Last night we boarded our 15 hour sleeper train to Chiang Mai. Upon boarding all the seats are regular seats facing one another in twos, and then around 8:00pm they came around and converted the seats into a top bunk and lower bunk. The lower bunk was much more spacious and resembled a regular single bed, with a window. The top bunk was very skinny, with no bars to make sure you don’t roll out in the middle of the night (that’s the one I was in). It was a little strange trying to get used to sleeping on a train, especially since these trains weren’t the smoothest, but we managed. They are fairly clean, with the exception of the bathroom which basically is just a squat toilet, and a regular toilet that drains out directly on the train track.. yuck!
We arrived in Chiang Mai this morning around 8:15am. The moment we stepped off the train we knew we already liked Chiang Mai ten times more than Bangkok. You first of all could actually breathe here, and it wasn’t 400 degrees with insane humidity. Also, although it is the second largest city in Thailand, it doesn’t feel as stressful and hectic as Bangkok does.
The taxi cabs around here are kind of cool. They hold about 8-10 people and they’ll just pick up people that are all headingin the same direction as they go. That is how we got to our current hostel from the train station. We are staying at Hug Hostel which is located in the old part of Chiang Mai. It seems to be pretty central to most things. Once we arrived we had a crepe and some coffee/tea in the hostel cafe and headed out to explore (since we couldn’t check in till 2pm).
One thing about Chiang Mai is that there is no shortage of temples, and although this sounds bad, they all look very similar. In fact, I even thought we were at the same place at one point. We managed to find and visit Wat Phra Sing, Wat Phantao, Wat Chediluang and the three king monument. We then thought it was time to find a place for lunch and drinks. We are finding in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai that there never seems to be restaurants around when we want or need them. Wemanaged to find a little Thai restaurant that was attached to another hostel and made traditional thai food. I had green curry and rice, which was very good!
We are now back at our hostel just relaxing. Our hostel is not bad, fairly clean, and we currently have a 4 bed dorm. Our other two roomies haven’t arrived yet. The beds can be compared to a piece of plywood with a sheet on top of it because they are as stiff as a rock. Should be an interesting sleep to say the least. After not much sleep last night we are pretty exhausted, so hopefully that helps with the hard beds. We plan to head out to the main bar/restaurant strip in Chiang Mai this evening for dinner and to visit the famous Zoe in Yellow bar (famous amongst tourist at least).
Tomorrow we have to be up early as we head to the Elephant Nature Park for 2 days, and 1 night!