11.04.2008 - After almost a full nights sleep on the 12 hour night train from Bangkok we arrived in Chiang Mai - just in time for the beginning of Songkran (the Thai New Year which they like to celebrate by having a national waterfight for five days!)
Chaing Mai is a gorgeous city surrounded by an old moat and some of the original city walls around the moat are crumbling by it. We took ourselves off on two day tours whilst we were here...our Thai cookery course in a peaceful garden in the middle of nowhere which was great and we should now be able to make a perfect Thai curry, spring rolls, pad thai and mango with sticky rice!! Or maybe not?!
We also went on a days trek to see Chiang Mai hill tribes, a waterfall, ride elephants, white water rafting as well as bamboo rafting down the same river the elephants were taking a bath in! It was amazing - The treks are fab and we would reccommend them to anyone.
During our five days in Chiang Mai we didnt manage to stay dry for long - these guys are crazy over Songkran and not a single person can escape! It doesnt matter if you are carrying everything you own on your back, if you are on the phone, have a handbag full of goodies that aren't water proof, are on a motobike (which a lot of people got knocked off), in a tuk tuk, on your way to work...you get a bucket of icy cold water over your head! And some peope werent very amused but there was no escape! We got into the spirit by getting some buckets to fill in the moat and throw over everyone that passed us! The streets were mental with cries of "Happy Songkran" followed by a bucket of water over your head. Cars were all spray painted bright colours and most had barrels of water on them to fill up there water guns and buckets, but the traffic could hardly move due to the amount of people running around the roads soaking each other.
It was easily the most fun New Years we've ever had!!
We loved Chiang Mai and would have stayed longer but as we only have four weeks in which to complete the next three countries before getting back to Bangkok we had to keep it short but sweet!!