Once again reluctantly rising at 6AM to catch a flight, Tarryne and I had a very hurried breakfast. Since I’m trying to wean myself off dairy, I had some “soy milk with sesame” instead of the usual. It came in a grey bottle – or so I thought. Turns out the entire milk was a grey colour. It tasted alright, but trust me, there’s nothing stranger than seeing cornflakes soaked in what looks like Polyjuice Potion at 6:00 on a Thai morning.
Typically, I had been worrying about getting back to Don Mueang Airport for the whole week in Bangkok, since I really hated the worse-than-rustbucket-Italian train we got into the city. For any travellers reading this in search of information, we found that the best way to get there was to take the metro to Chatuchak Park (or BTS to Mo Chit, they’re in the same area), and get on the A1 or A2 bus from here. The bus journey was surprisingly pleasant, air conditioned, and not too crowded. Plus it was only 30 baht. Not bad. This info may be outdated in a few years, though, because we saw they genuinely were building the new train link the Thai government have allegedly been discussing for decades…
Our flight to Chiang Mai was very smooth. It didn’t stop me from feeling anxious, but I think I am definitely improving after that infamous Penang-Langkawi flight. We got a taxi to our aparthotel type thing, and headed straight out to see the city.
Now, Chiang Mai is very interesting from a bird’s eye view. It’s basically a big square. This is because the city is surrounded by some really cool Middle Ages walls. Within these walls, there are lots of Wats, including some as old as the 1200s. We saw the oldest today, and it was stunning. It looks like something you might see in a Tomb Raider game (although I realise that comment makes me sound something of a philistine):
This shrine contains a relic from Buddha’s hair. The cute Thai couple getting married were an added bonus.
We continued on to explore some of Chiang Mai’s markets. Luckily for us, it’s Sunday, and the Chiang Mai Walking Street market was on. This huge market runs almost from one side of the old city to the other, and it took us hours to get through. It was here that I attempted to get out of my “don’t buy it if you don’t need it” mindset. Since I trained so hard to put myself in this mindset in the first place, it was pretty tough. I did push myself to buy a £2 scarf to hang up somewhere, but I’m not 100% – I might give it as a gift.
Here comes the really exciting bit of our day, though. We wanted to get to the night market, which was a little out of town. So, we took a songthaew, which is a glorified pick up truck that serves as a public taxi. I have to say, it was quite fun, even if health and safety laws at home would have gone mental. Here’s Tarryne’s picture to prove it.
I know I look nervous, but I just constantly look that way. Do ignore me.
I have a sense that I will like Chiang Mai. As well as the plethora of vegetarian options available for me to eat (at last), it’s a lot calmer than hectic Bangkok. For someone who visits London a lot, the Surrey life has really got to me. I also like the markets I’ve seen thus far, and all the small but perfectly formed Wats. Each one has its own architectural style which distinguishes it from the others, and seem to have interesting little histories attached to them. I’ve also been pleased by the chic/trendy cafes and bars we’ve seen walking about, and combined with feeling like it’s a pretty safe place to be out at night in (we’ve seen hundreds of tourists, including single women), it’s very much my cup of tea.
The only thing that bothers me are the annoying American bratty kids.