Getting lost isn’t so bad, if everywhere you turn there is a new and fantastic discovery, as is the typical outcome in the ancient streets of Chiang Mai. As long as you don’t accidentally corner yourself at a Red Shirt rally (which we have done), the impromptu adventures are always better than planned ones.
I had been to the Royal Park Rajapruek previously with some girls from the RakDek Chiang Mai office, who were so sweet to show me around the province. However, they planned so many activities that by the time we reached the gardens, it was almost closing time.
Since DP didn’t get to go with me on that “girls only” excursion, I thought it would be nice for the two of us to get away from our respective responsibilities and spend an entire day at the gardens.
Whenever I get us lost (which is often), I do so very confidently and with gusto. So confidently, in fact, that DP (even though he knows better) lets me navigate. To be fair, I distinctly recalled only making two turns when the girls took me: left out of the TLSDF office; straight ahead for a few kilometers on the main road out of Chiang Mai City, following signs; then right into the entrance of park.
Some 30-45 minutes later, we found ourselves in Lamphun Province. Oops. I knew something was wrong when we kept passing mountains and, aside from the occasional gas station, saw no sign of civilization.
It was getting dark. We were sore and exhausted from sitting tandem on a motorbike for that amount of time. The sun had beaten my arms into a deep brown, only I wasn’t sure how much of it was road filth clinging to three layers of sweat.
Defeated, we stopped to eat miscellaneous snacks at a 7-Eleven, since we had no idea where we were. Then we drove back to our guest house as the remaining light quickly faded.
The next day, we made Attempt #2 (after consulting the Internet). The view was worth it.