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Travelling North and nausea

THAILAND | Wednesday, 22 February 2017 | Views [571]

Our day train to Chiang Mai.
Bangkok, Thailand.

Our day train to Chiang Mai. Bangkok, Thailand.

So the day had come for us to leave Bangkok and head North to Chiang Mai. We had done a bit of research about transport options and although flying seemed to be the quickest, the train was the cheapest. We decided we had the time and 'when in Rome', it was time for some proper backpacking experiences.
We booked the train journey, all 11 hours of it, for a grand total of £12 each. We had no idea what to expect and had heard all sorts of horror stories! People seemed to favour the sleeper trains (overnight) to the day train which we had booked.
We arrived at the station and stocked up on a few snacks we knew we liked, just in case. We boarded and found our seats easily, the train was full but it was all seat allocated so it wasn't crowded.
We were amazed. The seats were comfortable, reclinable and had plenty of leg room. There was adequate overhead storage for bags (better than trains in the uk). Each carriage had an attendant and we were regularly served hot and cold drinks,tea, coffee, water, fruit juice, coke, sprite ect, free of charge. They gave us an interesting custard/fruit filled pastry roll about an hour in, with a 'meal' of rice, curried chicken (this was not any form of chicken I've ever experienced before) and tinned fish about half way in to the journey. The snacks we had bought came in handy.
The train travelled through some truly breathtaking country side and some very humbling township type areas. If nothing else this train provided perspective on things we take so easily for granted in the Western world. 11 hours went by relatively quickly, I do wonder what the people who had written the horror stories expected. We were well looked after and more than comfortable the whole journey (helped along by some downloaded tv programmes and books) and would recommend it to anyone.
We arrived in Chiang Mai and you can't go wrong with taxis and tuk-tuks. In hindsight we should of walked a little further from the station but we were tired and wanted to get settled in our hostel. We shared a red taxi bus with 2 other couples and headed to the city. When we started turning down the tiniest of back streets, some in complete darkness, we began to wonder what we had got ourselves into! We pulled up at a small row of 'shop' fronts. One was a sort of make shift 7-eleven, the other was a dingy restaurant, and sandwiched in the middle was our hostel.
We got the warmest welcome from a little Thai lady with a huge smile, who giggled after everything she said. We got our room key and headed up to settle in. The room was on a little veranda that overlooked the communal area downstairs and the floor was wobbly... I fully expected to wake up one morning on the reception desk or some other backpackers breakfast table!
The room had a mesh covered 'window' with no glass, it was dark, grubby and the bedding was 2 fleecy throws. Interesting. Over the next 3 nights we were eaten alive by mosquitoes, kept awake but the local street dogs and cats, and given a wake up call at around 6:30 each morning by the happy Thai lady and her sister starting their day with a very LOUD chat over coffee. But, on the plus side, we got breakfast of egg and toast each morning and an evening meal or authentic Thai food, for free!
From here we booked a cookery class and the other half was SUPER excited. The day before the class we took a walk into the old city. A section of Chiang Mai encased inside a huge, historic, ruin wall, surrounded by a 'moat'. The roads near certain 'gate' entries are manic but if you walk a short distance you can generally find somewhere to cross and enter. We soon realised the majority of inside the wall is temples with some shops and restaurants, lots of culture and history and plenty to see.
That night we headed in a different direction to explore. We came across a street of bars, diners, street vendors and decided to have a drink. We sat at a bar and soon discovered the owner was British. He had been living in Thailand for the past 16 years and hadn't been back to the UK in the past 9!!! The majority of people drinking in there where British ex-pats so we got lots of advice on where to go and what to do! Because we got chatting, a couple of beers turned in to A LOT of beers and we strolled home to our mosquito ridden mattress....
The next morning we were up early to be picked up for our cooking school. Hubby was very excited, I on the other hand, felt sick!! We jumped in the back of the taxi van that came to collect us and headed out to the food market.
We lasted approximately 30 minutes.
I wasn't feeling as bad as I had earlier, and I was replenishing my water levels quickly, but the husband took a sharp turn! His face turned from peach to green before he had finished saying"I don't feel too good."
We had to ask could we rebook our class and we quickly jumped in a tuk-tuk back to the hostel.
Being sick on this trip is inevitable so it didn't cause too much stress but needing to be sick and having to go up a flight of stairs to a shared bathroom isn't ideal! Needless to say the day was a write off. We will try again tomorrow.

Tags: chiang mai, hostels, north, train

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