Existing Member?

4Hands1World Touring the world, one massage at a time.

Chiang Mai

THAILAND | Monday, 3 November 2014 | Views [347]

Thai silk

Thai silk

Ok!  Let's get caught up. Halloween found us bound for Chiang Mai on the overnight train.  Train #13, as it turned out, which we thought was pretty cool for the holiday. I wore a string of light-up pumpkin beads for my costume. We got to the train station pretty early, not knowing what to expect, and we're told to go to Platform #3. Our tickets said "Car 2, berths 17 and 18," so we walked along the length of the train attempting to identify which car was ours. After a little while, it became clear that there was most definitely not a Car 2.  We kept being pointed down the tracks, "Go there, go there!"  Nope. Finally we found out that the other part of the train just hadn't arrived yet. When some more cars barreled down toward our train and slammed into it, we ran to see. And there was the Car 2!  We had been joking through hilarious language barrier with a German couple that we were all going to have to run after the train all the way to Chiang Mai if our car didn't appear. 

On board the train, the attendants come around to make up the bunks. The seating area becomes the lower bunk. The upper bunk is created by pulling down what look like large overhead bins on an airplane. There's a mattress/mat that is made up with fresh sheets, blanket, and pillow. Curtains are hung for both the upper and lower bunks for privacy from people walking by in the aisle. Down at the end of each car are two small lavatories, a bit larger than the ones on an airplane. One has a toilet, the other is a squat toilet with foot places and a hole. Both types of toilet seem to open directly onto the tracks below, and therefore it is bad form to use the facilities while stopped at a station. Using either type is quite challenging while the train rocks and clatters down the tracks. I slept quite well, listening to the clickety-clack and being rocked to sleep. 

We woke to the sun starting to rise over the countryside, as the train passed through villages, jungley trees, and rice fields. Finally arrived in Chiang Mai about 10:00 am, about a twelve-hour journey. We will return to Bangkok on this train in about three weeks, though this time we will have a private cabin, which will be a different experience.

From the train station to our guesthouse, we took a truck-type tuk-tuk sort of like a pickup truck with a canopy and two bench type seats in the back. Our driver was really friendly and wanted to take us on tours of Chiang Mai and of the silk factory, celadon stores, etc. It actually seemed really reasonable and interesting, so we agreed to go the next morning. after checking into the guesthouse and meeting the proprietor, we decided to go on a recon mission. We walked the ten-minute route to the Sunshine Massage School, where we will start classes in Thai Massage on Monday. Then decided to walk back toward the old city to see what we could see. Super hot day!! Coupled with not eating breakfast or lunc, I got a bit of heat stroke, and Aaron dragged me (almost literally) into a little cafe called the Hideaway, down a side street from the east gate. After drinking a giant fruit smoothie and eating a delicious bagel/bacon situation, I finally regained my mental powers, and we had a great conversation with the owner, Sammy, who shared some delicious special dates with us from the Middle East. Yum!!

Today was a big shopping day, which we keep saying "ok, no more..." But there were a few things that we wanted to find while we were here, and everything is so beautiful.  It's hard to resist. we came back to the guesthouse with a couple of bags today. Walking in, we hear music from the restaurant/bar area near the river. The owners had told us there is live music some Sunday afternoons. We didn't think much of it at the time, but the musicians were amazing!! I've paid good money to hear less talented performances. This was free. We ended up meeting several people from all over the world and John from California who went to Ballard High school in Seattle. He's now lived all over the world, seems like, and we all had a great meeting. Aaron and I plan to bring our new massage school friends to the next Sunday Jam Session when it happens again in two weeks. I can't believe that this was happening right at the place that is our home for the next two and a half weeks. So so cool. 

And yet, there's more. We walked back into town to go see the Sunday walking market down one of the central main thoroughfares in the old walled square city. It just went on and on and on!! Vendors and artisans selling much higher quality stuff than we've often been seeing, so we picked up a couple of things. Going to dress like everyone who comes to Thailand now I suppose. But the pants are awesome for doing Thai massage in. Back to the guesthouse to read our homework assignment before class tomorrow!! Now the meat of the trip begins. 

Tags: chiang mai, music, night train, shopping

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.


 

 

Travel Answers about Thailand

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.