Thailand – The Journey to Chiang Mai

This is the first time I’ve gone somewhere where I had no real support on the other side. I had no relatives in Bangkok and there was no AIESEC to be found in Chaing Mai. However, I was doing this trip with a friend of mine from HK. The plan was to fly to Bangkok, take the train to Chiang Mai and stay there for 4 days, then go back to Bangkok where my friend would be going back to Hong Kong while I would continue my own journey. So the travel began with a bang when my friend (we’ll call him B) decided to run off and take pictures of airplanes at the HK airport. He was having so much fun that he ignored my consecutive calls to him. Now why would I keep calling him? Because they wanted to close the gate and made at least 5 last calls. Luckily, I just said he was in the bathroom and we eventually made it onto the flight.

The next challenge we faced was a combination of the fact that staff at Bangkok airport knew very limited English and of course, the heat. We wanted to take a train to the main terminal to catch our train later but there was no way for us to know when the next train would arrive. The platform was also outdoors so we were slowly melting away. Luckily, that was just a test of patience and we eventually made it to the terminal. At the terminal, we bought our train tickets to Chiang Mai and then wandered off to get ourselves some food. Part of me wanted to go full local right away but I knew that would just be – excuse the pun – a shit show, and so we stuck with a semi restaurant. We were under the impression that the time stated on the ticket was the boarding time and so thinking we had a lot more time to spare, we wandered around the terminal for awhile. When it was time for us to board, we headed off to the platform and showed the conductor the ticket. The conductor quickly pointed at our train and told us to run as it turned out that the time was for departure. Luckily for us, we got to our compartment a couple of minutes before the train took off. With two very close calls on the first day, I was sure that this trip will definitely be full of awesome adventures.

The train ride was also a first for me. Well not riding a train… well kind of riding a train but more about the sleeper train. I was thinking it would be like harry potter, mini compartments of 4 or something and we’d just bond with each other the whole time. However, this isn’t the case with our train. The train consisted of compartments with just seats, and compartments of beds. The way the beds worked was at 8pm, there would be someone who would come around and turn the seats that were there into beds. It was really cool to watch and although there were no mini compartments, there were definitely a lot of new conversations happening everywhere. Even the food compartment was also really lively; with tables full of new groups of friends to a tv playing random music to the head chef wearing a wig and moving to the beats all night long. As for the bed, my bed was the top bunk and right next to the door connecting to the next compartment. Although they do lock it after 1, it was still loud to hear the train move. The whole ride was suppose to take 14 hours or so and thus we were expected to reach early in the morning (8am). When I woke up, it was already 9am and so I was confused. Did I miss my stop? If so why didn’t B wake me up? Did he also miss the stop? However, after opening my blinds, I realized that everything was still okay; everyone was still on the train and they told me that the train was delayed because there was no electricity at night for a couple of hours. Luckily for us, we had absolutely nothing planned so the delay affected nothing of ours. We just took our time chatting with other people and hearing about their journeys. However, none of us really knew that our delay would turn this 14 hour train ride to one that took closer to 22… but hey we made it and it was quite enjoyable!

It starts off as a seat
It starts off as a seat

And ends up as a bed
And ends up as a bed

As we arrived 8 hours after our original estimated arrival, and because B had a flight to catch back to Hong Kong in Bangkok, he needed assurance that this didn’t happen again and so he his bus ticket at the station. It takes about 10 hours by bus (it was quite cheaper AND it stayed right to its schedule, surprisingly). However, I was able to get mine at a much cheaper price in the city, so I suggest to save all ticket purchases once you get to the city as there are many vendors so there is a lot of room for haggling.

So my favourite drink (actually, THE FAVOURITE DRINK IN ASIA) in Chiang Mai was the fresh fruit juice that costs about 50 baht. What made it awesome was it was 3 fruits, the fruits are all cut in front of you and the end product is the size of a large bubble tea. I got 2 – 3 of these a day and I even had one of their fruit salads for breakfast! I don’t even think that I’m joking if I were to say that I were in Thailand, I would be willing to go back to Chiang Mai just for this drink!

If this for 40baht looks appealing…
Fruit Salad

And the drink that contains 3 different fresh fruits for 50 baht is tempting…
Fresh Fruit Juice

Then you need to visit this shop in Chiang Mai!
THE BEST Fruit Smoothie in Chiang Mai

And since that doesn’t say much, here you go.
Fruit Smoothie Map
The black line represents a pedestrian bridge and the red star represents a red star.

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