Chiang Mai

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January 14th 2011
Published: January 23rd 2011
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I took a 3rd class train (fan cooled, stops frequently), 2nd class sleeper car from Bangkok to Chiang Mai on Jan 13. I was very concerned when I got on the train - it was stuffy hot and there were large rust holes on both the exterior and interior of the train car! But as we traveled, the car got cooler and then cold - it became difficult to sleep under the thin blanket provided and they wouldn't shut the fans or lights off! I arrived in Chiang Mai wearing my hoody and groggy from lack of sleep. (I did get a pic of a rather scary looking monkey statue at one of the stops - my lower bunk mate sort of matched it).

I found a guesthouse charging 250 Baht per night with bath - no pictures, it just wasn't worth it. But I stayed for a week, too lazy to go out and find another cheap room.

I vegged for the first couple of days, wandering the streets, visiting markets, reading books and eating good food - I found an indian restaurant - check the pic of my vegetarian teaser plate with naan and lassi!

I finally decided to join a rafting adventure - at the cost of 1800 baht it wasn't cheap, but it was fun. There were three of us in the raft with guide and with the water so low, we had fun manouvering around rocks. Checking the photos, it appears that I was occasionally frightened, but I just remember having alot of fun.

I also visited some elephants, but chose not to take a ride. The baby elephant, 3 months old, in the pic came up to me and pushed against me, much like a 200 pound dog seeking attention. I was surprised that he had bristly inch long hair on the top of his head, not exactly pleasant to try to pet.

I also opted to sign up for Jungle Flight, a zip-line adventure - a series of 22 platforms, some more than 100 metres apart, in the treetops of the jungle. I'm surprised that I didn't feel any quesiness - it was a blast wizzing through the trees at high speed. The part that bothered me was when we were lowered from one platform to a lower one in the same tree - the longest drop was 40 metres. My stomach was in my mouth - I actually screamed to avoid thinking!

On my last day in Chiang Mai I opted for a 2 hour oil massage - what a great investment! 300 Baht for two hours working out all my kinks with scented oil - I smelled great for my train ride back to Bangkok and on to the island of Koh Chang.

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