Lorna and Kev's slightly extended holiday
The marathon train journey... Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Mueang Chiang Mai, Thailand
Boarding the train to Chiang Mai we were pleasantly surprised by our shared cabin, although for 800 baht we probably shouldn't have been. Each cabin had 2 bunk beds and pointless fold out tables, weirdly places lights and fresh bedding, pretty sure we have staying in worse hotels than this! We were sharing our cabin with Laura and Gavin thankfully as it may have been a bit too intimate with people that we didn't know. We were also glad of our picnic food as despite what i have read the food did not look overly appetizing and was definitely over priced (100 baht for a tablespoon of tea and half a dozen biscuits that tasted like styrofoam). Passing the time with the usual read a book, watched a film, laughed at Kev nearly killing himself falling down a ladder. Now i wouldn't normally go into certain things on here, but i feel that it is an important/terrifying matter when travelling in such countries, of course i am talking about the squat toilets. So far i have been pretty lucky (bar one occasion that i won't go in to, which has only increased my fear). The last train we were on provided an option for both depending on your preference, however this train stuck to its traditional roots and only provided the asian option. For someone like me this is a major problem, i'm not saying i didn't try because i did but some times we have to accept the things that are beyond us. So after 15 hours, no sleep due to my ridiculous fear of the dreaded squat toilet, the pain i was in because of this, and the train being 2 hours late getting to Chiang Mai, my previous excitement had begun to falter. To be fair the fact that they kept the main lights on the whole journey had grated on everyone nerves. So getting into Chiang Mai's very pretty station was a huge relief, literally. After the usual mob of taxi drivers we hopped into the local version of public transport Sǎwngthǎew, basically a converted pickup truck with 2 benches and a roof (you see these quite a few places in Thailand, although not in Bangkok for some reason). We like using these as they are everywhere and are usually a set price of 50 baht each no bartering required! We hadn't booked any accommodation as there are so many in Chiang Mai that its easier to have a wander and find one you like the look of. So starting at Soi 2 (Soi means side street off a main street, occasionally they have names if they are big enough but the numbers make it much easy to navigate), we located a cafe that serves a pretty close version of a english breaky and left the boys drinking tea and playing pool while we visited the guest houses on the street. A couple of possibilities and a bacon and egg sandwich later we headed over to the next soi. Once again leaving the boys with a cuppa we had a wander. We decided on Smile House, a pretty nice guesthouse with a swimming pool on one of the nicest streets i have ever visited. 3 book shops, a handful of gorgeous cafes, 2 of which we pretty much lived in, and a couple of bars. We settled in nicely.