Well the 12 hour overnight bus ride wasn't as bad as expected. Got chatting to a guy from Slovenia who works as a tour guide so when we got dropped off randomly at 6am he new a great little guesthouse. Spent the 1st day exploring the city, checking out the temples and just enjoying how much more relaxed it was compared to Bangkok!
After staying up pretty late to watch a bit of football I set off on a two day trek into the mountains, where we got to ride elephants and do a lot of walking. The scenery was incredible, and we stayed in a bamboo hut in a hill tribe village with breathtaking views of the valley and a nice fire to keep us warm(they don't do health and safety in Thailand).
On the second day we set off downhill, which is actually harder work than uphill as you have to watch your step all the time. My Primark pumps that cost a fiver did me proud! We chilled at a waterfall for a bit before trekking to some rapids to do some white water rafting which was awesome! Got back to my guest house at 6, had a beer and slept till the next morning.
The next day I decided to get a 100cc scooter out for the day for a bit more exploration. The total cost for this, including a full tank of fuel.....7 quid! Went about 15 miles out of the city to visit Chiang Mai's most famous temple Doi Suthep. About 700 years ago some monks strapped a religois artefact to the back of and elephant and just let it run free. It walked for days up a mountain before stopping, and thats where the temple was built. The views of the city from up there are amazing and the ride up and down was great, Hoult would have been proud!
Anyway, I'm just off to catch a bus now as I have a 3 day trip into Laos, the most bombed nation on earth. I'll be taking a two day slow boat trip down the Mekong River and arriving in Luang Prabang on Friday.
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