Flying high in Chiang Mai

Trip Start Oct 15, 2013
Trip End Apr 15, 2014

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Flag of Thailand  , Chiang Mai,
Friday, January 3, 2014

We are now in Chiang Mai, which is in the North. We were due to be in Koh Sok for our next stop, but after getting sick, we couldn't face the 6 hour bus ride, so took the hit and sacked it off, which is a shame as we had booked (and had to pay for) three nights staying in a tree house in the middle of the rainforest, but I'm sure we will get another opportunity down the line somewhere.

We got a flight here, which took 2 hours, no inflight meal (how on earth did we survive?!) and got a taxi to hotel. We had to book a hotel as all the hostels were booked up. This is a backpackers haven, there are a bizillion hostels and they were all bloody full for NYE! The hotel we booked was the last cheap one in central Chiang Mai, so we were lucky there, and as it turns out, it was in a really good location, and was pretty nice. As we got near in the taxi, we passed loads of people letting off lanterns, and I defy anyone (no matter how much you care about the environment) to not do a smile, even if it's only on the inside, when you see someone let off a lantern. For me, my reaction is a lot less subdued, the 7 year old in me prevails and I get all excited and shouty. As soon as I got to Chiang Mai, I knew I would love it, and I do! It's so nice, for my Bristol readers, it's like Stokes Croft, but hotter, and less squatters, for my other readers, it's very boho, everyone is chilled out, and it's just really lovely.

As we got here quite late on our first night (which was New Years Eve Eve) we had a wander round what we thought was a night market, but turned out to be a street fair for the run up to New Years Eve, and then headed back as we are still recovering for that faithful night.

The next day, we set out for a bit of sight seeing, and went to the main temple, which is one of many, many, temples around the place. As we wandered round, we heard fireworks go off, and as we looked at the sky, my inside 7 year old got even more excited and shouty- not only was it a lantern, but it was shaped like a balloon, with a firework on it, and it dropped glitter and little polystyrene planes that floated down letting off coloured smoke like the Red Arrows. Be still me beating heart! It was like all my Christmases had come at once, and I had actually got presents this time!

That evening, we had a little disco nap as we still weren't 100%, and then got ready to go out for the evening. Our hotel room has a corner bath, which as it turns out is one of the most impractical washing facilities man has invented yet- style over 'tub'stance! Nath is too long for it, so he has to sit on the little seat thing that's incorporated and have a 'sit down shower'- that's as lame as it sounds. I gave that a go, and about 5 seconds in decided that wasn't for me, so squeezed in the bath, and tried to wait for it to fill up as I was already in there. That also is as lame as it sounds, sitting there for forever, waiting for the bugger to fill up, it took so long, some of my body went wrinkly when other parts were still dry! We got ready, and headed for the town square which was only 10 minutes from our hotel. To get to town, you can go down many different streets, but the easiest was a lane which we named 'Pedo Street' but 'Where dreams go to die Avenue' or 'That made me do a sick in my mouth Lane' would also apply. We saw a lot of Thai brides in Bangkok, which I can't make my mind up about, but hope that both are happy and respected in their arrangement. This street however, was where all the '(S)ex-Pats' hang out, disgusting perverted old men draping themselves over young girls who are possibly in their mid to late teens, but have the body of an 11 year old. This makes me sick to my stomach and my heart bleeds for these poor girls and yet again reminds me that I lucked out on life's lottery. Anyway, we went to town (I reframed from giving these cretins a piece of my mind, in the hope they lie awake at night and consider their actions) and stopped by a temple to let off a lantern, which was really good fun. There was a monk going round helping people light them, there was music and prayers going on, and it was such a good atmosphere. We tried to take pictures, but this is a hard task as the light is too tricky for my point and shoot, and the lanterns move quite quickly. After that, we went and got some food, which was plain rice- exciting I know, and wandered the night festival market streets. There was a main stage with singing acts on it, but it was all in Thai and we didn't know the songs. We decided to let another lantern off in the area where most people had gathered to also do so. This again was a great atmosphere, but inevitably a lit lantern went into a power line, and when I say power line, I mean a power line, with maybe 40 other power lines added to it to tap off the power- this was not safe! I was sure it was going to blow up, and pushed through the crowd to try and get away, there was a loud bang and I think for a moment, my heart stopped. When I looked over, convinced I was going to see bloody everywhere, nobody had battered an eyelid, someone had lit some fireworks on the floor (yep, that's as safe as it sounds in a crowd) and the lantern had burned out. We lived to travel another day. When the countdown came, we counted down, and watched the fireworks, which were all around us, Asia loves a bang and a flash, and so do we! Everyone was still letting off lanterns, which by now had filled the sky and looked like a constellation- they were so beautiful, thousands of yellow glowing spots in the sky. We called it a night as neither of us were drinking, and watched more fireworks from our hotel.

