Hello All. I am writing this from Chiang Khong, which is the border town before we head into Laos tomorrow. Its been 5 days since our last blog, and what a manic 5 days it has been. We left Bangkok last Saturday morning on the 8:30 train to Chiang Mai...we were told this would last 12 hours - but it turned out to be 13....13 hours of dodgy A/C, dodgy cold sweetcorn soup, dodgy men playing with cap guns, dodgy things falling off the train, and just about dodgy everything really. But we did eventualy arrive in Chiang Mai at c. 9:30pm....unfortunately it didn't get much better very quickly.
We eventually rocked up at Green Tulip House in Chiang Mai at around 10:30pm, and I have to say that in all my travels it was pound for pound probably the best hostel I have ever stayed in. Private, En Suite, Fan, Quiet, Clean, Friendly, Helpful Good Breakfast....all for 4 quid each a night. Not bad!!! That evening we also went for a quick walk in search of food and came across a little street food place which had the best Spicy Pork and Noodle soup that you can buy for
30 Baht each (about 70p!)....Alex wasn't so sure mind you....
Anyway, next day we got up early and went and walked around some of the many temples in town, the most impressive being Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phan Tao which demonstrated some exquisite Lanna architecture (Alex told me to put that obviously, you know how she loves her architecture and that...)
Later that evening we went for a walk around the Sunday walking street market, and wow it was just an incredible experience. The centre of town basically turns into the biggest open street market you can imagine with stalls stretching out as far as the eye can see in all directions. There are people playing live music, people selling handicrafts and clothes and all kinds of street food everywhere you look. We ate lots of spring rolls (Alex had 6) and I had lots of meat on sticks and noodles and these lovely little banana spring roll thingys and mmmmm. Well I loved it anyway...Alex not so much. But oh well.
Our plan was to then look at some of the treks and tours on offer - but this was more difficult
than it first seems. Most of the treks on offer include some kind of ride on an elephant and some kind of hilltribe visit where you basically get to gawp at some poor tribal people who probably don't want you to be there and are probably exploited by the tour agencies. We didn't really want to do any of those things, but we did eventually manage to book a tour to the top of the national park and tallest mountiain in Thailand for the next day starting at 8am. Sadly, we never got to do it because Alex was up all night feeling poorly and unable to sleep (I know its my fault because of the street food right...ok) so she didn't feel able to do it. Thankfully we got our money back for the tour (yes all 60 quid!)
Not a lot happen over the next couple of days unfortunately as Alex took time to recover. It is a shame that we didn't get to go on a tour, but I'mjust glad that Alex feels better now and we can just crack on with our journey. I guess we both feel that we didn't quite get the best
out of Chiang Mai, but even just for the temples, the Street Market, the laid back atmosphere, the crazy motorcycles, and the brilliant hostel we stayed in, Chiang Mai was well worth the visit and somewhere I would definitely love to get back to one day.
As I said before I am wrinting this from Chiang Khong after a not-too-bad bus ride earlier today. Tomorrow we are up early to cross the border to Laos and get a 2 day slow boat trip downthe Mekong River headed for Luang Prabang...and its not everyday you can say that is it!
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