Chiang Mai is bigger than I expected, but relaxed and much more modern than Vietnam. Spectacular Buddhist temples of gold and red with orange robed monks, and I forget my camera battery… mobile phone isn’t really up to the job.
The place seems very quiet. It’s still too early for your average backpacker to be out on the town, but all the bars and restaurants are empty.
Flight went as planned, and from the air I didn’t see any suggestion of flooding. On the ground it’s a different story. The area around the river is flooded, and the river is very high. More rain and it will spill over the walls and make things very difficult.
The hotel I picked is in the flooded zone near the river. If I had chosen one in the old town, I’d be able to get around in the dry, but this one was a good deal and had good reviews. I don’t mind having to wade through the floods to get into the town, just as in Siem Reap, and it won’t be a total loss if it gets worse and I’m stuck in the hotel, which has a pool and a restaurant, but I’m really hoping I’ll be able to get to Chiang Kong on Sunday and continue the trip.
Meanwhile, I’m hoping there are still enough areas above water to be able to have some fun.