After the 14hr or so journey from Bangkok, we finally made it to Chiange Mai station around 9:30am. I actually got a really good sleep on the train. I woke a few times but had no trouble getting back to sleep. The girls on the top bunks didnt have such luck with the overhead light stopping them from going back to sleep because it looks like it was daylight. A half hour journey by songtheaw (local taxi)to get to our hotel in the centre of Chiang Mai (Chiang Mai Travel Lodge). After a quick check into ur rooms, which were quite nice for budget accomodation we set off again by sontheaw to see the elephants. Extremely reluctantly most of us paid 1500Baht for the day trip to ride the elephants, see the local red Karen hilltop tribe and go bamboo rafting. I was a little upset by the elephant ride, they didnt appear as well looked after as I had hoped. And the staff are a little too quick to wack them with their metal spikes on a stick if they stop walking for even a second
. They drew blood on ocassion....not happy jan. The Karen tribe were a friendly little hunch, gorgeous little kiddies running around while their mothers hand wove silk and cotton sarongs and other types of clothes. From there we headed to the river for some bamboo rafting. It was fantastic, the water was mostly calm with only one section of rapid the quites made us jump off and walk downsteam before rejoinging. But it was actually the surrounds that were so beautiful. But it was actually the surrounds that were so beautiful. We were all most upset we couldn't take our cameras on with us because it was absolutely glorious. Did I just that?? Oh my goodness. After getting back to town we tood a nice warm shower before Carmen and I checked out more internet options. Unfortunately the place we went was not as friendly nor fast as we had hoped; but we got a quick email check done. Then dinner at the night bazaars with Sart and the gang. I had a very nice Chiang Mai noodle curry for 50 Baht. And what meal is not right without fried spring rolls....yum. Altho the last few I've tried don't tend to have a lot of flavour, perhaps because there is a fair bit of rice noodle inside; I don't know. The night bazaar, oh......I love it! I love the whole atmosphere in Chiang Mai. Far more relaxed than Bangkok and altho still busy in the markets at 10pm when we left, its not hot sticky annoying busy like the Bangkok Weekend Market. I'm definitely coming back to Chiang Mai; we all wish we were here more than one day. We haven't really seen any of the city as we were away all day on the trip. The roads just out of town actually look very similar to those outside of Denpasar Bali.