It is one of those trips when photography takes a back seat. I visited Chiang Mai to pursue my other interest – Yoga. I had been practicing yoga for more than two years and I was keen in joining a yoga retreat which I haven’t done yet. My bucket list is to maybe hop on one of those Jet Airways flight to world’s yoga capital, India. But my time allowed me only a week out so I stayed in Thailand. I was heading to Suan Sati, a yoga retreat place I found 40-minutes away from Chiang Mai. Here, I spent 4 days and 3 nights of twice daily yoga, daily meditation, healthy meals, permaculture environment and good vibe community.
Let’s just get one thing out of the way – beds are boring. They just are.
We spent on average 8 hours a day in our beds – that’s a full third of our entire life – just lying around on the same boring sheets, drooling on the same dull pillow, hugging the same tedious teddy bear.
Now as much as it pains me to say – we all have to sleep. It is an unavoidable weakness we all share as puny humans. But when and where we sleep doesn’t have to be so dull does it? Imagine waking up to a different view for a change.
It takes an average of 12–14 hours travel by train to Chiang Mai from Bangkok. Buses are a lot faster. Sometimes, Air travel cost is not far from the train fare. But there’s something about train rides I enjoy. For me it’s an easy and intimate way to travel through the landscape. Unlike the far and disconnected view from the airplane window or the sedentary feel in the bus, I can freely move around and enjoy looking at the passing view. It’s my first time to travel through Thailand provinces. And as I always do in different countries, slow travel by railway is always in my list to try.
No rain. I guess the afternoon squall has finally decided to halt. I just got out of Wat Pho and noticed I still have enough time to explore another temple that afternoon. The Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun is just across Chao Phraya river. Just a short walk from Wat Pho is the ferry terminal to cross the river. Only 3.50 baht and I’m across the river in less than 10 minutes.
A year since I last travelled abroad, I was excited to visit Thailand. The Southeast Asia nation I haven’t really explored. This was also my birthday trip and I wanted to try travel differently this time. Skimmed down my gear by not bringing my tripod this time. I did still bring my main camera but I was shooting more with my Asus ZenFone 4 Max 5.5 in Thailand. I have always wanted to try to minimalize and focus more on the travel experience than the gear I have.
We need more museums than malls. I sure am glad we have another National Museum opening its doors real soon. On October 29, 2017, National Museum of the Philippines celebrated its 116th year anniversary. As a treat, they opened the National Museum of Natural History for a day. It was a great way to preview what the museum would offer once it officially opens sometime early 2018. With this development, Manila adds another knowledge enriching landmark to compliment the Fine Arts, Anthropology and Filipino People Museum in Manila.
I realized I was already encircling around the perimeter walls of Bangkok’s Grand Palace. I was walking under heavy rain and squeezing my way through the crowd of black-garbed Thai mourners of the recently passed King at the roadsides. Thai people adore King Bhumibol Adulyadej and it shows. As I got into the Grand Palace, I saw bus loads of tourist waiting to get in. I only have less than two hours left and paying 500 THB along with this crowd didn’t appeal to me. So I left. Then there’s Wat Pho I remember passing by earlier. I retraced my route to the back of the palace. Drenched and tired, I just wanted a nice place to sit. I was thrilled that there were less people here at Wat Pho. I paid my 50 THB entrance fee which comes with a free bottle of mineral water and went on to explore the temple grounds.