Bangkok to Chiang Mai
So after a few days in the bustling hustle of Bangkok, my internal body clock adjusted to my new time zone, and more importantly my internal thermometer adjusted to the stifling heat, I decided it was time to move on and find somewhere more akin to my aim of chilling and relaxing.
After speaking to a few hippy types in a bar on Khao San road, my destination was set, it was time to head up north and visit the popular Chaing Mai and Chiang Rai region.
Getting there would be my first consideration, do I fly, do I take a luxury bus or do I stay true to the purpose of this trip and head up there as cheaply as possible? I decided on cheap as possible, after all the less I spend getting around the longer I can stay here.
The cheap options consist of either public bus or train. The train operates 6 services a day from Bangkok and can between 12-15hrs, now for someone who lives in a country where you get from one end to the other in less than 6hrs this is scary. So I looked at the bus option instead, but again this takes 11hrs. So a much of a muchness both roughly the same time. So the deciding factor would be price.
Trains operate 3 classes of service the 3rd class being both the cheapest and most uncomfortable and prices start at 300thb (less than $9us) not bad, but not sure I can stand an entire 12hrs crammed into an overcrowded carriage with god knows how many other folk? 1st class with a sleeper bed style seat costs 1450thb quite expensive as you can fly for 2000thb in less than 3hrs.
So I went for the bus, again faced with different options. For only 200thb you can take the public bus which operates every hour and doesn’t look to be the most luxurious, and has no air-conditioning. For only 500thb and the option I decided on you can take a private operated bus service, these are also supposed to be running every hour but if you don’t pre book you may have to wait a few hours for a spare seat. These are a lot more comfortable and a more like a long distance service back home, reclining seats, air conditioning and some dodgy Thai radio station playing for most of the journey. Get tickets here
The journey took about 10.5hrs and included regular pit stops for gas and a welcome toilet break, this was a god send to me as I am a smoker so getting off every 2.5hrs for a cig was great. I met a few other traveller types on the bus, who gave me some tips of where to head in Chiang Mai for a cheap room.
Now my plan is stay here for a few months, just chill out and relax as much as possible. I headed to the old town and found a little guest house called Julie’s as recommended by my new friends. A private room with a fan (air conditioning costs too much for my budget) was only 250thb a night (less than $8us). This was not to be my permanent base, this was only for a week to allow me to get my bearings, and then find more permanent digs.
I had heard you can get an average standard room all in (No air condition) for around 4,000thb a month, that sounded great to me as it would definitely extend my budget as far as possibly. I ended up in a sort of guest house/long term place called RCN court this was a little out of the centre but perfect for my needs. I negotiated a 3 month stay here for 5,500thb a month not bad that is just over $165US perfect. A little more than I had been advised I could get the cheapest room at, but they were nice and comfortable. They also cable TV and a gym which is great.
So now I’m here and settled it’s time to start chilling and enjoying a more relaxed pace of life. One of the benefits of staying at RCN court was the place is full of other long term renters like myself, so there is social interaction when needed and much needed tips on what to do around here.