We flew to Chiang Mai directly from Phuket with Thai Airways, it only took an hour, which was surprising given the distance covered! Soon after checking in at the hostel, we decided to head out for a wander. Armed with a map, we tried to make our way towards the old city, which is bordered by a moat.
With absolutely no idea where we were, we obviously had our confused helpless tourist faces on and soon, a friendly tuk tuk driver lady came over to see if we needed help. She offered to take us to a few temples so we could get our bearings, so we jumped in the tuk tuk while she bought some street food from the market. She offered us some…I’m not 100% sure what it was but it seemed to be coconut milk, flour and spring onions baked in a hot griddle mould type thing so they were dome-shaped. Quite tasty!
Soon we headed off around Chiang Mai, it was busy but nothing compared to Phuket. It seemed much calmer, full of coffee houses and garden restaurants.
Here are a couple of the temples we saw…we hadn’t seen a wooden one or a silver one before so that made a nice change.
When we were at one of the temples, the bell started chiming to invite people to the evening prayers and suddenly all of the surrounding dogs (there are stray dogs everywhere in Thailand!) started howling! If you didn’t hear the bell, you would have heard the dogs!)
We asked our driver to drop us off near a market and had an explore. I picked up a fresh coconut to drink, which was lovely – I then couldn’t find a bin anywhere! Wandering around with a coconut when you’re drinking the water – fine. Wandering around with an empty coconut – you feel a bit stupid. We decided to get an early dinner so popped into a nearby restaurant, I awkwardly passed my coconut shell to the waitress…I had Chiang Mai sausage-fried rice, which was good. The sausage was interesting…quite sweet but very fatty. We walked back to our hostel via the pancake stall.
The dough is really stretchy and she kind of, patted it down before stretching it in the air. Like pizza-making on a much smaller scale.
When it was big enough, she folded it into a square and fried it, when it was golden, she took it off the heat, drizzled condensed milk on it and then chocolate syrup before rolling it up a bit like a burrito. It was lovely! Hard to eat while walking… I’m pretty sure I ate quite a bit of the paper covering it…
The next day we went for another wander into town, promptly got lost and then it started chucking it down. We took shelter in The Lost Bookshop and it was a cracking find! Full to the brim with books – my kind of shop! Unfortunately, I don’t have room in my house let alone my rucksack for all the books I want so I didn’t buy any…
After demonstrating pretty incredible self-control…we decided to head back and sort out our journey to Laos etc before heading back out later on. Our options were: three day journey combining 7-hour stints on a coach, slow boat and staying in unknown accommodation…or a direct flight that takes one hour… there’s a tough one! We booked the flights and then found some accommodation – done!
The next day we decided to head to a café/restaurant called Angel’s Secrets, recommended by Trip Advisor. It was a really cute place and the waitress was so sweet and smiley.
I had a sugar and lime crêpe, which was really tasty – might substitute lemon for lime when I make pancakes at home! Kim had a yummy looking omelette with wholemeal toast. It was just what we needed and while we were in there, we missed another rain shower! The weather is quite changeable here but still very warm!
When we got back to our hostel, the Saturday walking street market was being set up along the road. It was huge! It stretched up the whole road and had loads of things on offer. The area that our hostel was in is famous for silver so there were lots of stalls selling handmade silverware.
There was lots of street food on offer too. I sampled some fried quails eggs with soy sauce, a corn on the cob and a potato croquette. Kim had a beast of a waffle with chocolate sauce, it smelt amazing! We had a great wander around this market and decided it was the best thing we’d done in Chiang Mai.
The next day we were flying to Laos so we headed back to the hostel for an early-ish night so we could pack up our bags.
We’ve had an amazing time in Thailand and both wish to return in the future!