After over a week of rest, I’m finally moving again today. I decided to fly to Ranong, in the South of Thailand. It’s significantly more expensive than taking the train, but it saves me some 24 hours of travel time. That means more time to enjoy life in Southern Thailand.
Complimentary upgrade, anyone?
If you’ve been keeping count, you might have noticed that I’ve been staying in Chiang Mai for two nights longer than I had originally booked with the Nordwind Hotel. That resulted in a funny experience. When I asked the manager a couple of days ago if I could extend my stay by two nights at the same bargain price I had been paying (see ‘Finding a place to live in Chiang Mai‘), she readily agreed.
She asked me if I was happy with my room, which I was, and whether I wanted to change to another room with a different view. Well… I had noticed that each floor had one room facing the front of the hotel, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a great view of the city. If I could get one of those rooms…
So I asked the lovely lady if this was an option. “Ahhhh. Those are our suites, sir. They are much bigger, and more expensive.” As always, I kept my smile on, and let her know that I didn’t have that kind of cash, but that I would certainly enjoy the city view. And, since the hotel was not going to be full anyway, it wouldn’t really cost them anything more than if I were to stay in a normal room.
She hesitated a bit, and told me that she would have to discuss it with the man who was there with her when I originally arrived. (I had gathered that she owned the place, but relied heavily on the man for advice.) When I returned a bit later, she told me that they were willing to offer me the suite at the same rate, under one condition: I would have to tell them about my experiences, so that they could improve their service to “real” future customers. Bingo!
Before entering the world of online marketing and becoming completely mobile, I used to be an independent business consultant. I actually enjoy giving people some business advice (provided it doesn’t cost me too much work, and doesn’t cannibalize on my potential other business activities). So this ‘task’ would be a piece of cake, and I would get to spend two days in a suite.
Curious to see what it looks like? Below are some pics. The suite featured floor-to-ceiling windows, a bar, a seating area, a large flatscreen TV that could swivel between facing the bed or the sofa, a balcony, and a bathroom with a hot tub in addition to the rain shower. And there was lots, lots, of vanity space. I’ve lived in apartments smaller than this!
So my last two days in Chiang Mai have been very comfortable. I spent a bit of time seeing the sights that I hadn’t gotten around to yet, and for the rest mostly worked and relaxed. Watching an episode of Homeland from the hot tub with a cold Singha beer was nice for a change.
Back to basics
But now I’m on the plane to Bangkok, to connect to Ranong from there. Ranong will be my spring board to make it to Koh Chang Noi in the Andaman Sea (not to be confused with Koh Chang island in the Gulf of Thailand), supposedly one of the last Thai islands untouched by tourism. There is no electricity, no internet, no hot water, and accommodations consist of very basic wooden bungalows. It will be quite a shock getting used to that after living the high-life in Chiang Mai.
On the other hand, I am looking forward to be away from the crowds for a bit, to enjoy lying on the beach and hiking into the forest. Koh Chang Noi should be ideal for that. I won’t be updating my blog for a while (for obvious reasons), but don’t worry, I should be back in the air within a week or so.