12.05.2010 - 23.05.2010 35 °C
We decided to move on from Koh Samet after 5 of the laziest days just staring at clear blue seas and white sand, remembering that there was a whole lot more that Thailand had to offer. On the 13th May we made it to Rayong without the dramas and stress of the previous journey and then decided to break our journey back to Bangkok with a 3 night stay at the Rayong Beach Hotel where we managed to haggle a great deal on a double room with AC, en-suite bathroom, balcony and Tv. We haven't really ever haggled prices before but now it seems that is doesn't matter what it is or what it costs we just half it and see what price we get to from there! Its a bit of a pain when it takes 10 minutes to get a couple of quid off but it now seems to be about the challenge and is also a bit of fun. There was nothing at Rayong and the beach was covered in rubbish most of the time, not very pleasant, it was only that we got a bit of luxury for peanuts we stayed there. Caught the bus back to Bangkok Eastern Bus station on Sunday 16th and hopped straight into a taxi to get to the train station. We obviously were aware of the trouble in Bangkok and asked the taxi driver to give the area of the disturbances a wide berth. However, he hadn't seemed to understand our request and drove right past the burning and smoldering tyres and listening to gun shots cracking around the city. We obviously made it to Hua Lamphong train station and after a few hours of people watching we left Bangkok on the overnight train to Chiang Mai. After a reasonably comfortable 12 hour journey we arrived at Chiang Mai train station early on the 17th May to an ambush of taxi drivers all wanting our business. We felt famous for a moment as they all gathered around us wanting to take us to our destination while the Thai passengers had to wait patiently until we had negotiated a good price. Still so hot and sticky but gradually getting used to it, we arrived at the Chiang Mai Yha where the staff we so friendly and helpful they couldn't seem to do enough for you, perhaps they could smell our money! A visit to what was described to us as the best tourist attraction in Chiang Mai the next day. Not one of the many stunning and colourful Buddhist temples that are hidden in the old town but the Night Bazaar!!! A market that sprawls through roads and side streets with sellers that use many different tactics and offer special prices to make you part with your money. We did take in some of the temples, including the Wat Dio Suthep with its 300 steps, which were strikingly colourful but all to similar to us although undoubtedly more meaningful to Thai people. We also squeezed in a 2 day trek into the mountains to the north of Chiang Mai, taking in many waterfalls, scenery, a night at a tribal jungle village, an elephant ride and finally a bamboo rafting experience. Chiang Mai is a must for visitors to Thailand even more so with the trouble in Bangkok . There is always something to see and do even if you are constantly guarding against getting ripped off but then your not getting ripped off too much when you have converted back to pounds. 6 nights in Chiang Mai and we are off down south on the 23rd May for our final week in Thailand. Not sure where yet though!!!