Good things happen to those who leave Phuket.
Chiang Mai Travel Blog› entry 68 of 251 › view all entries
May 16th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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