What?!?! Where am I ?!?!? Thailand???
How did I land in Thailand; it wasn’t even on my secondary list, actually it wasn’t on any of my travel plans?
Well, it’s funny how things go….
As I needed to have proof of an onward flight from Myanmar, and I wasn’t ready to ascertain my next destination, I did a search on Skyscanner to determine where I could fly from, from Mandalay, Myanmar. [I hadn’t yet discovered Best Onward Ticket].
Chiang Mai, Thailand appeared in my search, it seemed to be an easy enough flight, and after doing a quick online search, it seemed to be a good stop. Chiang Mai is in Northern Thailand, close to the Myanmar and Laos borders and very close to China. I’ve included a couple sites below that will give you a historical overview of Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai and Thailand, became the longest and most repeated stops on my trip so far! Chiang Mai particularly felt like a magnet and it something keeps me going back for more, as you’ll see over the next couple of updates.
One of my initial impressions of Chiang Mai is that it struck a balance of West meets East. For example, you have many local street/food vendors, you have local practices like taking off your shoes when you walk into a home or business, bowing your head in respect when greeting, on the other hand, you find ‘western’ options and conveniences like 7-11 & Tesco Express stores, western-like health stores such as Rimping, and oh, large cars and SUVs amongst the swarms of motorcycles.
I booked accommodation in the ‘Old City’ which is really a city within a city, surrounded by a 600 year old moat.
It’s only approximately 1.5 km square [approx. .6 miles square] but as soon as I landed I just loved the feel of the place.
I loved being able to walk everywhere [Old City] and loved being able to get comfortable. It was comfortable.
One of my first tasks after settling into my guest house was to learn how to say hello and thank you. By the way my guest house was also like home. It was run by a couple, Tata & Fine, with a young family. Out of respect, you would take your shoes off before entering, not your room, but the main entrance. They were also fantastic in ensuring you had what you need and knew where to go.
In learning how to say hello, I found a couple of humorous YouTube videos which I think are worth sharing. Of course I carried my cheat sheet with me for a few days until I ‘got it’.
I just love the sound of some languages, but never considered Thai. I was surprised to find the Thai language is like a bird singing, flowing up and down; very pleasing, very appealing.
Now that I’m here, what should I do? There are over 200 temples in and around Chiang Mai and if I remember Fine correctly, about 50 within the Old City alone!
Can you imagine in the United States going from church to church or in Europe from Cathedral to Cathedral?
At first you might find it amazing, but after viewing so many, you’d probably get the feeling ‘enough already’. Well, by the time I arrived in Chiang Mai, I was ‘pagoda’d’ and ‘temple’d’ and ‘wat’d’ out.
Although I did make my way to one or two wats, I signed myself up to do some hiking. My cold was still hovering underneath my skin but I thought I could beat it.
Wrong! I got only so far on the hike until the terrain became steep and constantly ascending in the heat of the day [approx. 34C/93F], and I said, I’m going back! Those that know me well, will tell you how I just love to hike steeps ascends in the 90 degree heat on a good day, NOT!
I saw some stunning scenery and visited elephants in an orphanage along the way. I am generally against the business of promoting the use of elephants given their treatment in many places, Thailand or elsewhere, but had been convinced of this sanctuary’s treatment was humane.
The sanctuary seemed to represent ‘educating’ people about the elephants, allowed you to assist in feeding and bathing, but absolutely no riding. I also did not see the use of any bullhooks.
Of course, I did a few other touristy things, went to jazz clubs, went to the night markets; I just love the food markets and outdoor vending concept and generally just hung out.
On a side note, I recently heard and read of possible initiatives underway to try and reduce, eliminate and or increase regulation of these food vendors. I image it will take away part of the essence and fun being in these parts of the world, not to mention impact livelihoods. Here’s a recent article from the New York times: Sidewalk Food Vendors.
Funny thing is, in some countries where these hadn’t been practically eliminated in the West, there is a revival of the same concepts but in ‘food truck’ formats at precious prices.
There were many other places surrounding Chiang Mai to visit, but I decided to focus on catching up on my blog, just hanging out, and searching for activities that I was interested such as ‘energy healing’, yoga, and enjoying the comfort of being still in one place for a while.
This lead me to a place on the outskirts of Chiang Mai, Asian Healing Arts Center. They offered a number of healing modalities but the one that interested me most was ABET, Asian Bio-Energetic Therapy.
We hear and probably innately know that our bodies are capable of self-healing. Science also tells us that everything is energy, including our bodies. So, I am always curious to learn more in order to better understand energy and self-healing. In today’s world, we have so much toxin in our environment and food, amongst other things, our bodies become so overwhelmed, cannot help themselves. So what can we do to help our bodies keep us stay healthy?
The basis of ABET is founded on a number of eastern medical, holistic healing techniques and philosophies, [e.g. Traditional Chinese Medicine; getting to the root cause of an illness, not the symptom; energy blocks result in ailments; etc.].
I’d never heard of ABET prior to this, nor some of the terms and tools used in ABET. I have subsequently come across some research and information, mostly, not surprisingly, based in Asia, where these terms and tools are commonly referenced and known. It’s funny how synchronicity works, as some of these tools are appearing to me now in articles, books, etc. For example, I recently read a booked called ‘Reiki, The Legacy of Dr. Usui’ and the use of ‘moxibustion’ is referred to. Something I learned about during my ABET treatment.
The Asian Healing Arts Center website defines ABET as:
This scientific treatment, developed by Dr Than Van Le during a period of some 30 years, is a combination of several oriental holistic healing techniques that are all non-invasive and require no machines for diagnoses and no drugs for treatment. Bio-Energetics will restore the patient’s natural energy fields and healing powers, promote relaxation and healing and have a positive effect on the emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.
It’s a very similar definition I’ve subsequently seen on other sites.
Needless to say, I was curious, so signed myself up for three sessions over a period of about five or six days.
Now, you might be asking what all this has to do with me being ‘stuck’ in Thailand. It will become clear over the next couple of updates.
Are you also curious about ABET? Stay tuned and I will share my experience in the next update.
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