Grasshopper Adventures Chiang Mai Night Bike Tour – Into The Old City

While in Chiang Mai we were fortunate enough to go on our second tour by Grasshopper Adventures – Chiang Mai Night Bike Tour.  This was again a night time biking tour which took us though the old city highlighting some incredible temples and history.  Our guide was absolutely fantastic and his knowledge of the city was scholarly.  Here is a video showcasing our experience!!!

After meeting up at the Grasshopper Adventures Chiang Mai headquarters, we mounted our bicycles and headed off into the city.  Again, we were very impressed with the quality of the bikes offered by Grasshopper — so comfortable and with front and back lights!

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Our first stop was at Chiang Mai Pae Gate.  It was built as the main entrance to the walled city, easily accessible to traders coming though on the nearby river.  We learned that the city had several ways in, each for specific types of people, historically.  One exit was reserved only for the dead on their funeral marches.

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There were tons of Chinese tourists taking selfies with pigeons here for some reason?
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The Three Kings Monument

Next we rode to several amazing temples, each with Buddha relics and lots of good energy.  We used a kind of rope and pulley at Wat Lok Molee to send holy water which automatically dropped over the temple.  Apparently doing this together would guide our spirits back to each other in the next life.  “I don’t know, one life with you might be enough…” said Carrie, maybe joking but probably serious.  I am a piece of work sometimes.

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Near the end of the tour we walked through the grounds of Wat Chedi Luang, located right in the middle of Chiang Mai Old City.  The temple is partially collapsed on top and reminded us a lot of places we visited in Cambodia.

Our final stop was at the Chiang Mai Gate Night Food Market  We were treated to some amazing coconut pancakes, mango sticky rice, and some smoothies.  Food always makes me quite happy, and even though we had taken a feast of a cooking class earlier in the day, I was happy to eat again.

Grasshopper Adventures Chiang Mai Night Bike Tour was a great look into the history of the northern Thailand city.  We learned much about the Lanna empire which existed independently before they were absorbed into the Siam empire (Later Thailand) and how the younger generations are trying to bring back their historical culture.

Additional information:

Address: 87, Bumrung Buri Rd, Prasing, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

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Website:  www.grasshopperadventures.com

Also check out our review of Grasshoppper Adventures Bangkok Night Bike Tour

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Cuba Highlights

Here is a long-overdue short video from our travels through Cuba in January 2017. Cuba was one of the countries most devastated by recent hurricanes. They have been largely skipped in the international aid effort and the United States makes it nearly impossible to help them in any way. We are researching ways to help and will report back if we find something legitimate. Please comment if you have any ideas!!!

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Going Home to Black Rock City

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Going Home to Black Rock City is so impossible to write about.   Life on the playa is so radically different, full of childhood wonder and fantastical ideas that become reality.  It reminds us that life is art, that giving is good, and that surprises are around every corner.

We found Java Johnny, our favorite old coffee-slinging nonsense-talking character, right in the same spot he was 3 years ago.   (“Attention campers!  If you’re wondering what time is it, I have the time for you.  Get ready to set your clocks!  The time is….THURSDAY!”)   Naked Lady was there too, and so was an awesome couple from Portland who brought a whole box of Voodoo Donuts that stayed fresh enough for the first 2 days.

“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” -Java Johnny

I met a kid who went to Hofstra University with me and was in the same major a couple years younger than me.  We drank Zach’s homebrewed saison and reminisced about old professors.  “Come to New York,” he told me, “I’ll get you a job.”

On the first day it rained, which never happens.  The playa turned into thick, cement-like mud, which coated our shoes like glue until everyone had a 4-inch platform of mud.  My cheap old boots somehow didn’t attract the mud as much, but Zach and others went around barefoot or wrapped their feet in plastic bags and slid around the neighborhood.  It was fun.

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Our neighbors formed “Camp Let It Go”, a hodgepodge group of Americans, Aussies, and Brits.  They built an amazing multi-level shade structure with hammocks and a fully-stocked bar and DJ setup.  They also built a flower dome, one of those old playground domes covered in twinkly lights and lined with pillows and carpets.  The best part was the top level of their structure, an elastic-rigged hangout lined with sleeping bags and stuffed animals.  We fit a lot of people up there, watching the sunset.  You just had to make sure everything was arranged well enough that no one fell through the straps!  After all, “safety third.”

On Friday there was a dust storm.  It got terrible right when we got to the temple.  The only quiet place on the playa, people kneeled praying, meditating, honoring loved ones, as the dust swirled.  Biking back, you couldn’t see 4 feet in front of you.  I was terrified of getting lost out there, dusty and dried out like a lizard.  We made it back and laughed at how our faces were different colors inside and outside our goggles.

My bike got stolen.  It was right outside our camp on the outskirts, and we were only next door at Camp Let It Go.  Yesterday we got a comment on our blog from the thief.  He must have read the “La Aventura Project” bumper sticker stuck on there.  You can read it under the “Maps” section.  To whoever you are, I’m not that mad about it.  I didn’t want to carry that crappy bike back home anyway.  I just wish you wouldn’t have taken it on Wednesday!  Maybe you’ll keep reading our blog.

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There were more moments, more laughs, more awestuck-staring than I can ever remember properly.  New best friends whose names you’ll never remember.  Swirling stars and subtle realizations that you can’t put into words, but they change who you are.  It’s hard and dirty and difficult and immensely creative.  I hope I’m blessed enough to return.

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Going Home to Black Rock City is something we try to do every year.  Check out our archives for more Burn stories and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject

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Moving to California – Days 3 & 4

After our long day driving through corn fields and spending the night in North Platte, we were SO READY for some mountains!  It took about four hours to drive to Denver from North Platte, and the whole way we were looking out for our first glimpse of the Rockies.  However, we forgot how totally HAZY the skies around Denver are, so you can barely see the mountains even from the city that is surrounded by them!

Mr. Moose arriving in the Mile High City

Despite the lack of visibility, we had a great time in Denver, catching up with some of my old friends from Peace Corps who I hadn’t seen in over two years!  On our first night in town we headed out to Beauty Bar, where we danced to Motown music and got photobombed.

Maureen and me, and some creepers in the background also posing?

Denver seems to be a city that has something for everyone.  It’s a great place to be young and out on the town, but I could also see how it would be easy to raise a family there.  Our favorite thing about Denver is, obviously, the beer.  So on our second day in town we walked around enjoying some happy hour microbrews and the beautiful weather.

Breckenridge Brewery has an amazing happy hour…1/2 price nachos and $1 off all drafts!
I found this “Bike-a-saurus” really amusing.
Build-your-own fro yo also happened.

We also got to catch up with Zach’s cousin Michelle, who lives in the awesome Five Points neighborhood.

Beautiful view from Michelle’s roof

Michelle was headed off to a pirate-themed bike party.  If only we had had the proper attire and bikes with us we would have joined!

We also talked to one of Michelle’s friends who moved to Denver from Atlanta.  I thought her story was really cool. “I was totally an urban shopaholic city girl.  I wanted to move to New York.  I only came out here on a visit with my sister because she paid for my flight.  Then we went to Red Rocks and I just started bawling.  Surrounded by all those mountains I all of a sudden got how tiny I was and how I really don’t matter.  It was amazing.  I decided I had to live here.”

Everyone we know who lives in Denver loves it, and we can see why.  It’s a big city with lots of life but also super accessible to all the outdoor activities the Rockies offer.  We could definitely see ourselves living there someday.  But for now, the ocean is still calling!

 

 

 

 

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