25.08.2011 - 10.09.2011
my thai phone number is +66900939700
After a 15 hour journey with no sleep, I got to bangkok at 6am and had the entire day in front of me!
I decided to get out of bangkok as soon as possible. It was too noisy, smelly, and generally hectic. Roz came and met me on the second day, so I travelled with her for a couple of weeks, which was nice. I wanted to explore the north of thailand before going to the islands, because I've got the 60 day visa and i thought i might as well use it, rather than trying to fit all of the north at the end, with only 15 days to do it (because of the visa-exemption limit)
Got the sleeper train up to chiang mai, which was really cool. except for the fact that I didn't sleep a wink! The guy in the bunk opposite mine was a fat old polish ex-pat, who snored like an ox all night! The scenery was beautiful, the windows slid right open so practically the whole side of the carriage was open! the doors at the end of the carriage were wide open too so we it was going slowly you could lean out and take photos.
I met 5 ozzy guys on the train who were all safe as houses, and I ended up sharing a room with one of them in a guesthouse in chiang mai. Roz stayed with some welsh girls we met in a restaurant
There was a mudslide over the track just after lanpang, so we had to get off the train at lanpang and get a coach to chiang mai. we got on the train at 9pm, and arrived at 5pm the next day! Chiang mai was so much nicer than bangkok. In total I stayed there for about nine nights! good job i decided to do the north at the beginning, with more time! I love the north of thailand. Its cooler, slower, and nicer looking than what I saw of the south. We just chilled, played pool, went to some temples and markets and things. Me and roz went on a 3 day elephant trek - the first day was a 4 hour trek up a mountain through jungle, got to a hill tribe village in the evening where we drank cheap whisky with the guide, sang campfire songs, then slept on the floor in a bamboo hut. next day a 3 hour trek back down the other side of the mountain, via a waterfall and white water rafting. Then we got dropped off at baanchang elephant park, stayed the night and in the morning we fed the elephants, rode them bareback through the jungle, and washed them in a lake, which was really nice.
i met up with one of the guys from the trek, and got a coach up to pai. Pai is the coolest place I have ever been (so far!)! 3 hour drive up the mountain, and then pai is a tiny little town in a valley up in the mountains. We rented scooters and explored the countryside for a few days, and explored all the reggae bars for a few nights, before coming back to chiang mai to get a train on to chiang rai.
So at the moment, I'm sitting in an internet cafe with 4 girls i met in pai. It's raining outside and we had to wait from 12.30 untill 4.15 for the bus (halfway there now!) I'm gonna spend a few nights in chiang rai and explore the city for a while. After that I'll make my way down to the islands slowly, stopping off at various points en-route. I could go all the way there on an 18-odd hour bus journey, but there's plenty to see in between and i've got plenty of time! also, doing it this way means i can get the local buses for a fraction of the cost of the tourist buses - they're much less comfortable but by splitting the journey into a series of 3/4 hour journeys will make it bearable!
I'm definately going to stop at sukhothai and ayuthaya on the way down, and anywhere else that sounds good!