Chiang Mai (up North)

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January 9th 2012
Published: January 11th 2012
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Oldest Wat
9th Jan ’12 Chiang mai

So after a pre ordered breakfast which was definitely not worth the money (6 tiny biscuits, a cup of orange squash, 1 slice of pineapple and a bit of black tea) we pulled into Chiang Mai. The train was met by hundreds of taxi drivers, tuk tuk drivers, people with signs etc and we soon found a tuk tuk to take us to our guesthouse – Yindee in the old city.

Chiang Mai is the 2nd largest city in Thailand so I was a bit apprehensive about what it would be like and how packed and busy it would be. Certainly the main roads are busy but the Old City is a really nice area full of little windy alleys with gardens, trees and flowers everywhere and the inevitable Wat on every corner!

After our 11 hour train journey we got to the guest house at about 8.30 am and had to wait for the room to be free, as check out wasn’t until 12 we decided to leave the bags and go and have a look around. We soon came across a road full of little cafes, bakeries and shops and found a nice place for breakfast. The menu was great and the food was too so I reckon we will be seeing more of this place. Purely by chance we bumped into our New Zealand friends again in there!

By now we are both shattered and headed back to the Yindee and eventually got our room which is nice and comfy. We then just crashed out for a couple of hours.

Then we went out to explore, the area around here is really sweet and we found a fruit and veg market with lots of western tourists with little wicker baskets were buying their fresh produce ready for their Thai cooking classes. We left them to it and came across a hairdresser/barbers so Howard decided to get his hair cut as by now its looking a bit sprouty! When he asked they only had no.1 or 3 clipper blades and he usually uses a 2 so he thought sod it I will get a no.1. He now looks like a Buddhist monk!!!!! It really was a baldy job neither of us could stop laughing. While he was in their an Australian guy was sat with his hair dye on!!! And talked at us non-stop, he was a really weird character and a definite one of Howard’s ex-pats on the run types!

Due to lingering knackeredness from the train journey and a subsequent massive bout of homesickness we had an early tea and back to the room. Where Debbie was on skype – well she could hear us but we couldn’t see or hear her but she could type her replies and questions, it was rather a surreal experience but really cheered me up!

10th Jan ’12 Chiang Mai

After a good solid night’s sleep we are both feeling more awake and I’m not so home sick anymore. So we decided to tackle the Lonely Planet’s walking tour of the Old City featuring yes you guessed it about another gazillion Wats!

These Wats are all living temples so armed with my trusty scarf we set off. They were each stunning in their own way and although the best was supposed to be the largest one we both felt the oldest one was by far the nicest. It may not have had as many Buddhas but it was more simple inside with one huge golden Buddha, hardly
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Another Wat
any tourists and a lovely air of serenity.

The temples were all really ornately decorated with twirly roof edgings, lots of gold leaf and lots of colour. Orange robed monks were everywhere and as I had read women should always step into the road out of their way when walking I was madly hopping off and on pavements with Howard telling me off as no other tourists were bothering! But once you know the rules you know them so what else could I do?!

Once again we hiked for miles and by the end we weren’t even bothering to go inside the temples just looking at them from outside! As it was by now so hot we went back to the guesthouse and just lazed about to build up our energy for the Night Market.

Well we walked the long distance down to the market and what a treat it was! The whole road was lined on both sides with stalls all selling wonderful things and on either side of the road where separate market areas. It took us hours! I saw so many things I wanted to buy both for presents and for me, but once again the back pack ruled – bugger!!

In one of the markets there were stages set up and we saw a bit of Thai dancing – all long twirling fingers, careful steps and intricate head movements, another had a young girl playing guitar and singing ala Alanis Morisette and yet another was in a tent where the Lady Boy cabaret was going to take place – they all looked fabulous!

After a few rests and drinks we decided to get a tuk tuk back and once again sods law struck – the driver was adamant he knew where our guest house was but round and round we went down increasingly quieter emptier streets until he admitted defeat. By now we are totally disorientated and unable to see the map so just went on instinct and thanks to the morning’s walking tour managed to spot the 3 Kings (god bless 'em) and so got back! We even managed to catch Holly on skype yay!

11th Jan ’12 Chiang Mai

Today’s a taking it very easy one as we are setting off early tomorrow to do the Mae Hong Son Loop. So all we have done today is have a foot massage (me) and hire a motorbike (Howard). The foot massage wasn’t the best I’ve had but it was an hour of pampering which was much needed. As it was a reflexology massage it involved much poking with a stick which was a bit odd but it has certainly loosened everything up, so all good. The old bloke next to me was having a pedicure and manicure! So I spent my time watching him having his corns trimmed lol.

Well that’s it for today really, the usual down the café for meals, arranging a room for our return in a week and storing our rucksacks, using the internet and getting this ruddy blog up to date!!

Next stop Khun Yuam somewhere in the Northern Highlands.

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Chiang Mai

The 3 kings

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