So crossing the border from laos into thailand is in fact done by little boats across the mekong river. And when you cross that river you don’t need immagration to tell you you’re in a new country. The place looks like a different land altogether,clean,modern,even tarmac roads and the first traffic lights we had seen since hong kong.. We were a bit dazed at first looking around at such civilisation. When we arrived in chiang mai our jaws dropped when we saw things like starbucks,boots and mcdonalds. The strange thing was we had grown so used to the way of life of vietnam and laos that this was a bit weird now. And we also realised there is so much more to life than these pleasures,we big city lads had come a long way..
We found a real gem of a guesthouse in chiang mai and there we met the woman with the know how who sorted all of our tours for us. And there were many. Thats what chiang mai is all about,activities. Of course we fit in going out at night around it. That first night bender was still with us and the 3 of us went to explore the chiang mai nightlife. The reggae district is apparentlythe place to be. God knows why,the people there were shit. We had a fair few beers and met 2 nice english girls who told us there was a club that stayed open til 4 am across the river. Savage – lets roll. What they didnt mention was that it was a predominantly asian club. Now we love the asians, but we felt a bit out of place. So we conducted some social experiments. Work it out..
The next day was a bit of a struggle to get up.. But we had some serious inspiration – tigers. We went to a place called the tiger kingdom where you get to lay down with tigers and play with the cubs. Elodie and camille had told us it was brilliant and the cats did not disappoint. Playing with a tiger cub is much more fun than playing with a regular cat, theres a thrill in the knowledge that though small and cute, they could easily maul you. We got about 4 million pictures and so many people at home have asked us to bring home some cubs. Believe me we tried. So on sunday we finally discovered chiang mai itself. Beautiful town,home to a big university and like laos beforehand – full of temples. So we got an excellent/painful thai massage,checked out some temples and started our shopping. We had heard bangkok was the place to be for good cheap clothes,we did most of ours in chiang mai,we were like girls in new york or paris. So we went back out that night and watched the football, then hit the reggae district.. Lo and behold we ended up back in the asian club. In fairness the asians do know how to party.
The next morning we struggled out of bed.. Again.. This time for a thai cooking course. So we met our chef and a group of us were brought to a market in the town to buy the ingredients. Nice touch. We headed to the kitchens and in 3 hours we gained the ability to impress many girls in the future with 7 thai dishes. The food was beautiful,particularly the green and red curries. And we of course got to eat it all. After more shopping and well needed rest,on tuesday morning we headed off on yet another trek. Our fitness levels were
returning and the drinking and fine dining was being cancelled out.
This trek involved so many activities although some better than others. The first was a trip to an orchid farm. Id say we were the youngest people there by about 35 years. And we would also appreciate
it in 35 years.. Not so much now. Then we went to a snake farm. Pretty impressive and having snakes around your neck is a laugh. For like a second. So we trekked for a fair old time,way up into the hills. The views into the winding valleys were immense as the sun set in the distance. We arrived in the tribal village and settled into our wooden huts. It was just like in Laos when we stayed in a tribal village only there were about 30 trekkers in this village which kind of spoiled it, we didnt feel like aliens as we did in laos. The accomodation was pretty sweet and the food was brilliant. Our tour group was a bit boring. Very boring. So many times we have found that people can make a place,particularly if those people are hot girls. So that night the local children put on a show for the visiting trekkers. They were dressed in colourful robes and we thought this would be a serious performance. It was basically a group of 6-9 year olds singing random notes and dancing as they pleased. Awful stuff but very funny at the same time.
Anyway our way back to chiang mai involved trekking,more elephant riding,white water rafting and bamboo rafting. The elephant riding was not enjoyable this time,the poor creatures were clearly miserable and our one kept roaring. Yes elephants can roar. When they get battered with a stick. Anyway the rafting was brilliant, that made up for the elephant concentration camp.
On our last day in chiang mai we did thai boxing. We got an hour lesson from an ex-pro and it was really cool,we learned all the main moves and needless to say i kicked diarmo’s ass. He’s all talk really! So that evening we got on another wonderful night bus.. Next stop – Bangkok.