was to spice things up.

chiang mai water fest
The water has finally entered my camera and fogged up the inner lense


It lasted the whole day, party, music, lady boys and lots and lots of ice water down your back from behind, over your head from trucks, in front of you when you walk pass. My highest record was to get hit by 12 buckets in one go (which instantly soaked me). Sigh, Thai people seemed to like to wet me~

This is the end result.

sun drying wet dollars
Drying my dollars under the evening sun.


Just two days ago, we cycled 8km out of town to a hill temple and took a LONG sweet relaxing ride down the hill on our way back.

cycling


Last night I cycled 3-4km out of town to a night bazaar with a Jaclyn, a British lady travelling with her friend (Ruth) who got ill, and had an enjoyable night scouring the stalls and haggling over cheap goods.

Simon left for Bangkok last night, and I’m back to being alone once again. Waiting to catch a bus up to Chiang Rai at noon, I anticipate the next person I will meet on my journey.


chiang mai songkran me and simon


ps// Songkran in Chiang Mai rocks!

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20 kissed Nicole

  1. Hi Nicole,

    Just came across this article
    and thought of you :D

    May it help in your wanderings...
    Whilst still in Thailand, try some funny food: parrot fish and horseshoe crab thai-style salad :D

    Pity you passed by Haad Yai so fast. A bit further up is an awesome beach resort called Haad Q.

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  2. Hi Nicole,
    It had been enjoyable reading your blog. I had always wanted to travel like this, alone , meet new pple , do new things.
    I hope u travel far and wide, let me live my dreams thru you .
    =>

    -C-

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  3. Heh, Crazy girl conquering the world... (^_^) U u u go and have some fun...

    All the best, good luck...

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  4. Hi Nicole

    I will be at Cambodia, Siam Rep from 1stMay till 5th May, like to share Tutu to visit all those temples?

    Cheers

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  5. That's friends for, isn't it? It's nice to make friends wherever we go!

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  6. wow! They really did like a "wet you". You made a LOT of cash there getting soaked!!

    That should help defray travel expenses...

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  7. did u screw any of them?

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  8. windwalker18/4/08 9:00 PM

    It's cool to meet a lot of friends while travelling!

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  9. Hi Nicole,

    Really hope to travel with u one day :)

    Have fun!!

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  10. Hi Nicole, I really enjoy reading ur blog. I always tot travelling alone is rather scary but u make it sounds fun n safe ^__^

    Take care n have fun !

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  11. I just admire you Nicole.. How I wish I can travel like you- alone and at the same time meeting new people (espcially your blog readers..) Wonder will I have the chance to eat with you someday? Haha.. ;D

    Wish you all the best and enjoy the trip.. Be safe... ;)

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  12. ur dragonball t-shirt is damn nice...heheheh

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  13. Hey Nicole, i am going to Bangkok soon and i was wondering can you recommend me some must-try food there? (with proper names so i can know how to order when i'm there)

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  14. Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the Flores Online, I hope you enjoy. The address is http://flores-on-line.blogspot.com. A hug.

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  15. kay from muar19/4/08 3:37 PM

    hi nicole, im the walkingfatass from muar,if u still remembered, haven't drop by from long time and just realize that knowing that you're on your very very very important journey of your life, sinecerely wish you all the best and safe journey ^^

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  16. Oh, I miss Pad Thai soooo much! Yummy..Did you try the chicken wings? anyway, where's your next destination?

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  17. lin-lynn: yea i read, quite true actually :)

    C: eh don't say like that. u can do it too! maybe not as intense~ but still~!

    jacky: thanks jacky :D

    james: i will return on the 30th from cambodia by then :)

    jam: yea.. it's great

    abraxis: those are my cash

    anon: i intro to you if you're interested, but i don't think they're into pervs.

    windwalker: yea many travellers do :)

    inner voice: why not :)

    francesca: it's not really. not at all. just don't go out alone at night.

    curryegg: i'll be more than delighted :D

    gun damn: haha.. yea i like it too!

    simmy: pad thai, sticky rice with mango and coconut milk, must try these two. :D

    flores online: o.. thank you :D

    kay from muar: hey i remember you! where have u been??

    eve: o yea. tell me about it. yum~!

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  18. nicole........this is my first time drop u a comment here.i had been ur blog reader for half year.u r a very brave and strong girl.i wonder how u do that.u noe,i used to brave and sporting last time.but now.........i found out i had lose my soul.

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  19. Hello Nicole,

    Glad to know someone out there especially fellow Malaysian female is also into solo travelling. I'm gonna make my debut solo travelling to Vietnam in July. Amazing that your readers actually met up with you along the way. That's so cool. Though I admit that traveling solo will cost higher than having a partner but it's more of self discovery and confidence building. Any advice on valuable safe keeping when you're out and about? Do you make a pocket in your clothes or something? Do store your luggage in a backpack or a hard shell luggage bag c/w lock? Thanks. I'm currently brushing up on some basic Vietnamese. Hehe

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  20. Hi Nicole,
    I am into photography and found some of the photos you posted here are quite nice and interesting. take my hats off to you for able to travel on your own. hope to see more interesting photos. till then take care and have fun.

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