Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Trip Start Jan 23, 2013
Trip End Jul 23, 2013

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Flag of Thailand  , Chiang Mai,
Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I woke early and went to breakfast alone in the restaurant car, which resembled a shabby transport cafe, and had coffee, biscuits and apple slices. Feeling a little lonely I decided to wake Terry at 7:30. I couldn't believe it when he said he could have slept for longer!

We both spent the remaining 7 hours of the train journey in the open window restaurant car enjoying the changing scenery of jungle, remote villages, plains covered in rice paddies and mountains and valleys. All in all, a long but pleasant experience.

On arrival at Chiang Mai station (due to arrive at 13:05, actual arrival 15:25) we wandered along to Tourist Information to get an idea of how much to pay for a taxi to our Holiday Garden Hotel, and were quoted 150B (£3). The so called 'official' called over a sour looking, disinterested guy who led us out of the station and opened up the back of his improvised Sorngtaaou (pick-up with benches and a roof). As we drove off Terry noticed he kept looking at a map; he had a good idea of the route and location because he had checked it out on the Internet previously. All was fine until we made a sudden left turn into the middle of a ghetto. Terry said to me" This is not right, I think we're about to get screwed over!". The driver stopped in the middle of a remote urban area, got out and wandered around the back and let the back door down. Terry said 'this is not the hotel' and pointed out the hotel location on the other side of town. The driver shook his head and said ' oh, long way, need 250B (£5)'. Terry said "No, official said 150B and we are not paying anymore' The driver shut the back, got back in and drove on. About ten minutes later he stopped again and he got out to let us out. Terry said again "this is not our hotel" but it was - embarrassing.

On arrival the Hotel looked gleaming, the reception area very plush; granite floors and walls and expensive looking furniture. We had prebooked 2 nights in the Superior Tower Suite and were given room 742 on the 7th floor. The room had a huge bed; TV; mini bar and a nice view over the city, we were pleased. Although we were knackered it seemed to early to go to bed so we both had showers and freshened up in the hotel, then walked towards the city. We hailed a Sorngtaaou to the city centre for 50B (£1).

After walking past several small restaurants we ended up in an excellent bar where we had a couple of beers, some spring rolls, a Green Curry & Chicken Fried Rice, all for 235B (£4.70). It was the best Green Curry I had ever tasted and Terry's Chicken Fried Rice was excellent too. We both felt stuffed so decided to try to walk it back to the Hotel, but after an hour or so of meandering around the little lanes of the Old City, popping in and out of boutiques and art stalls, we felt worn out, so jumped in another Sorngtaaou back to the Hotel.
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