Waking up a little hungry, having not really managed to eat an awful lot of the dinner the night before, we were grateful for our final free breakfast from our lovely hostel. We then got ourselves checked out and sat in the common area for an hour until it was time to hop in a taxi to the bus station to go to Chiang Rai. We arrived at the bus station an hour early, as stated on our ticket, to discover everything was a bit of a shambles. When we eventually found the counter for the company we had booked with we were told to hang around stand numbers 20 and 21 and our bus would pull into one of them at some point. So off we went to find a seat and wait it out, unsure why on earth we had been requested to be there so early. Our bus finally arrived 15 minutes before we were due to leave and by that time we were particularly delighted to get into the air conditioning and get comfortable for the next 3 hours.
The journey was rather uneventful and we were delighted to discover, when we pulled into Chiang Rai, our accommodation was a mere 3 minutes walk away. So bags strapped on, we ducked and dived our way through the men offering us a tuk tuk and arrived at Bike&Bed Poshtel. Now after checking in we discovered that "poshtel" might be a bit of a stretch. Our 4 bed dorm had no windows, was painted a dark grey and had very little space to move around in, but nonetheless we got ourselves as unpacked and settled in as we could. Both feeling a bit peckish, having missed lunch, we headed out for a wander down the lantern lined main street and stopped for an early dinner in Chef Sasa.
Man, that bed in Bangkok was comfortable! No sooner had we fallen asleep and we were back up again, on the hunt for caffeine. With neither of us fancying the buffet breakfast offered by the hotel (late night dining!), we found (found is the right word as it was past reception, past the conference room, past loads of meeting rooms and then, past laundry) the cafe and performed a magic trick on the black nectar. After checking out and getting our 1,000 Baht deposit back (in 10x100 Baht notes) we walked over to the airport and checked in. The flight to Chiang Mai took a mere 50 minutes and if anyone ever, ever asks, fly straight to Chiang Mai from Phuket! We took the cheapest taxi of the trip so far from the airport to our hostel for the next 5 nights, About a Bed, and checked into our 6 bed dorm. The receptionist was lovely and we liked her even more when we got the best bunk beds in the room, furthest from the door and closest to the A/C!
The afternoon was spent relaxing before heading out for dinner. Our original plan had been to go to a local restaurant but we stumbled upon a night market that only had food vendors. We both had the duck with rice and it was absolutely amazing and, with a price tag of £1.25 each, it might be the best value meal of the trip!
After a deep, if somewhat short, sleep we woke with the alarm at 4am, got ready, travelled down the 2 escalators to the airport (that was convenient!) and checked into our Scoot flight to Bangkok. To say space was at a premium on our flight may have been an understatement, as Craig's knees left an indentation in the seat when we disembarked. Like the true locals we clearly aren't, we took the skytrain into the city and then switched lines to get to our hotel, Citichic. Walking along the street was like stepping onto a different planet. Taxi's, mopeds, motorbikes and Tuk-Tuk's weaved and hurried their way up and down the roads as we dodged people on the narrow pavements. The smell was an assault on the senses, a mix of spices, petrol and an odd sulphur smell that just seemed to take you unawares every so often. The most remarkable sight were the vast quantity of overhead wires that seemed to weave together and create a maze at the boxes, a sight that would give the fear to any electrician!