Trip Report III - Chiang Mai
While there are some not-to-be-missed tourist highlights in Chiang Mai - the night market, Doi Suthep - for me, it was mostly just a great place to walk around. It's a city I felt I could grasp in my head, which is pretty much impossible in Bangkok. More laid-back than Bangkok, and way less seedy than Pattaya, it was a good place to stroll, take pictures, eat random street food, take a cooking class, and sit and read, and it just so happens is how I spent my time there. Highlights:
Posted by Bill Stilwell at November 28, 2006 10:21 PM
- The night market is several city blocks of stalls selling the usual Thai market stuff: buddhas, clothing, wallets, watches, massages, etc. etc. The odd thing for me is that I really enjoyed strolling through it but I ended up buying pretty much nothing, as it wasn't that kind of trip for me. What was fantastic was the open-air food section, which was a large seating area surrounded by different restaurants. You picked whatever section looked good and the wait staff took care of you from then on. I never had a meal that wasn't delicious (and cheap, as per usual in Thailand).
- Doi Suthep, just outside Chiang Mai, is almost ridiculously photogenic, as can be seen on the right. I visited early in the morning, and as I approached the (three @#*@#!!* hundred) steps up to the temple proper, rays of light pierced through the mist steaming through the canopy of trees, at which point I almost started looking for mist-generating machines, so postcard-perfect was the moment. The entire temple was beautiful (more pictures here), and really shouldn't be missed if you're anywhere near it.
- I took a one-day cooking class (another thing-to-do in Chiang Mai) at a place called Baan Thai that was a lot of fun, and well worth the $25 cost. We made and ate five dishes over the course of the day; and I can definitively state that Thai cooking is easy when you don't have to do any cleaning and there are several sharp-eyed Thai women watching over your every move. Oh, and if there's one secret to Thai cooking, apparently it's fish sauce, as we used it in everything but deep-friend bananas.
- I was pleasantly surprised to come across several excellent used bookstores in Chiang Mai - I found two books by Niall Griffiths that I haven't been able to find here, and - the real prize - a 1950s Penguin edition of Brazilian Adventure by Peter Fleming (of whom I've written before).