Made it to Bangkok […and it only took 16 hours]!
If you follow me on social media, then you know my train left 6.5 hours behind schedule. You also know that I was quite pleased by this delay because it provided me with a few extra stolen hours to close of this 7 month chapter of Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand living.
Rather than wait a few infernal hours at the train station feeling stranded in a city that I’ve started to refer lightly to as “home,” I decided to better use my time by going to SheDance at The Yoga Tree.
(This is the studio where I recently helped to organize Shakti Festival: we dance, meditate, eat raw chocolate make art and practice yoga. SheDance is a special combination of sharing circle, ritual and dance that elicits and celebrates women’s inner goddesses. Check out yoga tree if you’re in chiang Mai!
In order to get to Yoga Tree I rented a motorbike from Aya Service at the train station. I DO NOT recommend this company. Their location across the street from the train station makes them convenient and they are well-known for their shuttles to mountainous, hippy hangout Pai. However their bikes are very poorly maintained, their helmets worse than a typical joke of a Thai helmet and as a result their product is dangerous. Do NOT risk your life with this company.
I nearly crashed headlong into a taxi as a result of ineffective, nearly non-existence brakes and tires with very little traction. By some miracle I did not crash but it was very close and entirely preventable had I been riding on a safe, well-maintained bike.
Driving motorbikes in SE Asia is a typical part of life and a thrill many tourists seek out. Motorbikes cause a very high number of deaths and serious injuries for farangs in Thailand. Hire your motorbike from a reputable company, examine the bike and test the breaks, insist that the company provide a well-fitting helmet. In my hurry I failed to examine the bike and it was a mistake that nearly put me in the hospital; I will not make these mistakes again.
After this harrowing near-miss and recent train crashes due to heavy rains, I feel very lucky and exceptionally grateful to have arrived to Bangkok intact in one whole, unscathed piece.
If you are planning to hire a motorbike in Chiang Mai I can heartily recommend and vouch for Mango Bikes run by the charming and very professional Mark O’Brien. He has a large selection, fair prices and maintains all of his bikes on a regular schedule. It doesn’t hurt that he’s not bad on the eyes with an Irish accent either…
Mark’s shop is near the Kad Suan Kaew Shopping Mall just outside the NW corner of the old city. Call the shop at 090-913-1699