12th Nov 2019 / Thailand
Photo: A wall of lanterns
I rose early in the hope that the guy in the seat/bed below would also rise early and that the attendant would come round and convert the lower bed back into seats. That way I could look out of the window (the upper bunk doesn't have a window). I was in luck. By about 7am I was back sitting, staring out the window at the Thai countryside.
The train pulled into Chiang Mai station just before 9am, about 20 minutes later than scheduled. After haggling for a songthaew (a red pickup style taxi where passengers sit in the back in bench style seating), we were relieved it was a fraction cooler than Bangkok (but still too hot).
The rooms weren't ready when we checked into our hotel, so we set up camp by the pool. After getting access to our rooms we headed out to the local food market for some lunch. Gaby ordered octopus dish which turned out to be a bit too spicy while Claire thought she ordered a pork dish, but actually tuned out to be frog. I ordered pork and ate pork.
The afternoon was spend by the pool and in the evening (the main reason for us coming to Chiang Mai) we headed to see the lantern festival. Although we were to a day too late for the mass lantern ascent (there was no availability of the train for that day) we were still to see the parade, lanterns, lights and other decorations and events going on.
The Yi Peng Lantern Festival is a special holiday celebrated by the Lanna people of northern Thailand. In Chiang Mai, the stronghold of Lanna culture, houses and temples are decorated with colorful lanterns to mark the approach of the holiday.
Map: Where we ended up today