As far as night trains go, our sleeper train from Singburi To Chiang Mai was utter luxury (I mean there was A/C for starters!)Our first afternoon in Chiang Mai was spent visiting Tiger Temple, which is an optional activity; but I highly recommend you go!
The tigers have not been drugged, they have been bred there, meaning they are used to human contact. The girls and I chose to visit the big, small and smallest tigers. You go into an enclosed pen, where each tiger is being supervised by a trainer.
All the tigers are gorgeous and it is such a privilege to be able to see and touch these majestic creatures close up…plus the baby ones are really cute!! It’s also a great opportunity to find out more about tigers, as all the trainers are really knowledgeable and friendly.
That evening we headed out for dinner with our group and then out to some bars for drinks and dancing. There’s a street in Chiang Mai which all the bars and clubs are mainly located, which is great as you don’t have to venture far if you want to move on to the next place!
Our next day in Chiang Mai was spent tubing! I had never done this before so was looking forward to see what it was like. Conclusion … Mega fun! Even with Pookii falling out of her tube, a dead duck floating behind us for nearly the whole way and me getting stuck in thorn bushes, it was a great afternoon!
You all sit in individual rubber rings and go down a river in groups of six/seven, with one rubber ring in the middle filled with drinks of your choice. Apart from the couple of mishaps, (ha!) it was a really nice and chilled out afternoon which everyone seemed to enjoy. That evening we headed out to the night market, where we were treated to yet more amazing street food by Ing (followed by a Thai Iced Tea of course!) and then wandered around the maze of market stalls. If you haven’t bought souvenirs by this point, this is the place to do it! Such a range if things to buy, and a great place to practice your bartering skills! The next day we were to head off to our next stop which was Pai! As we left at noon, Jenn and I took advantage of the free morning and went for a traditional Thai Massage, which was amazing and a great way to start our day.
It is around a 3hour drive to Pai, along some pretty windy roads (top tip: if you get car sick easily…sit in the front!) but when you get there you are rewarded with paradise. Possibly the most relaxing and gorgeous of locations on the trip. You are greeted by the trusty Pug guard dog called Fake, who is the cutest thing I have ever seen, and the most delicious food in the hotel restaurant.
In Pai, you can definitely feel the pace of the tour mellow down. This is the place to unwind and do whatever you want, which after six weeks of being on the go was utter perfection. Activities such as piranha fishing, tea tasting (highly recommended!) and visiting hot springs were available, but aside from that; your time in Pai is spent exactly how you want it. Which could be sunbathing by the pool, snoozing in a hammock or exploring the local town. The night life in Pai definitely different but still just as fun. The night markets in Pai is where I bought the majority of my gifts from.
There are just so many unique and alternative stalls there, its great to buy things you know you wont be able to get anywhere else. Plus the street food in Pai is amazing (get yourself a nutella and banana crepe…you wont regret it!) and great for veggies too! The night life in Pai, although quieter and colder (bring a hoodie!) than what we’ve been used to is great. There’s one bar which has bonfires lit, so you can grab yourself a drink, sit around a bonfire and make some new friends! Or head to one bar that has the best range of mojitos available and sit back and enjoy chilling with the people who have been your family for the past six weeks.
For me, Pai has to be one of my most favourite locations on the trip and is somewhere I hope I will definitely be back to soon.
After three days in Pai, we then headed back to Chiang Mai and went to the cinema that evening to watch the Hunger Games: Mockingjay movie. Definitely go to the cinema if you can, its much cheaper and way better than the ones at home!
The next morning we had to be up bright and early as we were headed out on a trek to visit a local village, followed by a visit to a waterfall and finally a bamboo rafting trip, where you also share the waters with some friendly elephants!
We said goodbye to Chiang Mai and boarded our final night train to the bustling capital of Bangkok. Our final day was spent buying last minute gifts at one of Bangkoks busiest markets! Top tips for here would be to stay together, if you loose anybody you’re going to have a hard job trying to find them again and if you see something you like, buy it! Otherwise you’ll never be able to find the market stall again! That evening we all got dressed a little smarter than usual as we went for dinner in Thailand’s tallest building, Baiyoke Tower, before going up to the observation deck to take in the awesome view.
Our last supper together was really emotional, with Ing and Pookii both saying really moving speeches. Then each person from our group stood up to say a few words. What struck me most was the impact six weeks away had done to everyone, whether that be revaluate what they want to do with their lives (one of the guys on our tour is now a guide for LBW!) grown them in confidence or just made them a happier person. This is trip I feel, changes everybody; and makes you more appreciative of the life you have and the people who love you back at home. After supper we headed back out onto Kohsan Road for some farewell drinks and buckets with our LBW family. Having to say a fond farewell to everyone was really hard, especially as three of the girls I met on the tour are definitely now my friends for life..my Panang Pequenas!
I never expected this tour to impact me the way it has. I am so glad I decided to embark on this crazy adventure with one of my best friends. It’s definitely made me a more confident, happier and open person to the one I was at the beginning. Thank you LBW for showing me what’s important in life, and for giving me the courage and confidence to go out into the world and just go for it!
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