Good things happen to those who leave Phuket.

Chiang Mai Travel Blog

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Here at last! At the Chiang Mai airport.
We departed our lovely, wonderful, gorgeous apartment today at 5am, to catch a plane to Bangkok and then on to Chiang Mai. I think our home is only thing we will miss about Phuket! I felt absolutely giddy to be leaving. We have learned a good lesson here though: we are better suited for city life than a beachy island setting, at least on this trip.  

We were early to the airport, so we hung out in Thai Air’s Royal Silk Club room for an hour. Then we had a short flight to Bangkok in Business Class, then a 3+ hour wait there, again spent in Thai Air’s lounge.
Our welcoming party.
  I checked my email and…! I’ve been gone from Phuket for just a few hours and already my luck has changed! In my mailbox was an email from American Express, telling me they WOULD honor my $4000 claim for the traveler’s checks after all!  These checks were stolen a few days ago in Phuket, and Amex previously denied the claim because I hadn’t signed the upper left corner of the checks when I received them. So this is excellent news! Hooray! 1) Phuket is long behind me and 2) already I am $4000 richer. Things are looking up!

Our flight to Chiang Mai was another quick one, in a huge plane. Business Class went all the way back to Row 25, and was completely full. They served a chicken dish that Steve reported was “the best chicken he has ever had in his life.” He couldn’t stop raving about it! They didn’t have any vegetarian food, but I had some rice which was pretty tasty and kind of sweet.
Our room.

 
At Chiang Mai, we were met by a very nice lady and a driver from our hotel, the Royal Princess. It was pouring rain as we drove in heavy traffic to the hotel, and it was hard to get a sense of the place on that drive. It wasn’t very nice, but you really can’t judge a city by the road to its airport.

The hotel is kind of old, but nice, and the service was very good when we checked in. We had noticed at the airport that the workers seemed especially smiley and helpful, and this was the case at the hotel as well. So many smiles, kind friendly faces (and a little joking around too) gave me a really good first impression of Chiang Mai.

Our room is a far cry from how we lived in Phuket. That place was huge so we really spread out. We will have to “condense” again, like when we were in Japan. In fact, the set up here is very similar to our Namba hotel in Osaka.
Something we happened upon during our walk.
I have a desk, and Steve has a somewhat comfy wing chair where he can watch his TV downloads, so I think we will be happy and comfortable here.

We set off to do a quick exploration of the area and to find a late lunch for me, since I hadn’t really had food on the airplane. Our hotel is located outside of the Old City, right next to Chiang Mai’s “famous” Night Bazaar. Unfortunately, we picked a really ugly major street to walk along, but soon enough we found… a vegetarian restaurant! Well, how nice! In Phuket I hadn’t found one place that advertised vegetarian dishes, so I was surprised to see this place here. It had stopped raining so we sat outside (kind of hot for that) and I devoured Pad See Eiw and Mixed Vegetables. It was delicious and I felt very happy. Steve wasn’t feeling all that well, so he just had 7-up and a few of my vegetables.
Wee entertainer at the night bazaar.


We walked back on a smaller street lined with some interesting bars and restaurants. There were a couple Irish Pubs with Guinness on tap, which served to further enhance my opinion of Chaing Mai.

We went back to the room for a nap (we had gotten up at 3:45am and were beat), then we set off again at about 8pm. This time Steve was the one who was starving, so we found a food court in the Night Bazaar across the street. There was some sort of talent show / live entertainment happening on a stage near where we sat and I took a few pictures of a pretty little girl doing a Thai (I assume) dance.

We walked through the bazaar, and there were some very interesting things for sale. I might have to go shopping here and make a shipment back home! Lots of Thai silks (tablecloths, pillow covers, etc), carvings, and of course the ubiquitous t-shirts with funny sayings.
Carvings for sale at the night market.
The vendors were not aggressive at all, which was nice. Almost everyone was wearing smiles, and there were friendly faces everywhere.

During our first walk we had stopped and spoken to a young man (he was in town to get fitted for a wedding suit. We kept waiting for a sales pitch from him, but it never came. He was just a nice guy making conversation!) He had told us about a special parade and ceremony where boys become monks and get their heads shaved, so we tried to find that. No luck. We waited at the open gate area near the Old City for awhile, but no monks showed up for hair cuts. Maybe he had the wrong date.

So we have seen very little of the city so far, but my first impression is a good one. People seem so friendly, and although there are definitely many tourists here it’s not like Phuket, where it seems everything has been built for the tourists. I am really looking forward to the coming days… there is a lot to see and do here. I hope we have enough time!  Ha. There’s never enough time. 
 
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Here at last! At the Chiang Mai ai…
Here at last! At the Chiang Mai a…
Our welcoming party.
Our welcoming party.
Our room.
Our room.
Something we happened upon during …
Something we happened upon during…
Wee entertainer at the night bazaa…
Wee entertainer at the night baza…
Carvings for sale at the night mar…
Carvings for sale at the night ma…
Steve waits for check in at the Ro…
Steve waits for check in at the R…
Me at Steve at the Royal Princess.
Me at Steve at the Royal Princess.
Royal Princess lobby.
Royal Princess lobby.
Itll do!
It'll do!
Our luggage exploded!
Our luggage exploded!
Things are looking up.
Things are looking up.
Lunchtime beverage.
Lunchtime beverage.
Night bazaar entry.
Night bazaar entry.
Night market stalls in front of ou…
Night market stalls in front of o…
Steve finds dinner.
Steve finds dinner.
Food display.
Food display.
Food court at the Night Bazaar.
Food court at the Night Bazaar.
Young Thai dancer at the Night Baz…
Young Thai dancer at the Night Ba…
Young girl doing Thai dance at the…
Young girl doing Thai dance at th…
Food Court at th night bazaar.
Food Court at th night bazaar.
Tiffany for sale in the night ma…
"Tiffany" for sale in the night m…
They are everywhere.
They are everywhere.
My vegetarian lunch.
My vegetarian lunch.
I bought mango-sticky rice from he…
I bought mango-sticky rice from h…
Chiang Mai
photo by: Stevie_Wes