Sawadee Ka from Chiang Mai!
I'm COLD!!! Chiang Mai is lovely, very quiet compared to Bangkok and also much colder but as far as I know we're not expecting snow here so it's all good! Have had a very busy few days since we arrived. Left Bangkok on an overnight train (Which was ACE) and were picked up and taken to our hotel which is really nice. Myself and Mithun had a slight Visa issue (In that it ran out the following day!), so to avoid deportation (Or a big fine) we had to do a mad dash to the border of Mynamar (Burma) to get our passports stamped again! We left the hotel at 7AM and spent HOURS in a minibus travelling up to the Northernmost tip of Thailand. We took a boat ride along the Mekhong River and passed Burma and Laos. We got stop n a tiny part of Laos (But couldn't get our passports stamped unfortunately) and visited a market where we picked 200 fags up for the equivalent of Four Pounds! We were very happy Shahs!
The area of the boat trip was called the Golden Triangle and years ago was a hive of Opium industry! I think the name Golden Triangle came from the fact each country traded gold flakes for Opium! We didn't get any though...
After the Golden Triangle we headed to the border and thankfully only paid 500 baht for a new visa which means I'm safe until Kim comes out! We then had a LOOOOOOOOOOONG drive back to Chiang Mai where Tina was waiting for us, scared that we'd been kidnapped at the border! Which both of us agreed was DODGY!! If you enter Burma you have to leave your passport at the border and you pick it up when you leave...they didn't ask us to sign anything when they asked us to leave our passports or even put them anywhere safe, so we made a swift exit WITH our passports, and decided shopping could be done in Thailand instead!
We had a day of rest the follwing day strolled around the Night Bazaar (Where I got a new pair of trainers for a tenner!) and resisted buying stuff off the hundreds of kids roaming around at night. Mithun took pity on them last night (I think it was the whiskey) and gave them a load of money to go away!
The next couple of days myself and Tina did a Thai cooking course which was GREAT fun. We cooked all our favourite dishes and got to eat EVERYTHING afterwards. Needless to say, after 6 dishes we needed to be rolled back to the hotel!! One of the coolest bits was when we cooked using "Big Flame" (Basically the whole wok was on fire and I was terrified!) where we got some ace photos. The cooking school was really small but the woman running it was hilarious. She had the dirtiest mind I've ever seen and had myself a T in stitches for most of the day! Felt like we learned a lot, looking forward to a few guinea pigs to test how much I learnt when I come home! Included in the course was a trip to a local market where we were told all about the different Thai ingredients, spices and herbs. For a food freak like me it was fantastic! though I do think I've gained half a stone from all the eating we've been doing. I though people LOST weight in Asia...I seem to be finding all the weight that people are losing! Worth it though!
Today we went quad biking which was also excellent. We actually took them off road and were flung all over the place. We visited a pretty waterfall and a huge Bhudda along the way also! We all enjoed it but unfortunately Tina took a bit of a tumble....or rather didn't like the bumpy bits, lost control, drove up a ditch, into a fence and then fell flat o her arse. Now I'd like to point out that me andMithun were terrified till we realised she was fine (Just a couple of scratches and a massive bruise on her ass). When we saw that nothing was broken we were in hysterics for the rest of the drive and could just about control our own bikes! Thankfully she wasn't hurt so we are spending today abusing her for falling off!
The rest of our time in Cjiang Mai is going o spent doing very little! We head back to Bangkok on Tuesday night and until then we're going to chill out, spend some money at the night markets (Which I would advise you to visit BEFORE you have a drink...Wooden frogs and silver tasselled hats look very attractive after 6 Bacardis...) and do a lot of eating. We're all excited today as we've found a place that does a proper roast dinner with Yorkshires, stuffing, roast spuds and everything! I haven't had a roast in 6 months and although it won't be as good as mum's I can't wait!
Anyway, that's all from Chiang Mai, hope you are all well
(And Tina and Mithun)