Bangkok to Chiang Mai
02.18.2009 - 03.18.2009 0 °F
Bangkok's Hua Lumphung Train Station
It was time to leave the big city and move on to the north of Thailand. I had reserved first class on the so called, crack train of Thailand, the Night Express - train #1, but if this was first class, what did the masses have to put up with. The equipment was old and smelled of petroleum products, but I did have a compartment all to my lonesome. I had eaten a large lunch at Anna's on the mezzanine of Hua Lumphung Station, and since I loaded up with peanuts, bottled water and tamarind candy in the station, I said no to the overpriced packaged meal. The train arrived just 15 minutes late at 07:30 in the am; quite a boring trip - nothing much to see or do. I had an unusual breakfast in Chiang Mai station of black coffee, a pineapple pastry and fresh fruit topped with ice and a sweet pomegranate syrup. Since it was cool out, and I had adequate maps of the city, I set out on foot for the inner city (my destination, the Tri Gong Residence, was just inside the NE corner of the inner Moat). I managed to slip on wet pavement just a block down the road, nothing serious, just dirty water on me and my pack, but after that incident, my walk was a little unsteady. The Residence was right where the map said it was - some 2.5 miles from the station, and Adam, the owner, met me on the front porch. Tri Gong was more like a small motel than a Thai house, but very clean, and at 700THB, a bargain with private bath and AC. They even had misters - just like Palm Springs, to cool things down in the heat.
After a shower, I took my laundry down the street, and went on a short walking tour of central Chiang Mai. This looks like a city of farangs, monks, tuk tuk drivers and many many many Wats (every third or fourth building was another Wat with it's gold adorned facade). I was fairly well done in even before this walk, so it only lasted long enough to find the tallest mango shake I've ever had (much too sweet this time).
Turns out I really overdid it, again - too many uneven sidewalks between the train station and CM, and later with food. The Thais eat lightly (we say small plates at home), and this farang is not totally satisfied with so little, and my solution is to order more! Much much better to take a clue from the Thais - I paid for it in discomfort. I'll concentrate on the great tropical fruit for a while. Looks like the tourist business is way down in CM - more Vietnamese-like hawkers here.