Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th December by Duncan
(18 December 2010)
Saturday was our last day in Bangkok so we decided to go slightly further afield aboard the extremely slick, modern and, most importantly, air-conditioned sky train. We arrived at Chatuchak market, also known as the JJ market, and were once again overwhelmed by the sheer scale of everything in Bangkok. This outdoor market is simply gargantuan and swarming with locals and tourists alike.
After a relatively brief time spent shopping we decided to relax a little in the sweltering midday sun in Chatuchak park. The park was beautiful with all its greenery and palm trees and four us had a very enjoyable pedalo session on the lake. Travelling back towards our hotel on the sky train once again gave us a chance to marvel at the sprawling metropolis of Bangkok and to reflect on quite how this might contrast with our surroundings once we reached Nan province.
After our final meal in Bangkok, our lovely student guides from Chulalongkorn graciously gave up the larger part of the evenings to escort us to the bus station, from where we would travel overnight to Nan.
Our VIP bus was luxurious and spacious, and well air-conditioned; but on arrival in Nan at 5.30am, and after no fewer than ten hours on a bus, we were all more than a little exhausted. Our guide in Nan, Rungtip, selflessly drove to collect us at this very early hour and was more than welcoming in allowing us to rest in her house for the rest of the morning.
After lunch we checked in to our guest house where we able to enjoy a long awaited and much needed shower and a chance to unwind a little. Our second guide in Nan, La aied, then took us out for dinner. We were able to get some lovely food at the winter festival and eat in wonderful surroundings; outside listening to a local band and surrounded by local people. To top off a fantastic day, La aied showed us around what turned out to be yet another gargantuan market. This particular market was in Nan just for Christmas; and we certainly hadn't expected to see something quite so huge here in Nan!