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Mark's World Tour 2007-08

Day 107: Sukhothai to Chiang Mai

THAILAND | Wednesday, 20 February 2008 | Views [2428]

Wednesday 20th February

The process of packing my bags and checking out of the many rooms I have stayed in has become so routine that it almost becomes automatic. After a while, you come across a system that works well: everything has it's place and it gets put there every time you pack it up again, making the job fairly straightforward. I took a tuk-tuk to the bus station, and got a ticket for the 12.00 but to Chiang Mai.

As I moved further north, I could see the countryside changing slightly, with more hills and forests making up the majority of the landscape. As Thailand is generally tropical, the climate only seems to vary between warm and roasting, and, to me, it feels like summertime all the time. However, as we approached Chiang Mai, it felt like summer had at one stage started to change to autumn, but suddenly stopped a few days in, so that, although some of the leaves on the trees had changed colour or fallen off, it was still quite warm and sunny. The overall effect was very nice, and it made a change from the all out heat in the south of the country.

I got to Chiang Mai at 17.00 and checked into the 'Supreme House' guesthouse, run by a Scottish guy called Gordon, who had also spent time living in Belfast. It seemed to be a relaxed place, on a quiet side-street (or soi, as they are called in Thai), and my room with a small bathroom was good value at 180B. It wasn't long before I was out and about, and my first task was to book myself onto a cookery course, having heard that Chiang Mai offered some highly recommended schools. I signed up for a day long course at the Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School, run by Thailand's very own celebrity chef, who has appeared on British TV several times. It seemed like a slick enough operation, and the menu that we would cook the following day seemed to deviate slightly from the usual pad thai-green curry-spring roll standard that was offered by some of the other places. It cost about 15 quid, so good value too.

Chiang Mai is also a popular place to do trekking, but I decided to leave this for the less busy areas of northern Laos, which I was planning on hitting a few days later. My intention was to hang around Chiang Mai for no longer than a few days, and then move eastwards towards the Thai-Laos border. The sooner I got to Laos, the more time I would have to enjoy this more remote country, and to leave myself with a few weeks to manage the more demanding nature of travel in a place with less developed infrastructures than the modern Thailand.  

I spent the evening wandering about the town – OK, I admit it, I got lost! - and passed through some of the markets which were hives of activity, and selling a lot of the local produce, including rows and rows of flower stalls. I took a long, unplanned detour back to the guesthouse, but the exercise was good and it put me in the mood for sleep.         

Tags: On the Road


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