I spent my Valentine’s Day waking up in a bed that clearly wasn’t mine. Don’t get your hopes up! I woke up in a small bungalow, in Chiang Dao, 2 hours drive from Chiang Mai, and next to me, sound asleep was… my sister. I didn’t spend my Valentine’s Day in a romantic set up, with breakfast in bed, next to a handsome man. Instead, I went with my friends to Chiang Dao to enjoy a little bit of nature and some good music at Shambhala In Your Heart Festival.
Shambala is a very small, hippie festival, organized every year at the beginning of February. It is located a little bit outside of town, in a valley, with a stream and surrounded by mountains. It lasts for 10 days, but you can come any time and stay as long as you want. The price to get in is 200 Baht for one day and one night, or a 1,000 Baht for 5 days. You can either camp there, or use one of the tipis, which are provided for free, or sleep in a dormitory (also free of charge).
We got to the festival still in time to enjoy the sunset and some warm temperatures. We sat near the stream, enjoying the music played by a random gathering of people, we talked and tried to soak up as much of the wonderful atmosphere as we could.
People with dread locks, wearing linen trousers and long dresses were everywhere. Quite a lot of them were selling hand made goods, vegetarian food, or practising yoga. There was some music played in the distance. The sun was setting slowly and it was starting to get cold. We were sitting on the ground, drinking beer and wine.
A reggae band started playing at around 6 pm, and by 7 I was jumping to the beat of the drums, the music enveloping me and the atmosphere of the festival taking over my mind and my body.
Around 11 pm the concerts were finished and the organisers asked everyone to be quiet. This, however, didn’t work and the music played whole night, people burned fires and danced to the flutes and guitars. I went to ‘bed’ at around 3 am.
I went to Shambhala 2 more times, every time enjoying the special ambiance of the place. There are so many things to discover in Thailand, so many things to experience. I come back to this country, again and again, each time finding something even more exciting.