Monday, March 15, 2010

Chiang Mai

After the intensity of Bangkok we decided to head to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand for some R&R.  There are several options for getting there from Bangkok including flying, busing it, or taking the train.  Flying is obviously the quickest way but it's almost the most expensive and you don't really get to see any of the Thai countryside.  The bus is the cheapest option but we heard a few stories about crazy drivers and a good deal of vomiting.  So we decided to ride the train up.  We booked ourselves on the night train which left Bangkok at 6pm and arrived in Chiang Mai at 7am the next day.  For about $20 each we were able to get spots in the air-conditioned sleeper train which meant we each had our own bed!  The train is a bit slower than the bus but we were willing to accept a longer journey in exchange for a decent night's sleep.  The train ride was great. There's some nice scenery along the way and we got to watch the sun come up over the mountains as we passed through the countryside on the way into Chiang Mai.  For a couple of bucks extra we also got a nice hot breakfast in the morning served right to our seats.

Chiang Mai was beautiful and much more our speed than Bangkok.  The old city is contained within moats and the remnants of the walls that were built to keep out Burmese invaders some 700 years ago.  We stayed in the eastern part of the old city, close to the Tha Phae Gate in a great little place called Baan Nud-Kun (  We got a nice sized room with an en-suite bathroom for only 400 baht per night which is about $11.  There were cheaper options but you get what you pay for and this place was definitely worth splurging (haha).

We spent 4 days wandering around and getting lost in the little Sois that meander through the city.  Thai Massage is very popular in Chiang Mai so we decided to treat ourselves.  We went to a beautiful place called Muan Boutique where we had 1 hour Thai massages for $5 each.  Worth every penny.

Every Sunday they shut down Ratchadamnoen Rd and have a huge market that almost runs from one side of the city to the other.  They call it a "walking street."  We were lucky enough to be there on a Sunday so we checked it out.  It was great.  Very arts and craftsy.  So much better than the markets we had seen in Bangkok.  The food was incredible too.  We ate green curry, fresh noodle rolls, pad thai omelet and finished up with fried bananas.  Delicious!  And all for the grand sum of about $2!

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to forward your blog to my parents - they did a habitat build along the Mekong in Chiang Mai last November. I just finished making a slideshow for them - and so some of your photos are very familiar :)