I LOVED Chiang Mai. And that is the greatest understatement of the year. Never have I been somewhere that caters so well to every single person, regardless of differing personal tastes. If you want to go hiking, you can go hiking. If you want to go bungee jumping, you can do that. Shopping? Cooking? Relax near the river? Go for it. Chiang Mai truly has it all!
A couple of days in, we decided to go check out the ‘Grand Canyon’ of Chiang Mai. After breakfast, the six of us piled into a red taxi for a 1000 baht round-trip (a fare negotiated by auntie, it would have cost us 2000 baht otherwise.) Reason #6184645 why I love Plearn Hostel. Within twenty five minutes, we arrived at our destination, and boy was it beautiful.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Grand Canyon!
We thought that it would be crazy crowded, but were pleasantly surprised when we rolled in around 11a to find just a handful of people at the quarry. Shout out to low season! So..we didn’t come to the Grand Canyon to laze around in the water (we did do that too though.) Most tourists head over to jump off the cliffs as seen on the right side of the above picture.
My first time cliff jumping, and it was both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Although a 50 foot jump sounds menial, trust me, it doesn’t look so easy once you’re up there with your toes dangling off the edge. The quarry itself was about 100 feet deep, the thought alone was pretty scary. Finally mustered up the courage and..
Bombs away! Awesome. As it was a quarry filled with rainwater, the lack of salinity made swimming a lot harder. You don’t float nearly as easily as you do in the ocean, so it took quite the effort to continuously tread water. Thankfully, there were bamboo rafts strategically laid out to rest our weary limbs. We alternated between jumping, floating around on the rafts, getting sunburnt beyond recognition, climbing back up the cliff, overcoming the fear all over again, and repeating. Such an amazing experience.
We headed back to hostel and I passed our from sheer exhaustion. Woke up later that evening and headed out for a yoga class that was being offered nearby.
This particular yoga class dubbed ‘Freedom Yoga’ was nothing like I’ve ever experienced. The instructor informed us that we’d be trying a different style than the vinyasa yoga what most of us were used to. While vinyasa is more active and fast paced, ‘yin-style yoga’ is slower, and more meditative. It sounds like it would be easier, but the particular style focused more on keeping our minds in meditative positions as opposed to physical positions.
The poses were each held for five minutes, during which the instructor talked about different Buddhist teachings, finding peace within our bodies, and attaining mental stillness. Every now and then, he would ask us to ‘release our tongues from the roofs of our mouths,’ something that all of us found ourselves accidentally doing while trying to concentrate. At the end of the ninety minute session, I was amazed at how difficult yin-yoga was, how light and relaxed I felt, and how ready to pass out I was. Definitely have to explore more yoga in the future.
Green curry fried rice for dinner. Cannot get enough of Thai food. The adrenaline rush from the morning, paired with the soothing yoga and full belly, made for quite the deep sleep..I knocked out as soon as my head hit the pillow.