The time has come to leave Chiang Mai, and to be quite honest, we stayed far longer than we initially thought that we would. The reason being that on the way here we met some really awesome friends, and we have been meeting up with them for outings, meals, and simply just to hang out. We miss this – really good company makes such a huge difference on a trip, and whenever we travel we are so grateful for the amazing friends that we make along the way!! We met four people on our bus journey from Bangkok to Chiang Mai – for a couple of days all six of us hung out, and now there are only four of us still here. Today we leave Chiang Mai, and our remaining two friends will be heading back to Bangkok, and then onto Bali (yes, we totally want to hide in their bags so that we can go with them) in a few days from now. We are sure that our paths will cross again, and that we will see them some time or another in the future. **A big thank you to Andy and Gayle, you guys have been really great company!!!**
We wanted to take a train down to southern Thailand, but they were all sold out for the next couple of days. The only other options were therefore to fly or to take a bus. The latter can be a nightmare on a crappy old bus especially considering that some travel agents say that the trip can span 3 nights!!!! No thank you.
We stumbled across a great travel agent who suggested a 20 hour luxury bus when she saw my pregnant belly. We would normally be skeptical but we just took this same bus all the way from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, and it was very comfortable and spacious. The BEST part about this journey is that we DON’T stop in Bangkok, and there are no awkward 12 hour “layovers” as we wait for another overnight train for the next leg of the journey.
If we had taken a train or a private (non-luxury) bus, this would have been our journey: Overnight travel starting at 6pm and arriving in Bangkok at 6am, a 12 hour wait in Bangkok for an overnight train/ bus to Southern Thailand, a second night spent sleeping on transport, and then another lame wait for a ferry from the mainland to the island we want to go to!! That’s an insane 3 days worth of traveling, but people do it because it is extremely cheap compared to flying! The luxury bus that we are taking stops for us to eat, and that’s it. We make the full journey to the south in 20 hours, and there will be three drivers onboard so it’s a much safer than the private bus companies that have only one driver onboard. We are praying for a smooth journey, and some comfortable sleep along the way.
What have we been up to for the last couple of days? Again, plenty of relaxation since we just love our moderately priced little guesthouse and it’s central location. Our room is spacious and light, plus we have a bathtub, satellite tv (with English movie channels, haha, we don’t even have that in China where we Iive), a refrigerator, use of a kitchen just outside our door, and friendly guest house staff. Many trips downstairs (onto the street) for Thai food and fresh fruit smoothies. Walks around the city — we feel like we know this side of Chiang Mai like we live here! Cooking classes. Some forest walking, and semi-hiking next to beautiful waterfalls. Live music. Markets. Shopping. And enjoying some good laughs and discussions with our California friends.
Our time in Chiang Mai has been great, but it is definitely time to move onto the sunny beaches and crystal clear waters of the south. Everything is going to cost a little more down south, but we are fine with that since we will probably do a lot of lazying around and soaking up the island vibes!! It’s been almost two weeks and we a still very pale, so we look forward to getting a bit of a tan.
More travel updates when we get to Southern Thailand…