Thursday, October 27, 2005

Chiang Mai

After eventually arriving at Chiang Mai, I was beseiged by taxi touts trying to take you to their guesthouse. I decided I was just have a wander about, I had glanced at one of the maps and a guesthouse lay to the right. On reconsideration the map was probably upside down, as the reality is everything is to the left of the train station.

I had picked up a second-hand South East Asia LP at Khao San Road, but after checking it I found all the Chiang Mai pages had been ripped out. Anyway, I stopped one of these taxi-bus-songthaews and got him to take me to a guesthouse near the night bazaar.

Every night in Chiang Mai the pavements become crammed with street vendors selling their various wares. Although a lot of it looks like the same stuff! Then at the weekend there is the BIG night market in the old walled city. I went along to this and was suprised how busy it was. You end up just shuffling along slowly going with the crowds. No way out! Also as well as the usual handicrafts, there are some buskers doing their thing. Some traditional 4 string Thai instruments played with a bow, making strange noises.

One day I headed up the hill to Doi Suthep, a temple perched high above Chiang Mai. A series of steps leads you up to the temple itself. And there is a lot of gold used there! Golden pillars, golden statues, golden buddhas. Also a nice view back down to Chiang Mai itself. Quite a few cyclist stuggling up the big hill. Saw more cyclist in one day here than on my entire bike trip.

Tomorrow I head to the Thai border, where I should cross over the Mekong into Laos!

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