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Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-15-2005, 08:59 PM   #1
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Up in Chiang Mai...

As the curtain whipped past my nose, I awoke to the clickity-clack of the train chugging north... Like the man said, "I'm on the road again"

I booked #51 train, lower bunk sleeper for $12.65 to to Chiang Mai, about a 14 hour journey from Bangkok. I decided to try the no air con car, relying on the ceiling fans and open window for cooling comfort. Not bad, especially when the engineer opened the throttle w i d e.

I bought two bottles of Chang and cooled them with my field expedient "ice chest"; a plastic bag and a layer of newspaper, then another plastic bag and another layer of paper. I poured myself a beer and settled in for the journey.

Next morning I awoke and enjoyed the mountain scenery of northern Thailand. At one of the (many) village stops, I bought a fifty cent chicken leg from a smilling vendor passing my window. Delicious!

We pulled into Chiang Mai at noon, and de-trained to the mass of tuk tuk/songtaew drivers waiting to fleece us for the ride into town. I politely ignored them and walked across the road to a songtaew full of Thais. The driver agreed to take me to the walled part of the old city for fifty cents. Deal!

He dropped me off at Tapei Gate and I strolled over to Top North Guest house. Yes, they had a room available and yes, they could discount for a longer stay. We agreed on $6.25 per night for four nights. I cranked up the ceiling fan and headed for shower...

Later I bumped into Billy Kaderli and his charming wife Akaisha. I promptly accepted their "Happy Hour" invitation and we throughly enjoyed ourselves, swapping travel stories, munching on chips and peanuts and washing them down with ice cold Chang beer. Tropical sunsets from the balcony at no charge.

The next day Billy kindly shared some "secrets" about Chiang Mai, including a laundry charging just fifty cents a kilo for wasing AND ironing. Believe me, the Kaderlis have found some deals up here! Probably the best bargain was a huge Thai-western luncheon buffet at a five star hotel for only $3.50!

I sort of fell into an enjoyable routine: by day I wandered the small and twisiting sois within the old walled city and in the evening, I joined the Kaderlis for "Happy Hour." They are as they present themselves in their book and website: happy, congenial, engaging people; smiling often and loads of fun. Good people, really.

The Top North is rich in "personalities" colorful people abound and it is good fun to strike up a converstation with people lounging at the pool. Maybe Billy will write a novel, based on "true" converstaions at the pool. Ha!

Later, I found a newly opened guest house for $7.50 per night, so I decided to move. I think I was their first customer, because for several nights I was the only guest there. The owner was an interesting Thai gentleman who had a great jazz collection and offered me free coffee whenever I wanted it. What a deal!

Later my girlfriend came up, so I rented a Honda Dream 125cc motorbike to tour the area. We rode up the mountain to Soi Dutep, a famous temple in Thailand and enjoyed the panoramic views of Chiang Mai and surrounding areas. The King of Thailand has a mountaintop palace and we toured the gardens-in a word stunning! There were some hilltribe villages on the otherside of the mountain, but I had only put $1 of gas in the bike and we coasted down the mountain on fumes. Later, when I returned the bike, the owner laughed and said "very good driving, only one glass of gasoline left!"

All to soon, it was time to return to The Big Mango, Bangkok.

Air Asia has a $35 (one way) flight to Hanoi. Maybe another train journey from Hanoi to Saigon is on the horizon

Lance out.
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-15-2005, 09:26 PM   #2
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Excellent report. I'm envious.
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-16-2005, 12:03 AM   #3
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Someday I'll get there...nice post.
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-16-2005, 12:24 AM   #4
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancelot
We rode up the mountain to Soi Dutep, a famous temple in Thailand and enjoyed the panoramic views of Chiang Mai and surrounding areas.
I never saw so many lychee trees in fruit in my life. I never saw so many centuries-old trees still in fruit, either...
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-16-2005, 05:05 PM   #5
 
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Your Travels sound interesting. Although, the far east and mid-east are not on my dream list of travels, the prices that you quote are certainly enticing!

Almost everywhere I go, It's expensive! - Even poor countries in Central America!

Too bad it's so far, I'd hop a plane and join you for happy hour!
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-16-2005, 05:32 PM   #6
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
... the far east and mid-east are not on my dream list of travels...
For some of us more "seasoned" (Laurence's term) posters who reached adulthood in the 60's and 70's, those locations are associated with some 'less than optimal' memories and experiences. They aren't really a desired travel destination.

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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-16-2005, 05:44 PM   #7
 
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
For some of us more "seasoned" (Laurence's term) posters who reached adulthood in the 60's and 70's, those locations are associated with some 'less than optimal' memories and experiences.* They aren't really a desired travel destination.

