The pilgrimage North to Chiang Mai

It is fair to say that we both felt ready to leave Bangkok after our rather dramatic experiences. We both agreed that despite its luxury and beauty, now was not the time to explore a city so deep in mourning.

Our journey north from Bangkok to Chiang Mai covered 435 miles and consisted of three train journeys.

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Train One – Bangkok to Ayutthaya:

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Our first stop was Ayutthaya, an ancient capital city . We easily got a taxi to Bangkok station and purchased our ticket for 15 baht per person, aka 30p. We decided, neither of us know quite why now, that third class seemed like a good idea, as it would save us money and allow us to see how the locals travelled within Asia. We soon discovered that third class wasn’t going to be a walk in the park.

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Throughout October temperatures in Thailand average at around 30 degrees. So considering this factor, we thought ourselves extremely lucky to find a seat next to the window. But even the cool breeze made no difference after a while. The price of the journey, however, made up for the heat and discomfort. Looking back it seems like madness … where in the UK can you travel for 30p?!

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Although we only stayed for one night, we made sure to see all Ayutthaya had to offer. The hotel we stayed at arranged for a tuk-tuk to drive us around the historical park.  These were the first ruins we saw in Asia so their rugged beauty really hit home, and after seeing just some of the ruins and temples that Ayutthaya had to offer, the uncomfortable train journey became a distant memory.

The very touristy photos below show just how gigantic the ruins and temples are.

Train Two – Ayutthaya to Phitsanulok:

We awoke confident that we could navigate Asia by train, and stupidly didn’t see the problem with travelling six and a half hours in third class. It was crazily cheap, we had managed it before and we thought we could save some money. But this decision remains to be our biggest regret yet. 

Meet Jim.

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This smiley and smelly old man, who we were sat opposite, kept us company for the journey. If we hadn’t of been sat next to the one window that couldn’t open, oh and trust me we tried, this journey would have been amazing. The views were spectacular and we even got to witness the sunset. But instead we were left like this

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Although we were slightly warm, we were hugely excited to explore Phitsanulok. Although the city is not huge it contained lots of hidden gems. Our hotel was perfectly located, there was a beautiful river path, a night market full of both beautiful aromas and stomach churning smells, and multiple temples to explore. Oh, and we forgot one thing WE FOUND A PIZZA HUT?!

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The FINAL train journey: Phitsanulok to Chiang Mai:

Thankfully, we decided to learn from our mistakes and splash the cash .. aka we spent £9 on a 6-hour journey in a luxuriously air-conditioned second class carriage. This journey consisted of everything a normal journey should, we watched films, snacked and slept.

We made it to Chiang Mai safely, but we most definitely were not prepared for what lurked in our hotel room…

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