-Chiang Mai, Thailand-
After leaving Bangkok I went north to Ayuthaya, which used to be a capital city hundreds of years ago. Scattered throughout the town are crumbling, red brick ruins. I rented a bicycle for a dollar and biked around for the afternoon. I was less than an inch away from being completely run over by a car making a turn directly into me. That was slightly unnerving. The day after I went north again, by train to Phitsanulok and Sukhothai. I used Phitsanulok as a jumping off to Sukhothai, which was also an ancient capital city with lots of buddhas and wats and ruins. I rented a bicycle for the day there too, but did not have any close-encounters with any cars or trucks or tuk-tuks. I have posted pictures of these beautiful spots and lots of buddha statues. These locations are very nice, but I have to say I am a little worn out from seeing so many buddhist temples and buddha statues and old ruins of buddhist cities. There are new and old temples everywhere, in the cites, towns, and the countryside, and they all look the same. It is quite monotonous.
Then I went farther north to Chiang Mai, a total tourist spot. The train broke down along the way so it took way too long to get here. Here in Chiang Mai there may be more tourists here than Thai people. There is even a Starbucks. I won't be going to it, but I will admit I did make a visit to a Starbucks a few days ago in Bangkok to get some real coffee. Anyway, Chiang Mai is a hub of activity filled with all sorts of people. The visitors I see here are, as a whole, slightly different than the people you see in India. In Thailand there are the backpackers and the rich people doing the organized tours, just like in India, but here there is also the socially awkward group of perverted men (of all ages),the partiers, and the average vacationer. There are also many less hippies here. I find this all very interesting.
So tomorrow I head north again to Chiang Rai before heading into Laos. I think I will be able to get a visa to Laos at the border without too much hassle, but I am not 100% about it.
I have posted new pics and updated my map of visited spots.