Shaky songthaew ride (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

The cheapest way to get to Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai’s most famous temple in the mountains, is to take a shared songthaew. A songthaew is essentially a red pick up truck that’s covered in the back, with two rows of opposing seats along the sides. As soon as 10 people gather at the meeting spot, the songthaew leaves.

For whatever reason, I waited 20 minutes and not a single other person came. I was about to give up, but one of the waiting drivers offered me a cheap price to take just me, and to leave right away.

I immediately regretted it. We zoomed up the windy mountain roads, leaving everyone we encountered – including other songthaews – in the dust. I estimated a high probability that either my stuff would fly out, I would be thrown out, or the entire vehicle would roll all together. Really wished there were other people in the songthaew with me to provide a buffer or soften the fall.

Miraculously, and thankfully we arrived safely. Shaken, but safe!

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