Marc & Nora ROUND THE WORLD 2005/2006 - Join us!

Thailand-Travelogue  |  Travel time: September 2005 - July 2006  |  by marc and nora L.

THAILAND: CHIANG MAI

(Nora writes) hey everybody! we arrived in chiang mai.
had a great train journey in an overnight sleeper (air condition) - it took 12 hours from Ayutthaya where we had stopped first.
but let's start at the beginning:

18th September 2005:
after having enjoyed bangkok and its smelly air, screaming tuc tuc and crazy taxi drivers 4 long days we decided it was time to move on.
originally we have planned to fly to cambodia to see angkor wat but the flight was too expensive and the overland journey is simply a nightmare with border crossing, visa etc, therefore we skipped it.

we decided to go to chiang mai for some trekking and an authentic thai cooking course.
we set off in the morning to ayutthaya, the former capital of thailand. the train fare in 3rd class was so expensive!!! 15 baht/person (= 22 pence)(30 cents) for a 1,5 hour journey.

ayutthaya is a very clean (at least compared to bangkok) and green city - we saw a lot of thais jogging in the park. the wats are amazing...you can hardly imagine how huge the former palaces must have been...

Some old temples (CAN'T REMEMBER NAME)in Ayutthaya

Some old temples (CAN'T REMEMBER NAME)in Ayutthaya

it was also nice to see the temples at night time as they are all lit up...

...at 9pm we continued our way to chiang mai. my god, the train was so funny.

marc and i both had upper beds. the train was really comfortable and for anyone who wants to know really safe! (an armed guard walks around all the time)

the best part was the restaurant in the train...it was lit up in all different colours with disco-lights and loud music...it must be weird being outside in the countryside and a green, red, pink, blue flashing train with loud music passes by...

That is a smile of hysteria at the thought of a 14hr train journey squashed in that bed!

That is a smile of hysteria at the thought of a 14hr train journey squashed in that bed!

after a drink we went to bed -- and slept until the morning. in the morning the beds are stowed away and you can sit downstairs having coffee and so on.
a really good thing to do - we highly recommend it. the fare 2nd class air con was only 650 baht/person, hence 10 pounds!!! (15 euros) - for a 12-13 hour train ride!!!

19th September 2005

So we arrived in chiang mai today - immediately at the train station we got chatted up by tuc tuc drivers and brought to Lanna house where we stay in a pretty basic (as basic as it can get i guess but clean, naja!) room with en-suite bath room for 120 baht/night (per room!) (1.80 pounds, so 90 pence each) (2.60 euro pro zimmer- also 1.30 pro kopf und nase)

our "posh" room at ladyboy Julie's... believe it or not> this is the only place where we did not see any cockroach - maybe it was even too basic for them...

our "posh" room at ladyboy Julie's... believe it or not> this is the only place where we did not see any cockroach - maybe it was even too basic for them...

we also booked a trek for tomorrow but it is currently pissing down(englischer ausdruck fuer "es regnet sehr stark!!" - i have never seen so strong rain in such a short period of time - everything is flooded!!! so we are not too sure whether we want to go....our new outdoor shoes are NOT water proof and we dont really fancy stepping into knee-high mud! but if we cancel we lose 50% of our money...

well, we ll let u know in a few days when we ll update our report...
...we will also go to chiang rai for some sightseeing and to visit the golden triangle (burma, laos and thailand) and the long neck hill tribe...

then we ll improve our cooking skills (well at least i am as marc is a pro anyway..) with a thai cooking course.

will let u know how everything went in a few days time!

20th September 2005

as mentioned before it was raining like hell - so we decided to cancel the trekking. our land'lady' JULIE, which in reality was a very bad result of sex change - hence a ladyboy - was very upset and started screaming at us... in the end we only received half our our money back for this trip - but we'd both rather lose 10 pounds than walking around in mud for 48 hours...

instead we spent a day in chiang mai, hired a scooter and went up to don suthep temple which was nice (the same we have been to karin)

another thing we saw (which was't that nice) was that a whole part of chiang mai was flooded because of the heavy rainfalls in the north...the river ping which goes through chiang mai went over its banks and hundreds of people have lost their homes. the night bazar which is probably the most famous attraction in chiang mai was closed down as the streets had more than 1m of water...really terrible...the more water we saw the better we felt about our decision NOT to go trekking.

The River Pai has burst its banks in Chiang Mai.The small white balls are actually the top of street lamps!!!

The River Pai has burst its banks in Chiang Mai.The small white balls are actually the top of street lamps!!!

the next day we took a tour to chiang rai to see the golden triangle. What a disappointment! first of all the trip out of the city took more than 2 hours due to the fact that most roads were closed as they were flooded. our great trip involved a few hours minivan drive then a great 15 minutes stop at some hot spas...which was simply a muddy car park with a smelly pond in the back...

then a few more hours bus ride then another stop at the myanmar border where there is nothing except market stalls that sell bad replicas of prada handbags, rolex watches etc etc.

then again bus ride to a restaurant for some lunch. it just happened to be next to a jewellery store and what a surprise that we had to take the exit located within this store on our way out...

then again a few hours bus ride and then we arrived at the great golden triangle. good that there is a sign which says golden triangle otherwise u would not notice. opposite the river is laos, on the left myanmar and we were stood on thai soil. how exciting! the big buddha image one kilometer further up was the biggest attraction so far!

