Waking up on a train speeding through the Thai jungle is one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. We jumped on an overnight train last night in Bangkok at around 6pm, and woke up around 5.30am the next day in the northern Thai jungle.
The overnight train is probably the nicest one I’ve ever done. Instead of being in separate compartments, the beds run down the length of the carriage and are definitely the biggest, most comfortable beds I’ve ever experienced. I highly recommend picking up dinner and snacks before getting on the train, the food on the train is expensive (by Thai standards) and it didn’t look that good. Also, if you get the choice, opt for a lower berth – they’re a little bigger and you can fit your bag on the bed (if like me you’re short. I don’t know if would work for a normal sized human).
When we got to Chiang Mai, it was a little bit too early to check in to our accommodation so we headed out for a walk. Chiang Mai is a beautiful old town with some amazing markets and you could easily spend half a day just walking around (we did). In the early afternoon we headed out to follow the path of so many backpackers before, and take a cooking class. Chiang Mai is a great spot for Thai cooking schools and it did not disappoint. We made five courses and there was so much food you couldn’t finish it.
The next day it seemed like a good idea to take our lives into our hands and try out a brand new ziplining place that had just opened up. I’ve heard some horror stories about questionable safety standards at these places in Chiang Mai, but Dragon Flight was really good.
The final thing we did in Chiang Mai was go to see a ladyboy show. Ladyboys are an important part of Thai culture, and the shows that they perform in are closer to drag performances than anything else. It was really good and I’d highly recommend going to see one if you get the chance.
Then it was off to Chiang Rai. On the way, we stopped off at the famous White Temple which is actually made out of shiny mirror-like things (I don’t have a better description than that). We also stopped to visit and learn about the Karen hilltribes – I don’t have any photos of them because it’s disrespectful to photograph in their culture.
That’s pretty much it for Chiang Rai, we only spent one night there before jumping across the border to Laos.