Wednesday 7th November 2012
30.10.2012 - 26.11.2012 28 °C
No rush this morning so we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast. We then go back to our room and pack our bags. Tony goes to have another foot massage. I was going to have one too but there was no one free so I leave Tony and go to take some more photos of the old town. Although Tony's foot is better he still finds it difficult just to wander around for pleasure so it is quite nice for me to just amble around. There are so many lovely little lanes with wooden buildings covered with exotic climbers and lots of coffee shops and restaurants and every so often another temple squeezed into a gap. This is a lovely city and we have really enjoyed our few days here. We then check out of the hotel and get a tuktuk to the bus station. Our bus arrives early -everything is very efficient. We had booked the front two seats and although we are separated from the driver by a door we still have a bit more legroom and window than other rows which is nice and the seats are very comfortable. Before the coach starts the steward in a smart uniform comes round with complimentary bottles of cold water and a sort of soft sweet roll with a slice of ham inside. The driver wears a uniform similar to an airline pilot with gold epaulettes! The journey to Chiang Rai takes just over three hours. We drive through rice farms, mountains and coffee plantations. The road is very good but goes through very few villages. The bus station in Chiang Rai is right in the centre of town and as we get off the bus I recognise the roofline of our hotel from its website so we are able to walk to it easily. The hotel is sort of 70s style but quite comfortable with a nice pool and lobby area. Unusually there is no wifi in the rooms so after unpacking we go to have a coffee in a coffee shop nearby and make contact with the outside world. Coffee as you would expect is delicious. We learn that Obama has won the presidential elections so that is a great relief. Chiang Rai during daylight hours looks rather down at heel and scruffy but at night you don't see the peeling paintwork and the lights make it look much smarter. We walk to a restaurant about 10 minutes away that is recommended in Lonely Planet. Unusually we are the only non Thais and we have yet another delicious meal. Tony is delighted because as a starter we choose northern Thai sausage which even I find delicious. We walk back with the intention of walking round the night market but by now Tony's feet and back are hurting again so we decide to go straight back to the hotel. We are able to watch BBC world so can catch up on news.