We left Rama in Chang Mai bright & early with our small packs & 3 days worth of clothes etc. Took a 4 hour bus up North to Thaton, where we were spending one night at a beautiful riverside guesthouse (in the middle of nowhere). After lunch, while the rest of the group took off to see yet another temple - me, Lin, Jill & Abby plumped for beers & card games down by the river & spent a very enjoyable afternoon playing cheat, rummy & s***head!
Another early start, for a bus ride to the Burma (Myanmar) border. Being typical 'aliens' - the Thai name for tourists, we were all well up for paying 500 baht to cross the border & get 3 more stamps in our passports! However, we soon learned what a fantastic con this is, the minute you cross over there is nothing to do but wander more street markets touting pirate DVD's & fake handbags/clothes etc or have a coffee.
Next the bus took us up to the Golden Triangle where the borders of Thailand, Burma & Laos all meet. Had some lunch & then all piled into motorboats which took us 5 mins over the water to Laos, where guess what - there's another market & a lady sat in a little hut, offering to stamp your passport with a 'Visit Laos' stamp, which of course we all pounced on! The boat was great fun though & enjoyed watching the others heave after tasting the snake whisky (exactly what it says on the bottle - with dead snakes inside!)
Boat ride back to Thailand (loving the whole 3 countries in one day adventure) & went to visit the 212 House of Opium Museum before taking our final bus journey of the day to Chang Rai. The open buses are great! They have platforms & hand rails for you to cling onto while you cruise along riding the back of them, wind whipping your hair, getting beeped or frantically waved at by everyone passing by. I also maanged to snatch some more lovely sunset pics.
Arrived at our hotel in Chang Rai (yes - proper HOTEL, not a one star guesthouse) & had a quick shower before dinner at the Night Bazaar & some more window shopping.