After going to sleep on the train in the bustling city of Bangkok, we awoke in the countryside of Northern Thailand on the way to Chiang Mai. The second biggest city in Thailand, it is a bit of a tourist / backpacking mecca and, thankfully, a little less frantic than the capital.
The train turned out to be running a couple of hours late. John had ordered breakfast the night before on the train and I had decided not to. He was delighted to be handed congee and fruit which would keep us going till we arrived.
Once breakfast was finished, the guards came and removed the beds to make seats (check out the video on the man in seat 61 of the beds being removed). The windows were down which meant you could enjoy the scenery.
John hung out the window to take some good pictures, including this one of a backpacker brushing his teeth out of the train.
It was good to get out of the heat in Bangkok, however it was still pretty hot on the train.
We jumped on a songthaew (small taxis / van) to get to the hostel. We had booked to stay at the Green Tulip hostel in the north of the city but still within the city walls.
After checking in, we explored the small city. The city walls had been built in a square shape which meant that it was pretty hard to get lost.
We decided to book some activities from the hostel, who’s prices for the tours were really really cheap, a few hundred baht cheaper in fact compared with some of the tour agencies we visited this afternoon. We decided to go on a cookery course, and then trekking for a couple of days to an elephant camp – the two most popular backpacker activities!
In the evening, we headed to the night market west of the of the city walls. The area is where more of the upmarket hotels are located. Most of the market was for tourists with stalls selling similar products to the ones in the Chatuchak market in Bangkok. Some of the restaurants were on the more expensive side, but we found a small area with stalls and stools for a really cheap meal – 60 baht for two meals!