Bangkok and Chiang Mai - The beautiful North

Trip Start Jan 16, 2010
Trip End Aug 16, 2010

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

We headed back to Samui for one night where we would then fly out to bangkok at 6am the next morning. We trudged along the beach with our backpacks at the speed of a couple of sea turtles. We managed to find a place called the moon hut bungalows for a mere 10 per night , lovely little place right on the beach , basic but just the trick for a one night stop over in transit. We arrived at lunch time and our bellies told us it was time for lunch . It was at this point i realised that the sequined bow purse was slightly more flaccid than usual, OH NOOOOO! I had left the traveling cash card in a card machine in Phangan!! I feel at this point i need to explain how this happened. In an English ATM you do not get your money before you take your card from the machine , otherwise people would just walk away with there money. Now in Thailand you get your money and then you have to answer a question in Thai about requiring other services before you get your card back me this is an easy mistake to make!! well thats my excuse!

Now a hot Jones is someone not to be trifled with but a hot hungry and tired Jones can kill with merely a glance. To my relief after a few curse words i seemed to get away with my stupidity quite mildly. We set about canceling the card and were grateful that i had my cash card to fall back on, but, to my surprise it was spat back at me ?? "Must be a fail safe from the bank" , i rang my bank only to discover someone had been on a shopping spree and frauded my account to the tune of over one thousand pounds in 24 hours! Great , they then inform me that the only thing to do is cancel my card and order a new one to my address. So two cards down and on to Jens cash card. Surely that will be fine, surely i had learned my lesson!!? With jenny safely fed i spent the rest of the night sulking and imagining the little scrote who spent 540 at Abercrombie and Fitch. The next day we flew early from Samui to Bangkok. (Note to Mum  - Don't Worry its all sorted now)

We were merely in bangkok for the day as that evening we would be taking the overnight bus to Chiang Mai. Bangkok is absolutely chaos , street vender's , scooters ,tuk tuks , smog and masses of people, a far cry from the sedate shores of the beaches we had been frequenting. The vibrant change of scenery was a nice contrast. The heat is almost unbearable at times with the humidity adding to the smog , fresh air is hard to find and we needed to take shelter quite frequently in air conditioned buildings. Stepping out of the shopping arcades was like stepping into an oven, luckily we Had left our backpacks in safes at the train station. We mainly spent the day shopping. The shopping in bangkok is really good and very very cheap! we were lucky enough to be there during an international BBQ , stalls of cheap food from all nations which was a great way to end our full day before we headed to the station to get the overnight bus to chiang mai.

The bus was fairly comfortable with reclining seats.... not that sleeping is a problem for jenny. She seems to have developed motion Narcolepsy. So far she has fallen asleep in the back of a pick up truck , a plane , a boat , cable car and countless taxis. What starts with gentle nodding, eventually ends in a soft thud or snoozing . We have yet to find a mode of transport she cant fall asleep in. 10 hours later we arrived in Chiang mai where we made our way by taxi to our guest house called 'Vanilla place' . The owner of the guest house was amazing , Mr Kenn , a retired gentleman running the guest house for free for his daughter , such a sweet helpful, hospitable man who could not do enough for us. The money that the room cost us which was a mere 15 a night was easily compensated by the money he must of saved us! The man was a legend, he even got up early to make us breakfast when he knew we were arriving. After the best hot shower of the journey so far we quickly booked our trips for the next two days. I stupidly went to the cash point unsupervised, and you can guess what happened........ yes i did .......i lost jenny's card in the machine , but we didn't find later that evening , oblivious to this fact and my impending doom, the first day was jam packed.


In the morning we hired a taxi to take us to a temple and the royal palace . Interestingly at the temple i suddenly gained rock star status with groups of school girls wanting there picture with me ??! They must really go for pink blotchy short men. Later that day we concluded there must of been a competition to find the ugliest tourist, with jenny a close second as she was asked to join a few pictures . We then spent 30 minutes in Chiang mai zoo where we watched a panda expose himself whilst eating bamboo. By this point the long night on the road was catching up with us, so we headed back as we had a Thai cooking class in the evening.

So off we went to the cookery lesson. We were joined by a nice American couple, Joe and Amanda. Spookily Joe was also a process analyst like myself, I had actually found someone who knew what i did for a living!! The cooking course was really good fun , we learnt to cook about five dishes and we will surely be putting our skills to the test when we get home!