The only thing worth seeing at the "wonderful" golden triangle...

The only thing worth seeing at the "wonderful" golden triangle...

we had 25 minutes time to stretch our legs before the journey continued...

...we were heading back home...

...the road we took was rather scary as it was a very curvy mountain road which lasted for approx. 60 km (!!!) whoever has been to thailand will know that thai drivers love to overtake just before or even in a curve...NICE!!!

we saw a bad accident as well - a lorry driver has crashed into a pick-up truck with people sat on the back...but not even this incident made our driver change his driving style...

...on our way back we visited the long neck hill tribe people - which i personally considered to be the only good part of this trip. it was really strange to see this women with the heavy golden rings around their necks...we felt bad taking pictures as we just felt sorry for them...

our group consisted of 2 belgian guys, 2 ozzie-women and a canadian girl. the 2 ozzies had their rucksacks packed with little koala bears and baloons which they distributed to the hill tribe kids...the fun the children had with those pressies is hard to describe...it was somehow overwhelming to see how little it takes to make kids so happy...

Poor Long Neck women put on show for the bloody tourists (like us)

Poor Long Neck women put on show for the bloody tourists (like us)

At least the kids were happy

At least the kids were happy

The beautiful scenery of Northern Thailand..

The beautiful scenery of Northern Thailand..

we got back to chiang mai at 10pm! (we were picked up at 7am already, so a really long day)!

to anyone who plans to do the same> DONT DO IT! it is simply not worth it. you literally sit 11-12 hours in the car and the golden triangle is really a disappointment. it is much better to do the hill tribe village only which is located just 2-3 hours outside of chiang mai. or you go to mae hong song village instead where you can also see some long neck women.

we decided to leave chiang mai the next evening and head south. our original plan to fly to bangkok was replaced by taking the overnight train instead. the flight would have cost 1300 baht and the train was 600 baht. the difference of 700 baht is only 10 pounds (15 euros) and it might be difficult for you at home to understand how we can be so tight and rather do the 14 hours train ride than the 1 hour flight. let us explain>

everything in thailand is bloody cheap compared to europe. but it doesnt make sense to convert every baht into pound or euro...once you live here you have to figure out how much you can afford more by saving a little bit. the 700 baht difference for example is a 3 night accomodation in a basic hut - which again, if you split that up between us both - is 6 nights then...

that is how you have to think! so if 2 bungalow prices are presented to us, 200 baht for fan and 400 baht for air con and marc is about to take the 'posh' one as it is only 1.50 pounds more per person (2 euros) nora says 'NO' as it is a meal for us or another night!!!

the last day in chiang mai was great! we did a thai cooking course!!! it was great fun! something we would highly recommend everybody coming to chiang mai!!! we cooked jasmine and sticky rice, pad thai, green chicken and fish ball curry, som tam (papaya salad), spicy minced chicken salad, tom yan gung soup (spicy prawn soup with lemon grass) and water chestnuts with coconut milk...

mmm....yummy!

1st Step: Visit to the local market to buy ingredients & learn about thai herbs and spices

1st Step: Visit to the local market to buy ingredients & learn about thai herbs and spices

Step 2: In the kitchen looking cheesy....we were forced to smile this way as they said it wouldn't taste good otherwise..

Step 2: In the kitchen looking cheesy....we were forced to smile this way as they said it wouldn't taste good otherwise..

Step 3: The finished Product - Thai Green Curry...Marc's was the best...obviously!!

Step 3: The finished Product - Thai Green Curry...Marc's was the best...obviously!!

REMARK: for the next 3 months we will be on the website of ban thai cooking...so if u wanna check out a few more photos then look at the website www.cookinthai.com and select the 22nd of September 2005 from the photo gallery.

we had a few more hours to kill after the cooking course so we ended up playing table tennis against a monk and a bakery chef...

when we got back to the train station at 7pm to take our 7:15pm train we found out that we both got confused with the times and our train was not departing until 10pm. so we headed back to the city centre which was not too far and believe it or not the night bazar was open! dont ask us how but the streets that were under water the previous day were completely dry and the only evidence of a flooding were stacked up sandbags...

at the night bazar we also met michele, a italian-swiss guy living in london who also stayed at the ladyboy guesthouse and he told us that the people who went on the trek had returned and said that both the bamboo rafting and the white water rafting have been cancelled due to high water in the river...which again confirmed that we didnt miss that much...

the train journey back was alright - had fan only this time. the train was 3,5 hours delayed so we only had 4 hours time in bangkok before catching the next overnight train to surrathani...

© marc and nora L., 2005
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The trip
 
Description:
Hello - 5 more days!!! On the 12th of September we are setting off! Our plan is to travel round the world for a period of 10 months. 1st stop: Thailand (1 month) and cambodia 2nd stop: Via Singapore (overland) to Australia where we plan to stay for approximately 4-5 months. 3rd stop: New Zealand (2 months) (north and south island) 4th stop: South America (approx. 3 months) (Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and if time and money allows we might visit costa rica)
Details:
Start of journey: Sep 12, 2005
Duration: 11 months
End of journey: Jul 31, 2006
Travelled countries: world-wide
United Kingdom
Thailand
Malaysia
Cambodia
Singapore
Australia
Australia & Pacific
New Zealand
South America
Chile
Argentina
Bolivia
Peru
Ecuador
Canada
The Author
 
marc and nora L. is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 15 years.
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