The new year started with a video call to my darling friend Ilse, as we are 7 hour ahead, I was sure she would still be up, and this is the first NYE we have spent apart for the nearly 4 years we have known and loved each other. She was at a house party with our other friend Lucy (hi ladies xxx) and both had enjoyed a drink or 7. The best part about speaking to them, was Lucy showing me the cheese she had found in her handbag, a block of stinky Stilton she had pilfered from the house party above- this made me miss my friends!

We phaffed about in the day, and then hit the night bazaar, which is a couple of streets packed with little stalls selling the same sort of things- harem pants, tops with the same designs and knock off watches. We did find a couple of fairground type stalls, one being a BB gun shooting range. Now, I am really against guns, you don't have to shoot a vegetable to eat it, so don't shoot other things to eat them either- let's just all get along?! I thought I would give it ago for one reason- I think you should have all skills necessary for a zombie apocalypse, and I would say blowing heads off would be a top skills- and it turns out I wasn't such a bad shot! I also consider being able to swim one too, so that is spurring me on, but let's not discuss the possibility of zombie sharks.

We moved to a hostel which is about 5 minutes from our original hotel, which is £3 a night- for a reason! It has an en suite, you could call it a wet room- as it's a small tiled room with a toilet, sink, a 70's electric shower and a drain in the corner.

After that, we went on a quest to find the Art in Paradise, which is an optical illusions museum. Nath flagged down a tuk tuk, and pointed on the map where we wanted to go, which turned out to be the completely wrong place, but riding round in a Tuk Tuk is a good way to see a place, so we weren't bothered at all, it's actually very therapeutic. The museum was great! Loads of good clean fun, the pictures speak for themselves so I will let them do the talking.

The next day, we had a lie in and then went looking for something to occupy us. This ended up being a tuk tuk tour of more temples. We are pretty templed out now, once you have seen a couple, our have seen them all. After that, we went to a bar and read our books, which we had bought from a second hand book shop near our hostel.

Today, we went on a zip lining trip, which was in the rain forest about an hours drive from the town centre. We got picked up in a people carrier, which already had a very nice couple in, we got chatting and they were on their honeymoon. He was Italian, she was French, and they were walking, talking stereotypes, which made me miss Raymond Blanc- the king of all TV chefs (especially Nigela who is a jezzi) and pizza, the king of food. It transpired they were actually on the wrong tour and got taken back to their hotel, which was a shame. When we got there, we were put in a group of 8, 2 of us and 6 Chinese people.

We spent the day zipping from treetop to treetop, it was great fun and I was in my element! You can keep you stupid water and your stupid swimming, I was born to be at great hight, jumping off stuff, onto other stuff to jump off. There were about 30 zip lines that stretched from platforms in the trees, about 20 meters above the jungle floor. There were also rope bridges and two abseils in the mix, which Nath wasn't a big fan off, but I did resist making the bridge wobble as he was crossing- most of the time (grown up skill exercise). As soon as I was attached to the zip line, I took running jumps off the platforms, swinging round and giving myself face ache from smiling too much. The last abseil was the biggest and the last activity on the agenda, I ended going last so Nath could film me going down, you got harnessed up, then had to dangle in a hole in the platform for the instructors to lower you down. Most of the people in front of us didn't like doing the dangle bit because you can see how far down it is, and it feels alien to just hang there- this wasn't a problem for me! When I said I was ready, they lowered me down through the hole, and this is where they were meant to let you drop- but they left me hanging the like a fly on a sticky strip, trying to scare me, but I was fine, so they dropped me quickly and swung me out- which I loved! The people waiting below were a bit unnerved but I laughed all the way down. I got to the bottom and camera in hand Nath said 'yeah, I didn't get that, you'll have to do it again'

Thought of the day- yesterday was the 3 year anniversary of the passing of our friend Phil Bristol Wilson. PBW - three years have slipped passed but you are always on our minds and always in our hearts. Rest in peace darling.
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jane welch on

Hay there you two, I Loveeeeeeee... reading you blogs, and your most recent photos are fantastics, all our love Happy New Year and lots of love to you both, Barrie & Jane xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Silver Surfer Bristol on

I love this blog, it is iwell observed and entertaining. The photography is good too. I am now a dedicated follower!

auntie jane on

morning Honeys

This link was in the daily mail today !!!

Hope you are ok

Lots of love auntie jane xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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