I have been told for years that I needed to go to Chiang Mai, that I would love it. Still, of the many times that I have been to Thailand, I had never made it to this purported hippie utopia. So, this time, I decided I would finally see for myself this paradise.
After the first couple of days in town I was sorely disappointed. I was expecting Shangri-La, waterfalls and mountains on all sides, with silks and slacklines hanging from every tree, and a sunset drum circle every night in the city center. I found none of that. There were some cool night markets, and the people were very friendly, but even after a day of biking around town, I could barely find a good park to hang my line. Chiang Mai just seemed to be an average Thai town, hundreds of miles from the trademark Thai Beaches. Then I met someone in my hostel that told me of a park that held exactly what I was looking for, and it was only a few blocks away.
Just like that, I found the paradise I was looking for. Slacklines, and yoga, and acro, and hippies abounded. Everyone was warm and welcoming, and I immediately felt surrounded by friends. I spread my mat and hung my line, I was home.
The last piece of the puzzle was the mountain top temple, Suthep. I made the drive up there on my last morning, before my flight back to Phuket. It was a gorgeous drive up winding mountain roads, and the view felt as if you were looking out over the clouds from heaven. This trip will always stand as a reminded to never rush to judgement.