An April 2001 trip
to Chiang Mai by writeonthespot
Quote: What is Chiang Mai like during a Songkran Festival? An experience of mine will let you have a glimpse of this exciting celebration.
Attraction | "Thai New Year, or Songkran Festival"
Though my friends and I were there only for the day, it was one of the most memorable travel experiences I’ve had.
To get to Chiang Mai, there are buses or train scheduled from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Even during this peak season, we were fortunate to get seats in the train as well as purchase bus tickets during the day of the trip itself. But to be a lot safer, book ahead of time.
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Chiang Mai, Thailand
+66 53 248 604 (Tour
Without any concrete plans, we entered a Thai travel agency and bought train tickets from Bangkok to Nong Khai and from Chiang Mai to Bangkok. How to get from Nong Khai to Chiang Mai was something we had to pray for a miracle. With our backpacks in tow, we headed for Nong Khai to cross the border to Laos, where we stayed for three days. On the day we were set to leave Vientiane, a Thai friend arrived, informing us that rides going to the northern part of Thailand are full. There we were, with heads bowed down, contemplating how we could get to Chiang Mai. Worse, we had to try other routes going there. But if worse came to worst, we just had to go back to Bangkok; even we already had train tickets for our Chiang Mai-Bangkok route. Keeping our fingers crossed, we returned to Nong Khai.
There are no seats available in the train to Chiang Mai. If we had to take the bus, we needed to go to Udon Thani where most of the bus terminals are found. Good thing we were able to catch the bus leaving for Udon Thani at a nick of time. When we got there, we had to transfer terminal where the buses bound to Chiang Mai are found. As we got to the terminal, there were people waiting outside trying to get bus tickets. There was only a single bus in sight, “So, how could all these people be accommodated?” we asked ourselves. While still catching our breath and with our hearts beating furiously, we went directly to the ticket booth to see if we could ride the bus. Sure enough, there were four seats more for the three of us. Seated at the far end of the bus, we couldn’t think how fortunate we were to be able to make it to Chiang Mai. We slept in the bus, and when the sun slowly rose, Chiang Mai was already a short distance away.
Lady Luck must have been smiling down at us for allowing us to celebrate Songkran in the second-largest city of Thailand. Or it must be Buddha, but we are Christians, so it must be Jesus. Anyway, whoever may have caused this beautiful thing, we are grateful. Braving all the water-throwing, we walked around Chiang Mai all wet and grinning for that day--we were truly blessed.