Taxi arrived to pick us up to take us to the busstation at Inburi at 7.30pm... it was an open-backed pick-up truck! Luxury transport! Actually quite nice and refreshing in this hot weather! Got the bus to Chiang Mai at 8.30pm, it was luxurious! AirCon and blankets provided and plenty of loo-stops. Arrived in Chiang Mai at 4am.. first thing that struck us was the COLD! Being used to singburi, we were all in short shorts and vest tops and hadn't bought anything warmer, so we were shivering! It wasn't really cold, but overnight it gets a bit nippy up there, and we weren't expecting it!
Arrived at Julie's Guesthouse at 5am, so obviously no reception. Took the suggestion of a sign saying "feel free to sleep on our roof terrace if reception is closed" and bedded down on sofas in the cold night air! Not the most comfortable sleep ever! Guesthouse highly reccommended, by the way, only 100B, or 2pounds per person per night for a nice twin room with ensuite.
First day, we got a cab to take us to see a load of handicraft places, like a silk workshop where they showed us the whole process from silk-worm birth to final product, very interesting, also saw umbrella making and other traditional Thai arts and crafts... managed to refrain from spending!
Next, we visited a hill tribe village, (Hmong tribe?), interesting but very commercial, mostly centred on stalls and shops. Museum was interesting though, the tribe originated from Burma, and looked very chinese, more than thai. Then onto Doi Suthep, the temple in the Sky, which is the highest temple in Thailand, it was amazing! Beautiful, with 330steps leading up to it.
Back to the hostel, then dinner at an Italian, then we went to the Night bazaar, actually the hugest market I have EVER seen, it was incredible! Loads of cheap stuff and bargains.
Next day we went to Chaing Mai Zoo. a nice zoo with big enclosures for the animals. Quick meal at the hostel then another nice 81/2 hour bus ride back to Inburi. The bus arrived over an hour late, we were terrified we would be marooned at inburi bus station (rural, nothing there) but thank god, the taxi driver was STILL waiting there for us, what a star!
Back to lemon house, feels weird to be back on an organised tour, enjoyed my time off!