And on to the mainland!

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October 19th 2016
Published: January 23rd 2017
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We left Phuket relieved in a way and on to Chiang Mai for some sun and to see more of Thailand. We had a short flight of just under two hours with Air Asia to land in Chiang Mai. The flight was short but interesting, we flew with Air Asia who charge extra for everything (bit like an Asian version of Ryanair) so Alex and I were sat behind each other, both with a window seat. Alex had to ask a lady and a gentleman to move so he could sit in his seat, this lady was rather plus size and as we were told to buckle up, Alex text me to say her seatbelt wouldn't fasten :-/. They got her an extension and all seemed fine but she seemed to be taking up her seat as well as her partners, so her partner was sat practically in Alex's seat with Alex being forced to nearly kiss the window. A few minutes in still taxi'ing on the runway and Alex had to ask the guy to move because he was so squashed... I sat behind smug as anything with the two petite Chinese girls sat next to me! We were up in the air, not long before we would be landing and I decided that it was time to catch up on my junk that I like to watch on SkyGo, I was just getting into a bit of 90 Day Fiance when I felt this sharp jab in my arm, several more jabs and I looked to one of the petite Chinese girls next to me who did not look too happy, she demanded with hand signals that I close my window blind as my screen was reflecting off the window and into her face, I had been told. I shut the blind and continued to watch 90 Day Fiancé whilst rubbing my arm. This flight should have been short but sweet, it was short but not sweet as we then had to endure seaweed and other unfamiliar concoctions as the Chinese girls tucked into the most fishiest picnic I have ever smelt or seen.

We got off the plane and it was a relatively smooth transfer to our accommodation. I had read online that Chiang Mai is one of the only places where it is actually to get a taxi directly inside the airport terminal rather than outside. So for a small amount of Baht we ventured into the city with our fantastic taxi man, who spoke fluent English and had a great sense of humour. Although he nearly dropped us off at accommodation that wasn’t ours (two places with the same name), we had arrived and were ready to cool down before heading out for some street food. For those who have been to Thailand, you will know all too well, no amount of preparation will prepare you for the humidity you will endure and a shower was on the cards! Well about a 100 ants had beaten us to that shower and were swimming around in our bathroom. I know Thailand can be cheaper than back home but we had paid a lot less in Thailand so far and I was not impressed. Alex wanted to wash them away and leave it but as I could see them crawling in and out of cracks in the bathroom, I got on my high horse and explained that our room had a lot of ants and as I had been recently savaged by mosquitoes I did not want to add many more to my collection of bites. She also wanted to wash them away but when I explained how badly I react to bug bites we were shown another room, there was a few ants and it was a little bit smaller but it was better than what we had originally been shown.

We started to unpack when the lady came back with some sprays, she started opening all the windows and asked us to leave. She then explained in her broken English that she was going to fumigate the room, which was nice of her but we had to leave for half an hour. So the shower had to wait, we grabbed our bags and off out we went again into the sweltering heat. We were staying across from the square at ThaPae Gate and as we crossed the busy road we were swarmed by ladies wearing all black. We noticed a huge monument of the king with people crying, very sombre music being played and the Thai people signing books of condolence. The ladies approached us and asked if they could pin the black ribbons on us, out of respect for the Thai people of course we said yes but then the awkward part came where a bunch of photographers flocked towards the two pink, sweaty but respectful Brits who stood alongside the Thai people wearing the black ribbons. We didn’t know whether to smile for the camera or just stare. We possibly ended up in a local paper somewhere and I would have loved to have seen our awkward faces! Thankfully a bit of a wonder and the time was up and we could finally return to our room. We then washed away the fumigated ants and mosquitoes and showered and changed in hope of finding the food markets.

We walked and walked for literally miles in search of the food markets, Alex staring at me with his not so happy sweaty face, with the mumbling of “I’m sure you said they were near…” and then “I’m hungry..” It was dark, not a lot of light and after an hours walk we seemed to come across the food markets. We were both underwhelmed to say the least, all the stuff I had read online for this? Now we have found Thailand’s hygiene to not always be the best but this was something else. I did not want anything but Alex was hangry and insisted on eating. I ordered something, who knows what and Alex’s food looked like something a cat had thrown up, but because he was hangry he wolfed it down. I was slightly more cautious with my food and noticed a huge mosquito in it…I shared this with Alex and we returned my meal to the very angry Chef. She grabbed her seasoning bowl and went to add seasoning on top of it, to which her daughter had to explain. We also had to endure a lot of people ‘grozzing’ next to our feet as we ate… to which Alex turned to them and said “you… dirty… bastard… we are trying to eat!” I couldn’t help but laugh as he echoed Peter Kay. We threw our food away and walked the hour back hungry. I felt Trip Advisor had lied to me!

20th October 2016.

We unpacked and had a later start than usual. We wondered through The ThaPae Gate and found the most gorgeous temple called Wat Pan On which in English means “Pan on Temple” (practically fluent in Thai now J !) We had read lots of negative reviews about travel shops in Chiang Mai and after several local Thai’s seeing that we were tourists, many stopped to ask us where we are from/why we are here/do we need help. Many recommended a tour shop that is Government approved. We visited the shop and got to speak with a lovely lady called Nunu from ‘Travel Smile’. She was so helpful and wrote us down an A4 list of phrases and words to help us on our adventure in Thailand. She shared trade secrets e.g. speaking in Thai to haggle for your bargains will get you a cheaper price. We had already discussed prior to visiting what sort of activities we wanted to do in Chiang Mai and we agreed we would pick one activity each and the other had to do it. I was the nice girlfriend and picked the Thai Farm Organic cookery school. Alex picked the jungle trekking to which Nunu asked us if we are good walkers… we worriedly said yes. We should have known then! We paid our deposits and headed to Wat Chedi Luang which is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai. It is the most stunning and peaceful temple with fantastic mini temples in the grounds. It is also well known for its onsight ‘Buddha School’. We walked around and found a sign that said you can speak to the Buddha’s and ask questions. What a thing to do, we sat down with the Buddha who was from Laos as well as his Buddha in training friend, who was from Liverpool. A scouse Buddha was very funny to hear and see! We learnt things such as, as a female I cannot sit alongside a Buddha nor can I touch him. It would be seen as the Buddha being disrespectful to Alex, the heads are sacred but this is also a belief in Thailand in general, you should never touch anybody’s head in Thailand. Ideally, they shouldn’t handle money although you do see the odd one in 7/11. It was a very interesting discussion and unique experience and one we would recommend. It was free but we placed a donation in a box as we left.

After discussions with the lady on the desk where we were staying, we found out that Trip Advisor had not in fact lied to us, and we had took a wrong turn and ended up at the wrong food market! We set off again, and eventually found the food market. It was huge and well worth a visit. On the way back, Alex did not feel too well.

The following day we were supposed to be visiting the Thai Farm cookery school however I text Nunu to say that Alex was quite poorly and asked if we could rearrange. Half an hour later we hear a Thai lady banging on the door shouting our names. We opened the door and there Nunu was looking all flustered and worried. She came in, with fruit for Alex and to see if he needed a doctor. What a woman! We explained and she had already rang and rearranged for us! Things like this restore your faith in humanity and which is why if you are in Chiang Mai we would recommended this company over so many others. Nunu left and it was a lazy day for us both. Alex needed to rest as the following day we were off to The Elephant Nature Park and I told him that is one activity we are not missing!

For now, from Chiang Mai, with love x

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