South to North

April 20, 2017Sarah, Thailand Standard

Yesterday we took a 2-hour plane ride from the south of Thailand, Phuket, to Chiang Mai in the north, and then a 1.5-hour very comfortable (and $4!) bus ride southeast to a smaller town, Lampang, which we read most people pass through on their way to Chiang Mai, the main tourist attraction in northern Thailand. We chose it as a way to try to experience a Thailand less affected by tourists, and perhaps as an even more relaxed town than the beach towns of Phuket. I realized I am not a beach town person! I get too hot lying on the beach for long, and feel guilty if I’m not on the beach…….and also found that the towns themselves didn’t feel as interesting after a little while, as they felt very catered to tourists and not quite as much of a glimpse inside a foreign culture like I am most interested in when traveling.

We just arrived yesterday afternoon but so far Lampang is just what we wanted. Much less touristy, tons of neat-looking restaurants filled with locals, and lots of little side streets that we can’t wait to walk down and explore.

We are here for eight days at a really neat guesthouse that we found from our Lonely Planet book which has all the quaint character that I love. It is very peaceful right by the river and is almost empty given that this is the tourist down season (ie. even more hot and humid). A warm and outgoing local woman we met on a taxi yesterday told us that eight days is way too long to spend in Lampang and thought we were crazy to want to do so, and according to the guesthouse owner most people stay for much shorter, but this is exactly the Thailand I want to see, and eight days sounds like the perfect length of time to get to relax and discover this small(er) town before heading to Bangkok.


Taxi ride through Chiang Mai from the airport to the bus station to leave for Lampang. Much more fun than the sedans we’ve been in so far! I still haven’t gotten the courage to ride on a scooter yet……..


Bus to Lampang. $4 for 1.5 hours, and easy to book and navigate.


Pick-up taxi ride to our guesthouse, where we spoke with the local woman who warned us against our 8-day stay.


Riverside Guesthouse! $29 per night including a wonderful breakfast, and very empty this time of year (it’s 38 C today, the hot summer season).


Cozy foyer all to ourselves.


Beautiful, peaceful dining area right by the river.


Breakfast by the river.


Reading by the river. I feel like I’m staying at an expensive resort, not an affordable guesthouse.


Really neat collection of old cars and motorcycles. I need to find out more about the history of this place……..the owner is Caucasian but I’m not yet sure from where, and has lived here for 30 years. She said this was originally her home before turning it into a guesthouse ten years ago.


Motorcycle shed, full of old spotless Harleys and paraphernalia.


Walking around town last night to find dinner.


It has a very different feel from Phuket. Barely any tourists, and much calmer.


Temple at night.


Wonderful restaurant we found. Lots of locals and very little English spoken but we enjoyed the most wonderful service and food.


My chicken and basil leaves. So much food for $1.50!