Slowly Falling in Love With Chiang Mai

Wednesday, February 3

Tuesday night Tina and I flew from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Bangkok, Thailand in just under an hour's time. We landed, grabbed the first cab we found, headed straight for our hotel (conveniently booked less than 2 miles away) showered off our Cambodia dirt and fell fast asleep...ok I say all this like we were was past 1am by the time we were in bed!

The next morning we woke up, ate a quick breakfast in the hotel lobby, and jumped on the 10am shuttle ride to the airport...we were headed to Chiang Mai at the northern tip of Thailand! Another puddle jumper, up and down in 50 minutes {as opposed to the overnight, 12 hour, sleeper buses everyone thought we should have taken??} and we were in Chiang Mai!  We found our little hostel (another room to ourselves...score!) grabbed my lonely planet, and we were off; the city was ours to explore for the afternoon!

Although our Lonely Planet walking tour of Bangkok did not go as smoothly as planned, we decided we were in a fresh city and we'd take a fresh start! Armed with a walking map of Chiang Mai we started off on our route and spent the afternoon checking out the unique temples, cafes, and side shops that Chiang Mai had to offer.

[ Side note: having never stepped foot into ANY sort of temple before this past August, I've been on a quest to learn what I can about them while I am here. They may not be of my personal religion or belief system, but the artwork and details that go into these buildings is truly a beautiful work of art. Likewise, I have been shocked to see just how truly different the temples are from country to country and region to region. It was also interesting to note {and maybe someone more knowledgeable than me can help me out here} that it appears that different customs and traditions are practiced in the Buddhist temples in Thailand in comparison to those in Taiwan as well as having VERY different images of Buddha displayed in the 2 countries temples. ]

Our temple hoping included, but was not limited to, visits to Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phan Tao, (which had a distinctive Japanese feel to the temple), Si Phum, Wat Pra Sing, & Wat Pad Thai....ok maybe Pad Thai isn't a temple, but we sure had our fill of the delicious Thai noodles! During one of our temple visits we also stumbled upon a group of young boy monks in school. I asked one of their superiors and was told that once a week their classes pertained to some form of temple art and that currently they were working on making tin lanterns and symbols for the temple. It was fun to watch them for a while and get to know a little bit more about what they were doing in those mysterious orange robes we saw all over the country! 

As the afternoon came to a close we found ourselves once again hungry, seriously what's new lol, and about that time stumbled upon a night market outside a large shopping mall...SCORE! Tina and I split some type of Thai noodle soup that looked good as well as a hearty portion of mango sticky rice followed by a Thai crepe of sorts...what I said we were hungry! The market was right up my ally! Filled with hand crafted Thai souvenirs, crafts, and handmade clothes...this girl could have spent hours there! Of course, I was in Thailand, so I had to snag some elephant themed goodies before we left. 

Before calling it a night {as our most anticipated day of our 2 week trip was just around the corner!} we found a rooftop bar to relax in for a while while soaking up the amazing city views...I have to say, Chiang Mai can so quickly steal your heart!

PS - Ok, I can't leave out the funnies, our night didn't end on such a romantic sounding note. The hotel we stayed at came with directions to get to it saying to show the taxi driver the name of a boxing ring and have them drop you off there "near the hotel". We thought "near the hotel" meant it was probably on the same block. Or...about 3 yards from the door of our hostel room haha. So naturally, I stood outside with all the cooks from the restaurant and watched some of the boxing match before going to bed (Mother Goose had a rhyme along those lines right?!?!) I can't say I know anything about boxing, but watching 2 scrawny Asian guys go at it pretty hysterical if you ask me!