The second day in Chiang mai we booked a jungle trek tour . Firstly we visited the a hill tribe village called the long necks , where basically the women have copper coils around there necks to protect them from tigers in the jungle. This also means it extends there neck over time, very interesting but the whole thing seemed a bit staged. Next off to elephant trekking , or should i say elephant sitting! We basically sat on an elephant whilst it ate and ate and then went two minutes around the corner and back again.......thrilling! Next we went trekking to a waterfall with a very funny father and son combo from the states called George and Eddie , we trekked for about an hour to a waterfall and trekked back again. Eddie found it very hard to stay upright on the trek and earned himself the nick name 'unsteady Eddie' . The final part of the tour was white water rafting, this was great fun especially with unsteady Eddie at the helm of the raft who kept getting the instructions completely wrong. At the end of tour we were supposed to head down the river on a bamboo raft back to the bus. However our raft sunk and we were basically completely submerged in the river with snakes and all sorts , very very funny.

On the second night we hit the weekend market , well actually we just missed the weekend market as i got the wrong road and we basically looked around the tail end. Chiang mai saw the advent of eating from street vender's , we probably spent a little over 10 on food during the five days there, by eating rice dishes from food vendors . A full meal and water would cost about 40 pence each , delicious and a bargain!!!

With heavy heart we checked out the next day to head to a jungle resort not far from town . A strange quirky little place where our room was built around a tree and we were the only guests, hmmm..... maybe i got this one a bit wrong! There was bunny rabbits everywhere and i found myself strangely drawn to them in a Lenny from 'of mice and men' way . "i wanna tend to the rabbits jenny ..can i ? can i tend to the rabbits". We spent the rest of that day catching up on e-mails , calls and blogging. At night we went to the night bazaar which had every souvenir and counterfeit item you could think of , busy , noisy and fun!


The next day we thought we would try a bit of zorbing . Zorbing is basically where you get strapped into an inflatable ball and hurled down a hill into water. To get into the ball you had to take a running jump through a little hole. Surprisingly i managed to do this without any damage, however, poor Jen hesitated in her run up and didn't have enough momentum and ended getting wedged by the bum. With a sharp tug we were both inside our little hamster ball. It was kind of like being in a washing machine. We hit the water where you have to unstrap yourself and roll the ball back to land. I came out feet first and almost ended up in the water!! So, following my near miss with the water Jen went head first, but without a solid surface to push off from within the ball she got a bit wedged again. It took three of us to pull her out by her arms in a scene reminiscent of a calf being born, with a slap her legs hit the floor and she was freed from her rubber prison! Now at this point i will point out that the hole is tiny and it was my poor advice that led to the second wedging! The next leg of our days adventure was a bit surreal. We went to Tiger kingdom, this is where you get to pet full grown tigers . We entered the cage to the most docile beasts you have ever seen (well, apart from Jenny in any moving vehicle!). Completely asleep and doped up the the eye balls , they did nothing but sleep. We felt slightly guilty as we posed with pot head tigers, but we got great shots! No, seriously it did seem a bit cruel and it was clear that they were sedated to some degree, but they seemed well treated and clean. Later that night we went to a Thai boxing 'muay Thai' which was as rigged as WWF wrestling with the under dog alway winning after tourist money had been taken on the fighter clearly winning the fight. We stayed for a few drinks and watched the old men and the young thai's (creepy), and Jenny experienced her first local beer 'Chang' at 6.7% she was gone after 2 bottles!


Our last day in chiang mai was spent roaming the streets and doing some shopping. We were heading back to get some food before another over night bus back to bangkok when i get one of my sinking feelings........... "I'm sure i was carrying a camera earlier" With a glance at jenny, i blurted out " Where's the camera" and at that point took off down the street before I'd even decided where i was going. I wasn't sure if i was running from jenny or to the camera , a bit of both i suppose. In transit i had realised the last place i had the camera was at a cafe about 100 meters around the corner, now i do not know if there is a world record for the 100 meter dash in flip flops, but i must of been mighty close if there is one . Luckily the camera was still on the table ...phew!!!!

Chiang Mai is a beautiful part of Thailand full of culture , amazing jungle , friendly colourful people and delicious food . We really enjoyed our time there and would not think of going back to Thailand without a visit , its also a lot cheaper than in the south and in our opinion the people are much friendlier . The temperature is quite hot but without the unbearable humidity. We were sad to leave chiang mai , but its back off to bangkok!!!
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dad on

if you loose any more cards you will have to start selling your body martina !

distant_places on

OMG Martin!! So funny - cracked up all the way through this post! Glad you managed to sort out your financial affairs [Abercrombie & Fitch?!! haha - probably buying himself a Hurricane Mountain vintage...] and we shall expect a full demonstration of the Thai cooking when you get back - no more 5 hour ducks for you two until we do ;o)
Stay safe - looking forward to the photos - hope there's one of you doing the 100 Meter Flip Flop Dash?
lots of love
S and Dad



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