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Published: July 24th 2013
Our first full day was spent exploring Chiang Mai, visiting many temples in the city, as well as Doi Suthep, a temple quite far up a mountain on the edge of the city. Doi Suthep is reached by climbing 309 steep steps, or there's a cable car for lazy people, which I resisted! The view from the top over the city is well worth the climb though, as well as the temple itself being stunning, and the altitude meant that it was pleasantly cooler than the remainder of the city.
That evening we wandered over to the night market after it stopped raining where we bought a few pieces, ate dinner and tried to find the cabaret that a group of people from the hostel were going to. We found a cultural show, and presuming it was the right place sat down to watch - only to wonder why on earth everyone had been raving about it!! It was only the next day when we asked everyone in our hostel if they'd actually gone to the cabaret that we found out we were in the wrong market!
Luckily we went to the right show the next night, guided by
our hostel staff, and it was amazing. The ladyboys were so enthusiastic and put on an amazing show, especially considering it only cost the price of a drink to watch. The show was so good that we ended up returning 2 days later! Most of the acts had changed too, so I could happily go back again and again!
On Friday night we also had a dinner in our hostel cooked by Aree (our hostess), which is a Friday night tradition there to get everyone together in the hostel. The food was amazing - there were 4 different vegetable dishes, rice and noodles, as well as a salad. We all ate as much as we could, but unfortunately still couldn't finish it off! They only asked for a donation in a hat to cover the cost of ingredients too, so that they can continue providing meals every Friday for their guests.
Before we left Chiang Mai we had read about a waterfall in the guidebook that you can swim in, so a group of 8 of us from the hostel headed out one day for a day trip to the waterfall. Little did we know that when Aree
arranged the transport for us she arranged it to a different waterfall. Whilst some of us made the most of the situation and appreciated that whilst the waterfall was small and there was not enough room to swim, half of the group were seriously unimpressed and walked round miserable for the rest of the day! We were glad to ditch them for an hour at the next stop when we went off for lunch!
That night Jess, David, Kai and I went on a cooking course with Asia Scenic cooking school. In 4 hours they took us to an amazing market to view the fresh ingredients before taking us back to the cookery school where we learned to cook 4 dishes. I chose to cook Pad Thai, Spring rolls and Kow Soi, the local curry, so also learned to cook red curry paste from scratch, which was used as the base to the curry. All the food was surprisingly easy to cook, and tasted amazing! Unfortunately I couldn't finish everything as it was a big 3 course meal, but it tasted so good that I tried my best!!
Today, our last day in Chiang Mai was the hottest
and sunniest so far. After walking through town back to the market we visited on the cooking course, as it was the cheapest we've seen and full of amazing sights, we visited the Sunday markets too and all did a bit of souvenir shopping. In the afternoon David, Emma, Jess and I went to a hotel a few streets away to use their swimming pool, which was an amazing way to spend the afternoon, and long overdue! The hotel was quite quiet, so there were not many other people using the pool, meaning we were free to relax both in the pool and on the sun loungers all afternoon.
I will be sad to leave Chiang Mai, our hostel - the living place - and the friends we have made here, however we have booked our bus to Pai for the morning, so it's time to move on and see what Pai has to offer.
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