Visiting Chiang Mai was a mystery for both Mick and I, we really didn’t know what to expect and we weren’t entirely sure if we had enough time to experience much as our stay was just 24 hours. we knew the city was surrounded by beautiful temples and the river in the middle of the city made it pretty but that was about it. We got there on a Sunday and we were really looking forward to it as this is the day…..well night…..of the famous Sunday night market. It’s one of those markets that everyone that’s visited has only positive comments…..now having visited myself I believe it was the best market in the whole of Thailand. They start at around 5pm and continues till very late. Everything and anything was available and we managed to buy a few authentic pieces as keepsakes to remind us of Thailand. The food stalls were so yummy and a good place to experience Thailand’s famous street food and everything is dirt cheap too. The Thae Phae Gate is where it officially starts, but be sure to enter as the street food stalls are beyond the gates. You can have a meal for less than 50 Baht (€1.40)!! So if you are in Chiang Mai make sure you visit the market, it runs every Sunday.
We decided to stay at the SleepBox Hotel, the rooms are shipping containers that have been stacked 3 high and transformed into rooms, it’s a really good concept. They were clean and comfortable and for €20 (without breakfast) it was a pretty good deal. This place has won design awards and we highly recommend it……but be warned, print a road map before you travel because the local taxi drivers don’t seem to have a clue where it is!! We, quite comically, got lost twice looking for it while in the back of a cab!!. Check out their website www.sleepboxthailand.com
Walking to the town centre is only a matter of 15 minutes from the hotel. Alternatively you can take a red pick-up truck type taxi for 20 Baht (0.50c) each.
What we loved about Chiang Mai was the amount of temples, they were so beautiful and great for taking pictures. One in particular that we loved was Wat Chedi Luang, it was mind blowing and situated in the middle of the city. As Mick and I walk everywhere it was accessible from our hotel. To be fair we only had 24 hours in Chiang Mai, so we decided to just do everything on foot.
We had two massages in one day and they were great. A Thai massage is roughly 250 Baht (€7) for 1 hour, its peanuts considering what you would be expected to pay back home. It was unfortunate as we wanted to try the Thai women’s prison massage place but was unable to get an appointment, a friend had recommended this place as she had been and was extremely complimentary about the quality of the massage. Basically these women were in jail for crimes and now they are being given training and skills that will allow them to reintegrate into society once released. I think it’s a great concept as everyone deserves a second chance:))
Instead of having a usual breakfast in the morning we opted to have Thai pancakes and Thai style Frappe in a new place called Burgers & Spring-rolls….I know, the name doesn’t scream breakfast menu but it did do breakfast food’s so we decided to give it a go. It ended up being a really sweet (literally) way to start the day and made us quite full, just so you know, Thai’s love Carnation Milk, they use it literally everywhere and in everything, so if you don’t like your food (or drink) overly sweet then make sure you request it that way. At one place Mick was asked to state at a level of 1 to 5 how sweet he wanted his drink, he requested 2……he was sure they must have understood 9!! Another cute little place for a quick-stop to grab a drink is the Plum Cafe……great juices and smoothies.
We didn’t spend enough time in Chiang Mai to be able to offer a great picture of it but the time we did spend was a lot of fun. Would we visit again? Yeah, probably, but only if we had enough time to maybe rent a motorbike and travel a little bit further afield than we were able to this time around.