Since I am into Wilderness, most of my destinations are remote with not lots of people. That also makes them expensive!
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-16-2005, 05:59 PM   #8
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Well,,,,
You certainly have had a good trip. I remember Thailand, sort of, it was for me about 1965? I was there for a while with the DOD. I visited Chiang Mai, very rustic in those days. Also there was fear of being attacked by insurgents of one kind or another. I then visited Saigon and a place on the coast called Vung tau it was down river from Saigon. It to was rustic with a few hotels and American soldiers every where.
The far east in those days was a culture shock for most Americans. I can remember the piles of garbage every where in the city and peddle cabs, motorscooter cabs and traffic confusion every where. The rural areas of most of those countries in those days was to say the least very rustic. I also visited Japan, Okinawa, Korea and Hong Kong.

The places were interesting, but I don't have a desire to go back and visit again.

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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-16-2005, 06:03 PM   #9
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

I would really like to follow your footsteps but my wife requires good hotels when we travel. We have spent time in China which was really great and want to visit Thailand and Vietnam soon.
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-16-2005, 09:25 PM   #10
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Atla said:
Quote:
I would really like to follow your footsteps but my wife requires good hotels when we travel. We have spent time in China which was really great and want to visit Thailand and Vietnam soon.
Would hot and cold running water with decorator tile in the bathroom, marble flooring, aircon, cable TV, refrigerator, great location, daily maid service and including breakfast, dinner and free coffee, fruit and juice all day for $20 qualify? This was our Hotel 127 in Saigon.*

Here in Thailand, you can get similar as described above, minus the meals for $25.

Check out our Preferred Links, and see Travel Info. All listed on our site. Why pay more?*

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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-16-2005, 09:50 PM   #11
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
Too bad it's so far, I'd hop a plane and join you for happy hour!
CT, I'm always looking for a Happy Hour buddy*

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
Someday I'll get there...nice post.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle43
Excellent report. I'm envious.
Thanks guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitty
The places were interesting, but I don't have a desire to go back and visit again.
Sure, I hear you Kitty. South America is also on my travel list as well*

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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-17-2005, 08:23 AM   #12
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Lance, Billy or Akaisha, have you seen MJ in Thailand?
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-17-2005, 09:07 AM   #13
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Great story Lancelot.

My wife and I will be roaming around that area next fall.

What I wonder however, is the current rental cost of the 125cc Honda?

Please keep up the adventure stories
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-17-2005, 09:12 PM   #14
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Lance, Billy or Akaisha, have you seen MJ in Thailand?*
Hi Martha! I just missed MJ in Chiang Mai, but I think the Kaderlis met him.

Lance
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-17-2005, 09:18 PM   #15
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhm

What I wonder however, is the current rental cost of the 125cc Honda?
Hi Greenhm!

I rented the Honda 125 on Nov 1 to 3 and that is the current price, about $3.75 per day (150 baht) The dealer originally wanted 180 baht per day, but we eventually agreed on 150/day. No mileage limit and even included two helmets.

There are a glut of rental bikes in CM and deal abound

Lance
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-17-2005, 09:51 PM   #16
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Martha asked:
Quote:
Lance, Billy or Akaisha, have you seen MJ in Thailand?
I can verify a sighting. The boy's elusive, however, and rumor has it that he has been seen,... regularly,... in "Darling's" arms...* I cannot verify that at this time.

I, personally, have not seen him in days. However, Billy catches glimpses of him from time to time... Asia does have its allure, as those of us, caught under the spell, can testify. (sigh.)* 8)

Stay tuned for another Thai Wives story to come!

Will keep you posted!
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-17-2005, 11:36 PM   #17
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Lance,

Be careful what you say here - not everyone appreciates you showing them how to live on nothing.

I love Chiang Mai, and if you get a chance, hook up with Luang Phor in the Grand Palace in Bangkok - he grew up in Chiang Mai, and is one of the great leaders of Buddhism and advanced meditation in Thailand.

His full name is Luang Phor Viriyang Sirintharo, and he oversees Wat Dhammamongkol. One of those fellows you should see once in your life - he is really a world wonder. If you sees signs about a "Willpower Institute", that's him.

I hope to meet you someday!

Cheers,

tek
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-18-2005, 12:12 AM   #18
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Lance, Billy or Akaisha, have you seen MJ in Thailand?*
Hi Martha,

Although I have been checking in on the forum, I'm not sure why I haven't felt like writing in. I did break my silence when I was moved by unclemicks terrible loss. When I get back, I should be able to share my simple adventure.

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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-18-2005, 09:05 AM   #19
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ
Although I have been checking in on the forum,* I'm not sure why I haven't felt like writing in.
Looks like someone's been eminently responsible for his own entertainment!

Pace yourself, man. Or die tryin'...
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-18-2005, 07:04 PM   #20
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Lance,

Thanks for the travel story. Before coming to this site, I had never thought about traveling to Thailand. I want to travel and see so many places, but did not think that much about the far east. However, after reading your stories and Billy's posts, I have changed my mind and can't wait to get to all of those places. Those definitely sound like my kind of prices and I would love to see the temples and the culture!

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