Arrived at 8.40 in the morning after taking the overnight train from Bangkok - 14 and a half hours! Went to hotel, which has a pool and chilled out for a few hours. Went out for a bit of a wander in the afternoon around the ancient walled city. Booked a trek for tomorrow and white water rafting for Thursday. In the evening, went for a looksie around the Chaing Mai night bazaar - its absoloutly massive, about 12 blocks long by eight blocks deep (at least). Bargins galore to be had, lots of counterfeit merchandise for us punters to buy. I brought some swimming trunks that don't fit!! Only 4 quid hough so no great loss. Managed to forget the name of my hotel then get lost on the way back form the bazaar so even when I could find someone that spoke english to help me I couldn't remember where I was staying - what a donut. Got back safe and sound in the end after getting hassled by all the hookers at the girlie bars!!
Early start for me today. Got picked up at 8.30am then went on a trek to a Mong Village (no it wasn't inhabited by a load of window lickers, that's the name of the tribe). Was absoloutly stunning walking throught the forest. Crossed and Indiana Jones style bridge then walked throught the mountians for a bit until we got to the tribe (have got some very scenic photos). We then walked back down the mountain and went for an hours ride on some elephants through the forest (hence the photo). We then stopped for some lunch then off to visit the Karen tribe. Was a bit of a con really, the village itself was a s***hole and everyone was selling exactly the same textiles. Brought a scarf that takes about two weeks to make by hand. After the Karen tribe, we went to a beautiful waterfall and had a bit of a swim (photos on my return) then went bamboo rafting to finish the day off. Was very tranquil just cruising through the forest on a bamboo raft and we did go over small waterfall right near the end. Could have spent a day just doing that to be honest. Am knackered now so a few beers then early to bed for the white water rafting tomorrow.
Another early start today (not much time for drinking last night god damn it). No time for breakfast as we headed out at 8.30 am to go white water rafting. After some light instruction, they felt we had the nesseccary experience to command a dingy down river over some rapids and small waterfalls (the fools). Scenery was excellent and the crew were well behaved, no rum, parrots or mutiny involved. The rafting was over a stretch of about 10km, some of it very relaxing and tranquil, some of it quite hard work. We managed to get ourselves grounded on a rock in the middle of a small drop for a few minutes and it was a right mission getting started again. I'd recommend rafting to everyone, we all had a right good time and all for 1600 bht (just over 20 quid). They even let me skipper the vessle for about 5 minutes, during which time I felt it appropriate to order an attack on another dingy that passed us. All good fun! This evening we just went out for a meal where you go and pick your own food then cook it at you're table over a charcoal fire - very civilised. Then went onto a club where they charged us 300 baht for a small bottle of heineken. What a f***ing rip off. They only let us know the price after we started drinking and Andy nearly put bar stool over the waiter's head when he found out - classic. Well that's it for today, have got three more days here and an auzzie I met in Bangkok is arriving the day after tomorrow so I'm sure I'll have some further tales to tell when he gets here.
Just had a relaxing one today. Andy and Nathan left Chaing Mai to head back to Bangkok then onto the beaches. Did some reading on what other sights to see up north then got chatting to a guy calles Sebastien who is from Canada. We went out to the night bazaar in the evening for some really nice Chicken Byriyani (thinks that's spelt right) and then went to watch some Muay Thai boxing. The fights were all show fights so it wasn't very authentic so we just ended up playing some pool and having a few beers. Am hoping to meet Andrew the auzzie today when he's arrived from Bangkok so the'll probably be lots of drinking going on today.
Chilled out in the morning until Andrew made contact. Had to walk across the entire width of the ancient town to get to his hotel and still had trouble finding it. Just showed him around the shopping areas and night bazaar and grabbed some food. Had lots of pork satay, Pad Thai noodles and spring rolls, all for 390 baht for two people. Were both well full after that. Andrew nearly brought an automatic assult rifle BB gun on the way back. The night bazaar is pretty crazy, you can pretty much buy anything that you want (within reason of course) and they allow you to do alot more haggling here that in Bangkok. You can pretty much get what you want for half the price they are asking. Just went to a bar after that and a few bevvies before bedtime.
Met Andrew for some breakfast before taking a long wall aournd the ancient city of Chiang Mai. This part is the walled city that has an impressive moat running around the perimeter. Found some cool shops and bars but didn't spend too much money thank god. Went for a swim in the afternoon in the hotel pool before heading out to the night market again to grab some cheap t-shirts. Then ended up in a bar watching the footie - bloody Everton not beaing able to hang on to a lead. Then came back to hotel to watch the United game (11pm kick off local time). Bloody Man United not being able to beat West Ham. Went to bed feeling a little dissapointed. Also nearly got attacked by a dog on the way back to my hotel. My areshole was going like a bloody machine gun - pretty funny for a fly on the wall watching a dog chase a farang down the back streets. Made it back without having to kick the damn thing in the face so it's all good.
Head back to Bangkok today on the overnight train. The ticket is telling me that the journey will take 17 bloody hours! It'll probably be even longer as it was an hour late getting in on the way up here. Good job I brought a book and my ipod, that should keep me entertained for the journey. Will be meeitng Chris Macken on the 20th at some point and Andy and Nathan will be meeting me at the hotel some point tomorrow. Have only had 1 mosquito bite since I've been in Thailand, not bad going at all.
Anyways, that about it for now, further installments to come once I get back to Bangkok.
Dan Farang XX