That day in Chiang Dao as a solo female traveler
Looking for some inspiration to do that trip you've dreaming about? Get away from the city and reconnect with nature and your spiritual side.
We hope this wonderful story that Mariana Gonzalez shares with us help you to make the desition, get those plane tickets, book your Greeter and have one of the best experiences on a beautiful place like Chiang Dao, in Thailand.
Make sure to read it to the end. We’re sure you'll love it!
I went to Thailand looking for exhilarating adventures.
I found them, yes, but I also found something a little bit more than just that.
My hotel host gave me a map of the small town of Chiang Dao. Looking at it I decided to go to Wat Tham Pha Plong Temple.
Thinking I could reach it at a bike ride distance I rented an old bicycle that looked pretty rusty but I thought it would do the trick. I started my journey on a narrow street that went up the mountain.
I could not gain much speed. Most of the time I had to stand up on the pedals to be able to keep on pedaling as the bike became very hard under my feet.
Sweat drooled out of my me. My back was completely wet. The fabric of my clothes clenched to my body and my legs became very tired.
After some time I arrived at my destination. Thankful to leave the bike behind, I locked it on a bench and went inside the courtyard of the temple.
On the contrary to all the other Temples I had visited in northern Thailand, this one had a 500 naga stairway going deep into the jungle. I had to either climb it to continue toward the Temple or go back.
My legs ached and the stairs didn’t look very friendly but in the end, I decided to climb the stairs.
Just as the muscles of my legs began to give in I saw a sign that was written in Thai and then translated into English: “Do not grumble when you suffer. Just Persevere”
I’m pretty sure it meant another kind of “suffering” but at that moment I felt like someone was telling me to persevere on my walk. And so I did.
I am so glad I did.
As I walked up, I kept finding these signs every couple of steps. I figured they were Buddhist teachings and phrases to muse on. What better place than out there, in the wild, in the mountains, in contact with nature, with natural sounds, with the heat, with my tired body. With myself.
Some signs made me cry.
Others made me see my mistakes or gave me hope.
And some others made me understand why I was truly there. It wasn’t just a coincidence.
Suddenly, without warning, in the distance, from between the trees, I saw the Temple with its Golden Stupa. Behind it, the mountain still raised many meters up. The top was outlined with a grey cloudy sky. There was something hypnotizing about the whole place. No matter how tired I felt I could not stop going up.
When at the Temple, the cave dedicated to prayer was indeed beautiful but the impressive sight for me was out in the open next to the cave. Two giant Nagas opened fiercely their mouths at me leading up the final stairs to the Golden Stupa. From their magnificent heads to the end of their bodies tiny mirrors of green, red, and blue shown with the sunlight.
Reaching the top, standing in the corridor with its concrete white banisters that surrounded the Stupa the view blew me away. The endless majesty of the green jungle erupted power, energy, and beauty.
A soft wind blew every now and then moving the branches of the trees making me feel like I was being cleaned, while in the cave below a group of monks and some children were chanting prayers in unison, melting pure sounds into my whole body.
I let go of everything unwanted in my life and I welcomed a new beginning with a clean and pure heart.
Immense tranquility hugged me. Insects flew around me and I let them dance merrily. It was like someone had opened a door that allowed me to blend in with nature.
When I realized I had been sitting there for almost 2 hours. I didn’t want to move.
The most unexpected personal adventure came to me without any sort of planning and more than just having a thrilling time I found freedom. Something I didn’t know I was desperately looking for.
What I missed by not having hired a Greeter for this trip?
I spent a month and a half traveling across Thailand on my own. I love planning my trips. The process of making the arrangements excites me as much as the trip itself, yet there is a huge disadvantage when you do not know anyone local. I believe the wondering part during a trip is where you can find unforgettable moments but also is exactly where you can end up in places you are not supposed to be. Specially as a solo female traveler. I believe that even if you want to go solo on a big adventure GREETHER is the best chance to get all the tips not end up in dodgy areas at night, not miss the “in” places of the moment, and is always good to have that friendly face in which you know you can trust.
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