Expat Travels: Chiang Mai, Kinda

Thursday, January 05, 2017

So now that I think of it, I did next to nothing in Chaing Mai other than the cooking school. How Sway??

The airline altered my flight schedule, which in turn shortened my time in the city. I was supposed to use my first day there to tour the temples in Chiang Mai but we didn't get into the city until late evening. The rest of my days were spoken for. Bummer.

Chiang Mai was soooo unexpected, though. I imagined a quiet, serene, mountain town and I couldn't have been more wrong. It's the second largest city in Thailand behind Bangkok and it is BUSY.

I lodged at the NAP Hotel in the Old City. Chiang Mai is supposed to be the cheapest city out of the main three, but I spent the most money here. Even though I spent the least amount of time in Chiang Mai compared to the other cities, I somehow spent more on lodging. Womp :( I found food to be more expensive here, too.

My hotel in Chiang Mai
$75 a night would be a deal anywhere else

I was right next to the night market, so it was noisy at times as well. I spent my days outside of the city, so when I got back to the hotel in the evenings, I was so tired that the noise never bothered me.

The night market is an experience. I thought that the prices were already dumb low, yet people still haggled. Everything you can think of is there, but since I'm team carryon, I only bought a few of the lounge pants that everyone wears and a dress.

I bought several of the airy, lounge pants at the old city night market
Massage parlor next to my hotel
200 baht an hour [$5.50, clawd]

First day trip was to Doi Inthanon National Park. It's about two hours outside of Chiang Mai. The weather is much cooler at the park, which is the highest point in Thailand. So dress accordingly.

The summit in Thai

At Doi Inthanon's summit
Cloudy and cool

Park art

One of two Park pagodas

I am not a fan of poverty porn as I call it, so I did not visit with nor take photos of the Hmong Village people nor the Hill Tribe, but I did patron their businesses.

Hill Tribe Village
The homes are made from bamboo and only last a season
The Hill Tribe people fled Myanmar to Thailand during the first war
They live in extreme poverty and receive limited government support

Hill Tribe Village entry
Phalluses were all over Thailand as an homage to good fertility
Thailand is experiencing low birth rates and an aging population

A day trip to Chiang Rai is also must, if only to see White Temple in its splendor. This was my main reason for coming north.

NO justice


Our Chiang Rai tour included an excursion over to Laos for a few hours. The northern most area where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar border is known as the Golden Triangle. You can take a boat across the river to Laos [must have passport and pay the landing fee of 30 baht, no visa required for the day trip].

Headed over to Laos by boat
The river serves as a border for three countries
The area that intersects is known as "no man's land"

Country # 35 or nah? Does it count? :)

Serpent whiskey, only $2 but nope thanks

Myanmar border, we didn't venture over there
So even though I didn't do much in the city, I did a lot with the time that I had. Would I go back? Probably not. I wasn't particularly moved by the north in general. I went for the history and some culture and I got it. I got my White Temple visit, I'm satisfied with that.

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