Sociable Chiang Mai
in Chiang Mai, Thailand on 14th February, 2012


I've met a number of people who've taken night trains across Asia for various reasons. I'm glad I decided to take one during the day time. For the whole of the 12-hour journey from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand I was glued to the window. The sunset felt as though it lasted a lifetime. Even during the day there was a yellow and green hue glowing off the land. Train stations we'd stop at would have quirky decorations such as a giant golden ape statue or other animals. I could see fires set next to the train tracks as night fell.

In Bangkok I had to walk into traffic stopped at a red light with my 21kg bag, agree a price with a tok tok driver and get in before being mowed down by the impatient motorists I was blocking. Here in Chiang Mai I had the comfort of the train station to try and get a price that was conceived here on Earth and not in outer space.

It's a shame I checked into what was the best hotel room I've ever stayed in; Chaing Mai had by far the best nightlife I've experienced on this trip so far and I hardly spent any time in it. I had been given a £42 / night room as the £30 / night one I booked had been taken.

I caught up with Tiago and a few others and before I knew it, the night was a blur of street food and brilliant bar balcony boozing. I ended the night chatting with some English girls in the road as their antics kept me entertained.

This really is the land of smiles. I had walked onto a school ground to photograph a temple they just happen to have on their premises. I showed the staff and they looked at the photo in awe and made some lovely small talk. I had stopped for a coffee at a coffee van and as I sat waiting some local Thais offered me some nibbled they were munching away on. At a temple A cleaner and I chatted for a bit as she explained what it's like to be there on a daily basis.

Most days were passed walking around and sitting inside of the temples in and around the town. The evenings were passed in bars, street markets and enjoying the company of fellow travellers and expats. Most meals we'd eat in restaurants would cost anywhere from £0.70 to £1. Some of the food was legendary.

How else can I state my case? Chiang Mai was full of pleasant and unexpected events.


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