My favorite city in Thailand (so far)
Chiang Mai Travel Blog› entry 24 of 46 › view all entries
Oh My. Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai.... I had a magical and fantastic experience in this bustling city in north Thailand. I had originally planned on staying here for just three days, but ended up staying for ten! It is the perfect mixture of a small city surrounded by nature and northern Thai hill-tribes.
I schmoozed my way into staying at, "Julie's Guest House" - which is clearly "the" place to stay in Chiang Mai. (Those who have been here can attest to this since we all keep bumping into one another throughout all of SE Asia). It is certainly a great place to meet fellow travelers.
Julie's has a long list of things to do while in Chiang Mai, so I tried a few......
I took a cooking class! 15 of us started at the morning market where our master chef named, "Yaow" taught us about local produce and spices. Then, we went to the cooking school and learned how to make (and eat) six different plates.
Nature was calling me so I left the town for a few days. I went on a 3-day/2-night mini-trek into the hills outside of Chiang Mai (you can read about that in my next blog entry!)! In brief, twelve of us rode elephants up a mountainside until it was too steep for them to continue.
The next two Trek days were filled with lazy meandering along the river, swimming in waterfalls, taking photos, river rafting and even bamboo rafting. Bamboo must be one of nature's most useful gifts to South East Asians.
Back in Chiang Mai, Thai Boxing is a huge sport. So, I went to a fight night. Thai Boxing is a mixture of boxing, wrestling and karate - where you can punch, kick and tackle your opponent. It is one-part ceremonial and one-part entertainment. No wonder America's UFC (Ultimate Fighting) is so popular in Thailand. The Thai boxing event started with 9-year old boys that weigh 42lbs. It is crazy to watch these little boys go at it.
Chiang Mai had the BEST markets and shopping of any city on my trip so far. And, the prices were so reasonable that I often didn't even need to bargain. How can you bargain with a local hill-tribe woman about paying less than $4 for a beautiful hand-carved wooden vase? I've learned every negotiating trick in the book so ask me and I'll tell you how. The package I sent home must have weighed 7 kg. Oops. You can't negotiate with the Postal Service.