As I mentioned in the previous post, Thailand only gave me a 15-day visa upon arrival since I entered by land. Had I entered by air I would have gotten a 30-day visa.
So, as I recovered from the long journey on my first day in Chiang Mai, I had to figure out what to do.
In Thailand I wanted to visit a Buddhist temple my Czech friend recommended to me last year. I also wanted to see two different groups of friends who would be in Bangkok in mid-September by chance.
But sometimes fate has a different plan..
In order to stay in Thailand I would have to make a “visa run” to Myanmar on 31-August. Doing so from Chiang Mai would cost about 1100 Baht ($35), but I planned to be at a Buddhist temple here. Yes, it’s not too far from the Myanmar border, but look at how you’d get there if you had your own car.
Not very convenient.. And that’s if you are driving. I’m not sure that there are buses that make such a trip, or I’d have to connect somewhere..
The point is that it wouldn’t be convenient at all. And I planned to go to Myanmar later on anyway. Why not just go now by land? The government doesn’t let you. You can visit the border town, but it is illegal for foreigners to continue on into the country. To be a tourist you must enter via Yangon or Mandalay airports.
Another option would be to fly somewhere and return. I had originally seen relatively cheap flights to Medan, Indonesia. I have never been to Indonesia so that would have been an interesting option.
But the plane tickets on Air Asia, a low-cost airline based in Bangkok, were very expensive. So I started expanding my options.
And it’s kind of funny how that works – when you hit a wall, as I did, when I couldn’t get to Indonesia. When forced, creativity and outside-the-box thinking has a funny way of happening organically.
So I used some of my travel-savvy tools and tried checking a few more things. I quickly found a relatively inexpensive flight over to The Philippines.
I wanted to go there anyway, but felt like I kind of missed my chance. Well, now was my chance! I have met so many wonderful people from the Philippines over the years, whether in the U.S., The Middle East, or in Europe.
Internal transport can be done by low-cost flights or ferries. I’ll focus on spending most of my time in the south among Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao. That’s what I think now, but already my Filipino friend in Norway DEMANDED I take a short ferry from Cebu to a nearby island and stay with her parents and aunts and uncles for a few days. Who am I to refuse?
I have a feeling that’s a preview of the awesomeness to come
Going forward, I think I’ll head from Cebu to Myanmar by plane, then I had planned to go to Bangladesh, last stop before Incredible India.
But again, as my mind was already open to outside-the-box thinking, I asked myself why Bangladesh? I didn’t have a good explanation other than the fact that it was next to India and the home of microfinance. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that many of the things I want to experience in Bangladesh can be experienced in India.
So why not go to Nepal? Some advantages include
- Breathtaking mountain scenery
- Tours to Tibet (I’m not a tour kind of guy, but the Chinese government has made it so tours are the only way to visit Tibet)
- It’s close to Delhi, where I’ll start my Indian adventure
So.. I think that’s what I’ll do.
Below a map to summarize how I think the next few months will go.. but subject to change, of course