18 May OG SEA takes on Chiang Mai
After enjoying our time in Bangkok and wrapping things up with Thai massages, the OG Southeast Asia crew headed on our first overnight bus, up to the Northern city of Chiang Mai.
Most travelers would likely have a nap on arrival at 6:30 am, but we chose a much funner option of noodle soup, fried rice and a full day in the city! By 9 am we were off to the museum to learn about Chiang Mai’s history. Then we played a rowdy game or two of samuri before heading to our guest house to check in.
After a little bit of free time, we headed back out into the peaceful city and enjoyed a walking tour lead by our own OG leader, Mike. We ended up in a gorgeous local park, where recently converted team members were stoked to play more games of samuri, feed the swarming catfish and take in the lush scenery.
In the evening we headed over to the night market where OG leader Alex taught participants the fine art of Thai bargaining. Key strategies include silently typing low-ball numbers on their calculator, asking for “best price”, pretending the next vendor offered you half their price, making a weird “haaannn” sound (ask your favourite OG to demonstrate) and slowly walking away.
Today was all about Buddhism. We started off by going to Thailand second largest temple, Doi Suithep. It is a beautiful, golden temple high atop a mountain which overlooks the city and surrounding jungle. We were then off to the much more modest (but equally beautiful) temple of Wat Umong, tucked away in the forrest.
Later in the day we were off to a specially arranged monk chat. We were hosted by 5 young monks who talked to small groups of us about the Thai Buddhist tradition and answered all 0f our questions. This was extremely meaningful for us, since monks are not typically allowed to interact with women (there are 10 in our group). To have the chance to ask them anything we could think of was pretty special (one OG even asked their opinion of Thai “lady-boys”!)
Tomorrow morning we are off to the near by city of Chiang Rai where we will begin our Hill Tribe Trek with the Mirror Foundation. This will be our first volunteer project as a team. One of the Hill Tribe villages recently experienced a fire and several homes were lost. We will be helping to re-build these homes and staying with local families. The Hill Tribe Trek is always a special experience for the OG Southeast Asia Discovery trip, and we are very excited to get started!
Since we will be in the jungle, we will not have access to internet for a week after tomorrow, so families and friends, do not fret if your favourite OG takes a little while to get back to your email.
Much love from your OG SEA crew!!!
Check out our video!