Visions of Johanna

I’m a solo explorer, who’s been lucky enough to see a fair bit of our planet. The freedom to roam isn’t something I take for granted; it’s the biggest privilege a human can have. You won’t find many useful travel guides here, but I hope you find travel tales that inspire you to visit new places, live like a nomad, embrace new cultures and travel solo. I’m happiest in nature, on the ocean, and exploring different ways of life. Being curious sometimes means I’ve pushed life to its limits, taken the biggest risks, and fallen from the greatest heights. It also means I’ve met some of the world’s best humans (fact!) and my life is full of stories and experiences, and that is the humble of offerings of this travel blog…

Cooking

The disjointed start to my stay in Chiang Mai only added to my relief and excitement when I finally arrived. The Chiang Mai Gate Hotel was like an oasis of calm and tranquility. The rooms are spacious, the beds comfy and there’s a pool and free wifi (seems to be a given wherever you are in Thailand).

Next stop was Tiger Kingdom. I was hesitant about heading here as I’d heard many stories about drugged up tigers, even so I wanted to check it out. The place was packed with tigers in various enclosures. I opted to spend some time with the smallest tigers, who were only a few weeks old. Sadly, I have my suspicions that these tigers weren’t entirely drug free. I asked lots of questions and apparently they are just fed very well every day so they have no need to hunt and kill. This didn’t sit too well with me though, so I lasted minutes in their enclosure before I felt too uncomfortable. Maybe I’m just being hyper sensitive but I’ve come to the conclusion that tigers like all animals probably shouldn’t live their lives couped up for the benefit of a stream of tourists to get great pics. I chose not to take any photos and left feeling a little sad that they live their lives in captivity.

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On August 2nd I was excited. As much as I enjoyed my first few days in Bangkok I was well ready to head up North to Chiang Mai and experience a little slower pace of life. We boarded our sleeper train in the early evening.

Having travelled on India’s railways I couldn’t believe how plush the train was. Our cabins and beds were not only immaculate but comfy too. Nice one! But and there is a massive BUT, it turns out that there have been no less than 7 derailments in the last 4 months on the Bangkok to Chiang Mai route. We set off in blissful ignorance, ordered our 3 course meal and settled in for the evening.

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Blog 1

I’ve landed, phase 1 complete. I successfully left Heathrow, had a quick stopover in Dubai and made my way to the Bangkok Centre Hotel (yes I cheated – I got a taxi). If you plan to stay here don’t be lame like me, jump on the train, the hotel’s right next to the MRT station.

So where to head to… well I obviously asked the masses and a number of friends said the Khoa San Road. I headed there and it was everything I imagined it to be… boozed up brits, fast food, bright lights and cheap clothes. I’ll let you decide if that’s your thing, but it probably is a must see if you come here. I nearly bought a Lonely Planet guide for Vietnam but when I took off the cellophane wrapper it was a badly photocopied version inside a genuine looking cover. The people are so lovely and had no issue with me returning it.

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