Chiang Mai recommended

I fell behind on my recommendations.
Sorry there. They seem to take much longer than you, or I at least, would expect to put together. I also find they will be works in progress, as sometimes, suddenly, I remember this great little place I was in that one time. Or at the time of writing I just can’t remember it all. So keep checking back.
And sorry I’m going to leave you hanging at that very good day in Laung Prabang for the time being. It’s for a good cause.
Time to catch up where I left it:

Chiang Mai

– Transportation:
You’ll see them riding around everywhere: the red taxis, the rebuild pickup trucks with the cozy benches in their roofed-in backs. They should take you anywhere in the city for just 20 baht (about half a buck)

– Do:
Trekking. You’ll find adds for it on any hostel- or café wall. Or ask around with the locals. There’s great opportunity and beautiful nature surrounding Chiang Mai that will give you an experience you won’t forget easily. Rafting is definitely something to add to your trip!

Go to Buak Hat Park in the afternoon and find yourself a bench around the fountain just before 6pm to enjoy the daily fitness flashmob.

Don’t visit Tigerkingdom. It’s a popular touristic attraction, but made me sick to the stomach.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the only way to keep these majestic animals behave in this easygoing manner around their pray, is drugging them, heavily. They lay around half asleep, having their ‘guards’ hitting them on the head to get them to move at all.
Please do them a favor and BAN THIS SHITHOLE!

Do, however, take a good long stroll over the nightmarket (Wichayanon Rd) outside of the center quarter. Maybe spread it over more evenings even, as it is BIG. Which brings me to the next item:

– Eat:
At that nightmarket is an excelent foodcourt! They work with a coupon system and are crazy cheap but even more crazy good.
My favorites were fresh springrolls and fried vegetables who make up a fine plate together.

– Drink:
I really enjoyed Freedom bar (Rachapakinai Rd) and the whole vibe that hangs around their shack.

Another place you have to at least take a look at, is the place known as backpacker center. Ask any red-taxi driver and they’ll know where to take you.
It’s a crazy-crazy party-packer place, but on a weekday you might find some live music. And when you’ve been backpacking SEA for a little longer, you won’t even mind the choice of music and rowdy crowds.

– Sleep:
I had a great stay with Peaceful (Rachapakinai Rd), a friendly, rather quiet hostel within walking distance of anything you might need.

[Paint yourself a picture and check out the photos I took when I was there in March 2012]

Do you have anything to add to this list? Please let me know!

Bangkok recommended

I only spend two and a half days in total, half of that on a pre-booked trip, so I’m sorry to have little to recommend. One day I will be back to explore much further, I’m sure!

– Do:
Go in to the little alleys, explore what’s behind the touristic facades, follow your nose.
A few beautiful words of a close friend, wandering just like that:

Lost in Bangkok. Dark alleyways, hardly wide enough for my shoulders. A boxing ring under a bridge, stained dark brown. Bloodshot eyes that glare at me from the darkness. Take a left, take a right, I’m totally disoriented. And then I see him, dead eyes staring at the ceiling. Emaciated cheeks, mouth wide open, wearing a dirty shirt and a diaper. The spastic movements of his left leg the only sign of life. The tragedy of this man and the confinement of these alleyways make me claustrophobic. As panic sets in, the fresh breeze and the sight of the open waters of the river come as salvation. I have regained my bearings. – Jasper Coucke

I heard north-east of Koh San road you can find an area much less touristic, much more friendly, artistic and inspiring. Alas I haven’t had the opportunity to find it yet.

I was taken on a boat tour that showed me how green and swampy such a big city can be. I liked seeing such a different side to it.

Friends I met in Cambodia had taken the Greenleaf tour through Khao Yai National Park. Moved right to the top of my wishlist!

– Eat:
For the best padthai ever, go to the pier across from Wat Arun and find it just outside of the wooden mall.

– Drink:
Believe it or not, but I haven’t drunk a single glass in BKK.

– Sleep:
(don’t) I spend my first night in the Bangkok Center Hotel, a fancy place that probably charges way too much.

(don’t) A friend had recommended New Siam II. Looking at their site now, they don’t look cheap or backpacky, nor did they when I walked by that one time… Fine for those traveling in pairs though.

What would you recommend in Bangkok?