Chiang Rai- Elbow issues and bus from hell
We got a bus from Pai, via Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. In total it took around 7 hours.
Staying in Chiang Rai
We stayed at Na–Rak–O–Resort, it was a really cute hotel, super colourful and it had a kitchen. Having a kitchen in a hotel is pretty much unheard of, you are able to make eggs on toast and tea and coffee etc.
As I have said before I am not a massive temple fan but this one is really worth a visit. It’s unlike any other temple I have been too. It’s so grand, decorative and white. It really is very pretty.
She fell over
Unfortunately, my time in Chiang Rai was tainted by a little accident I had.
It had rained very heavily and Stephen and I had messing around on instagram stories in the hallway outside our room.
I decided that I was going to go down and take a picture of the hotel for my blog (it’s the blogs fault) so I skipped down the hallway.
Unluckily for me, the rain had got through a leak in the roof and created a puddle on the tiled floor. So near the end of the corridor I slipped and fell.
I landed straight on my elbows and it hurt a lot! Stephen was standing outside our door and when I fell he stood there waiting for me to laugh in embarrassment for a few seconds.
I didn’t laugh
Sadly, there was no embarrassed laughter only tears and cries for help.
Stephen came rushing to my rescue on seeing blood and managed to also slip over himself!
Honestly it was like a slapstick comedy, he fell himself, hitting his head and managing to kick me in the head, making me to whack my head on the wall.
Fortunately, he was not injured too! By this point I had noticed the blood and I was feeling rather sick and faint (I hate blood, especially on me!)
Stephen helped me back to the room and I laid on the floor while he cleared the blood from my body (thanks by the way) and the bed (whoops).
I felt really faint and panicky and when Stephen said I can see your bones and some sort of ligament looking thing I thought i was actually going to pass out.
Stephen went and got the hotel owner and she was lovely and drove me to hospital. Bless her she kept on saying sorry and looked very distressed. But it wasn’t her fault.
Lucky for me the hospital was only a 5/10 minute drive away and the accident emergency department wasn’t very busy.
We filled in some paperwork and within 10 minutes some one was washing my cuts out with that stuff that really bloody stings.
After that I received injections and they began stitching my elbows back up. They were really lovely and took good care of me. I was slightly concerned about going to the hospital in Thailand but they put me at ease straight away.
Only thing that was not so good, was the fact that after injecting me they started stitching straight away. So I could feel pretty much everything.
I was bandaged up real tight and told not to bend my elbows for 10 days or get them wet.
They also wanted me to go back everyday to have the dressings changed but I explained that we were leaving Thailand the following day. The nurse showed me all the things I needed to buy, and how I should dress the wounds which was really nice of her.
The whole hospital trip was over within a couple of hours. That included picking up a stack load of prescribed drugs from the hospital pharmacy.
Let me tell you, in everyday life we do not appreciate how bloody amazing life is when you can bend you elbows.
Like if hadn’t even crossed my mind until now, you literally bend you elbows for so many things!
I couldn’t eat or drink
Wash my hair
Dry my hair
Put my hair up
Take my contact lenses out
Wash my face
Scratch my face
Sleep on my side
Get my rucksack on
It was a nightmare! Stephen was a hero though, he fed me my dinner, held a water bottle up for me, sorted my tablets and basically helped me with every life task.
I would have honestly been screwed without him helping me, thanks Stephen!!
Chiang Rai to Luang Prabang
I’m just going to kick this off with the bad news straight away. This journey by bus is absolutely shit, I do not recommend. Spare you sanity and pay the extra cash to fly from Chiang Mai!
First of all we got the local bus from the temporary Chiang Rai station to Chiang Khong.
Note: they say temporary but apparently it’s been there for years and there’s no plans to move it.
This bus cost 65 baht and takes around an hour and 45 minutes.
There is no air conditioning on this bus, but they chuck all the windows and doors open so you do get a breeze. This bus isn’t to bad to be fair.
Crossing the border
You get dropped off a few miles from the border crossing and you must get a tuk tuk from here. It cost us around 20 baht each.
You first go through Thai immigration, this involves completing your departure card and that’s pretty much it.
You must then buy another bus ticket to cross the friendship bridge. I think this was 15 baht, but I can’t remember exactly. It wasn’t much that’s for sure.
This bus then takes you on the short journey across the friendship bridge. I had to sit next to a stranger and as soon as he learnt I was from England he started quoting Shakespeare at me, odd situation.
Once over the bridge you must complete various visa forms to enter the country.
They ask questions like where you will stay in Laos, telephone number etc on the form, but i don’t think they really care. We left it blank and got our visas granted no problem.
Two things you do need are a passport photo of yourself and dollars. For UK citizens it’s 35 dollars for the visa.
We are in
Now safely through the border, we took a tuk tuk to the bus station. I can’t remember how much but whatever they quote you initially only pay half of that. That’s the rule we have been applying, and on speaking to others it seems we are getting a good price.
Our overnight sleeper bus from the Laos border to Luang Prabang was 145,000Kip and departed at 6pm taking 12 hours.
Once we bought our tickets we ventured to find food, there was only strange looking animals being cremated over flames in the market so we gave that a miss.
We found a little restaurant and ordered some food, it was rubbish, but we knew it would be a while until we ate again so beggars can’t be choosers.
I’m hindsight we should have bought dinner and snacks with us.
So the sleeper bus is essentially two layers of small pod like beds. Small being the key word here, what I would have assumed was for one person was actually for two.
You are literally squished in like sardines. It wasn’t an ideal situation for us, Stephens over 6ft and I can’t bend me elbows. Plus we were on top bunk which was fairly difficult for me to get into.
The ‘bedding’ stinks, and the mattress is hardly a mattress, it’s that sticky leather cushion material so you get stuck to it.
For the first few hours I though oh this isn’t so bad, but I soon changed my mind.
The roads are BUMPY and BENDY! You are literally being chucked in all directions.
Stopping for dinner
No flipping way was I eating here. They had all manner of roadkill splashed across a plastic sheet on the floor and a lady with a machete hacked away at the corpse. While the others stuffed it in some weird fridge cabinet (I snuck a picture- vom).
Using the toilet
What toilet? There was no toilet. You stopped on the side of the road, and squatted that was it.
What sleep? (Do you see a theme here?). With the constant shaking and bumping it would have been hard to sleep anyway.
But that coupled with the fact you have no room, shit pillows, and music blaring throughout the night from the drivers speakers met you got ZERO sleep.
It was honestly the longest 13 hours (yes 13 not 12) of my life. Along the way we also saw at least 3 overturned lorries slopping down the cliff banks, this scenery is not sleep inducing either.
Arriving in Luang Prabang
You are dropped at the bus station, and must get a tuk tuk to the city centre.
We didn’t have a hotel or hostel booked so we just walked down the main road and got the first one with available rooms.
Laos blossom hotel was pretty expensive for backpackers at 30 dollars, but I didn’t care. We were so tired, fed up and exhausted I would have paid double that to get in a comfy bed. My elbows were in agony and my hip had seized up from laying in the same position for 13 hours.
The white temple is cool, and not like every other temple.
Chiang Rai hasn’t really got much else going on. The food is average and the sites are not that interesting in my opinion.
Don’t skip, ever!
Thai hospitals are better than I thought, I was well looked after.
Elbows are key to all life tasks, looked after them.
Never ever get an overnight bus. Unless your 4 ft, supper skinny, into road kill and don’t like sleep.