5.01.2012

The Train to Chiang Mai


Remember when I told you about my experience on the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai?  Well you know all about the train bathroom - but the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is no small journey.   We could have easily flown from Toronto to Hong Kong in about the same time. So why the train you ask?  Well for one - we were on a budget and the train cuts out the cost of airfare and since it's over night you can cut out one nights accommodation.  We are still backpackers at heart.   Except now we stay in nicer places - with air conditioning and flushing toilets.  Plus the journey is usually entertaining as you never know who you're going to be bunking with. {note there are at times 4 people to a sleeper cabin}


See that train ticket - it informs us that our journey will be roughly 14 hours and 15 minutes.  In Thai time that translates closer to 17 hours.  But all is well when you are prepared to down a few tall bottles of Chang Beer and fall asleep from a long day in the hot Bangkok sun.  But when you wake up at 6:00 a.m. (because you are still sort of operating on Toronto time) what is one to do for the remaining 5 hour journey? 


And after 17 hours of travelling what do you want to do afterwards?  Check into the hotel?  Shower? Sleep? Probably!  We did check int to the De Naga Hotel - but just to make a quick change into our temple clothes as we had plans to walk up 306 steps to walk to see Wat Doi Suthep.  Which is one of the most sacred temples in the north of Thailand situated on top of a mountain.  Thankfully most of the journey was by car. 

And with my lady problems just beginning, an early start to the day, and no time for a shower I was surprisingly in good spirits. You should probably give me an award for this. No but seriously this temple is worth the walk up all 306 steps in any condition.  Oh we had one minor problem - we forgot to charge the battery for the DSLR - which is a bummer because this temple is picturesque.  Luckily we had our Canon point and shoot available to save the day. 


On a clear day I imagine you would get a stunning view of Chiang Mai city at the top of the mountain.  Unfortunately we got a half hazy/half clear day.  Our guide assured us that this was a much clearer day that usual.  I have a feeling he says this a lot. 


This temples architecture is breathtaking.  It's amazing how they are so carefully crafted.  And each and every one is unique.   I do have one tip - a lot of temples require to remove your shoes before entering.  You might want to bring a pair of socks if you're uncomfortable walking barefoot - or if you don't enjoy walking on hot ceramic floor in the blazing Thai sun.  For the Hope's - no socks necessary. 


{my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard}

And when we arrived back at the hotel - this is what greeted us.  Amazing right?!  Totally perfect.

8 comments:

  1. Wow, I have never been on a train for 17 hours. But looks like it was totally worth it! :) Amazing pictures!

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  2. 17 hours? Good for you guys! At least you got to sleep :) Amazing pictures lady!! xoxo
    ps - the milkshake picture? You're awesome!

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  3. We just booked a bunch of overnight trains (okay, two) for our trip to Vietnam. Its such a fun way to travel--soaking in the culture and scenery.

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  4. I feel more relaxed after looking at your temple pictures. Thank you for sharing! I had a good laugh at your milkshake picture : )

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  5. Seeing Thailand through your eyes is so magical! That view of Steve looking out the window of the train is AMAZING.

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  6. Your pictures are just gorgeous!! I have a funny story about a train I took in Rome..but it was not for 17 hours. WOW!

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  7. I remember taking the train around Europe, I couldn't sleep at all!! Although we had to hand over our passports, and then the police stopped the train and took off anyone who they thought had a fake one...all I could think was, AH I have no rights here!! Loved your story!

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  8. Wow, that is beautiful....def. worth the lonnnnnnggg train ride :)

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