The holiday is over - we had a really good time over Victoria's Birthday and Christmas - lots of lazing around on beautiful beaches with a bit of snorkelling, kayaking and elephant trekking thrown in. The best thing, however, was seeing the family again.We all left Krabi together and should have travelled together to Surat Thani, where we caught a train northwards and the kids went on to the New Year's eve party on Ko Pha Ngan. However, at the bus station when the bus arrived we went to get on and were told 'no you on minibus' so the goodbyes came a bit earlier than planned and were a bit short. Maybe it was better that way. The return to travelling was a little brutal - we had a 4 hour minibus ride to the station followed by an overnight train journey to Bangkok. We were in 2nd class as we could not get 1st class, so it was a bit noisy and we arrived at Bangkok in the early hours a bit worse for wear. After breakfast, it was on another train up to Chang Mai. This train was fine, just long and tedious (12 hours). The scenery was a bit boring at first - through the plains of central Thailand. We reached the mountains in mid afternoon when it got more interesting - looked like proper jungle but then darkness fell. Our arrival in Chang Mai was uneventful - we found our hotel and were quickly settled in.The next day we had a day looking round the city. We both really liked the place - it has a nice laid back feel to it, lots of shops and restaurants and some beautiful temples. We were on the edge of the old city (staying in an English style pub of all places) by the moat. We came across a Thai wedding reception by the moat - lots of food and dancing and very colourful. We only did 3 of the temples - the highlight being Wat Pra Singh which was beautifully decorated. We spent the rest of the day doing admin stuff - booking tours, finding out how to get out and swapping books.