|Since our last entry we have joined our tour. There are 9 people on the tour, mostly young but 3 are in their 40s or 50s. We had another day in Bangkok but we are free to explore as we want so we went to the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Place. Dispite being a little fed up with Buddhas and Wats (churches) this was really impressive. The emperald Buddha was tiny on top of a hugh monument so that was a bit of a let down but the surrounding building including the Place are so Grand and decorative!
We met up with everyone to get the overnight train to Chiang Mai. This was quite an experiance. We traveled second class which means there are no chickens or cows in with you! You have a seat but a little bit into the journey they come round and turn it into a bunk. The lights are left on so it very difficult to sleep and a mobile phone belonging to a monk kept ringing! The train was about 2 hours late arriving but this is normal.
After some sleep in our hotel we have spent the day exploring Chiang Mai. This is Thailand's second biggest town but completley unlike Bangkok. A little cooler, much less humid and polluted and much quieter. It is usually used as a base from where people go either hill walking or into Laos. We will be doing the later tomorrow. I am a little aprehensive about this as it is a communist country and the facilities are going to be very limited. A couple of places won't have electricity let alone internet! I don't know if I will be able to use my hair straighteners! Also we have to cover up more so as not to offend the locals. Shoulders must be covered and skirts and shorts have to be knee length, but women don't really wear shorts so it will be skirts or trousers for us. I will let you know how it goes when we next get to some civilisation........