Thailand, Part 3
Day 53, February 19
As much as I love doing the tours, I also love having lazy mornings to go at our own pace. After eating we booked our flight to Krabi for our Southern Thailand trip.
We headed out around 11 and decided to do our own walking tour of Old Chiang Mai and see some of the temples and sights we’d been hearing so much about.
Our first stop was the Three Kings Monument. The three Kings are Mengrai, Ramkamhaeng and Ngam Muang, thought to be the founding fathers of Chiang Mai.
Then we came across Wat Sadue Muang temple. It’s a reference to the spot in the center of town where the temple was built over 700 years ago. There were Buddha statues inside but we decided we didn’t want to take our shoes on and off a million times today so we were selective on the temples we chose to go into. I know it’s lazy of us but it was very, very hot and by now, we’ve seen about 50 temples.
As we were walking around we came across the Police Station. Again, there’s a giant picture of the old King.
I had heard about a giant reclining Buddha so that was our next place to find. It was in Wat Chedi Luang (Temple of the Big Stupa), a Buddhist temple dating from the 14th and 15th centuries.
Then in that same area we came across Sao Inthakhin (the City Pillar). It is known to protect Chiang Mai. Women are not allowed to enter at this one.
On the same grounds as the city pillar and temple is the large viharn (assembly hall) that was built in 1928. Inside is a large standing Buddha known as Phra Chao Attarot that dates back to the late 14th century. This was one I was willing to take my shoes off for because it looked really impressive inside.
Next it was time for lunch. I got the green curry because I wanted to see how others stacked up compared to mine. This one was much spicier than the one I made.
After lunch we stumbled upon a market and got some iced tea. I got the butterfly pea tea (the purple one) and my sister got the rosella tea (the red one). Both were really good but the rosella tea was really, really sweet.
Then we came across the Wat Phan On, a smaller temple that was built in 1501. This was another one that I decided to go into.
The street that we were on was were the huge Sunday night market was going to be held. I had heard so much about this market so I made sure we were going to be in Chiang Mai for one Sunday. I had to take pictures of the street before it was closed off and vendors started setting up. The transformation is amazing. Below is what it looked like during the day when we were temple hopping. Later, you’ll see what it turns into on a Sunday night.
As we were walking around we came across a music festival. They were actually just doing sound check at that point and would take the stage at night to coincide with the market.
We walked towards the Ping River to see what was on the other side since we hadn’t been that way yet. It was a pretty far walk and the sun was beating down on us. We were quickly losing energy.
We came across the Chiang Mai Christian School. After seeing so many temples, this type of building stood out to us.
Then we made it to the King Kawila Monument.
And across the street was a military building. *Note the picture of the old King again*
Then it was time to head back to the market area. We got there around 5:30 and it was already packed.
I walked around and ate and ate and ate. Most things were 5 -20 baht. One US dollar equals about 36 baht. So I felt like these food items were basically free and anything that I saw and hadn’t tried yet, I had to have it.
I got separated from my sister at one point but came across this traditional Thai song and dance performance.
I somehow stumbled upon my sister and we continued to walk the rest together.
There was one point that I had had enough and just wanted out but there really is no way out other then finish walking through all of it. So that’s what we did. And as a reward, I treated myself to some khao soi. Khao Soi is a curry based noodle soup with coconut milk as broth.
The Sunday night market definitely lived up to its hype. I definitely left that street feeling like I had got a good taste of the Thai culture. Our feet were killing us so we decided to call it a night without venturing to the other side of the street.
Day 54, February 20
We kicked off our day with the Wat Phra Singh Buddhist temple. This was one that I did not go into. But the outside looked nice.
It was really hot again so we decided to get another massage. When in Thailand it is necessary to get as many cheap Thai massages as you can. We went to a different place than before and I really regretted that. My massage was horrible. The lady was not listening to me and I kept yelling softer. Then I could tell they were laughing and talking about me. My lady was totally phoning it in. It felt like she would just put her elbow into my spine and sit there then move it a tiny bit up or down. Then at one point she left and came back about 5 minutes later and her hands smelled like chicken and they were clammy. I love hand massages normally but I wanted her to stop touching me at one point because her hands felt sweaty. Then she tried to pop my back and neck and I told her to stop because I didn’t feel confident that she’d do it properly and I was not wanting to throw out my back because of a cheap, horrible massage. My sister said hers was ok but overall the whole thing seemed unprofessional.
After that I wanted to sit down and eat some lunch. We walked over to the food market that we found yesterday but most of the vendors were gone. We figured out that there were a lot yesterday because they were set up early for the Sunday night market. So instead we went back to a restaurant we had passed. I got the papaya salad. The papaya is green and shredded up in the salad.
My sister had found a cat cafe called Catmosphere so we figured out the location and took a tuk-tuk there. It was everything we had hoped it to be and more. *Get ready for cat picture overload*
There all types of cats and they were all adorable. Some slept a lot while some would roam around and we’d have to quickly pet them as they strutted by.
We did have to buy something because the money goes to taking care of the cats. I got the iced Thai tea and my sister got the hot Thai tea.
After we hung out with the cats for a while we walked down to the Chiang Mai University. You can pay to tour the campus but it’s only until 6 and we got there a little after 5 so we opted to just observe the outer buildings.
We hopped into a taxi to head to the night bazaar that we did on the night of the lady-boy show so we could look around one last time and eat.
While on the way I saw a guy on a motorbike with a Texas Ranger shirt on. So naturally I got a picture of it and then when we pulled up next to us we told him we liked his shirt. He had no idea what we were talking about. We figured it was just a shirt for him that he got from a thrift shop or something. But it was still cool to see.
When we got to the market it was a little early so vendors were still setting up. We found a Thai/Indian food place to eat that wasn’t too pricey. I got another traditional Thai dish, the chicken massaman curry. It’s a curry dish with chicken, potatoes and a lot of the same spices used in all the other curry based dishes. It was really good and not too spicy.
We walked around the market a little more before getting a tuk-tuk to take us back to our hostel. We had a lot of repacking to do since we had bought stuff last night at the market.
We head out tomorrow morning for Ko Lanta (an island off the west coast of Thailand) with a night in Krabi.