I didn’t really know what to expect of Chiang Mai. I knew it was the second biggest city in Thailand but in my head I wasn’t imagining a city as I also knew you could do a lot of treks in the area so I was imaging more of a quiet, green town.
I had booked a hostel in the ‘old town’ which is basically a complete square of the city that is surrounded by a moat.
I arrived mid day and along with a map from reception and my awesome map app (just like google maps but you don’t need wifi) I headed out for a wander. I loved what I saw straight away. There’s tops of temples popping out of walled off areas and cafés including lots of vegetarian cafés and the thing I noticed most was how cheap is it compared to the South! Literally a third off the price of everything.. Happy days!
They have Saturday and Sunday night markets or walking markets as they call them which are very famous and popular so I was so glad I arrived on Sunday so i could experience one.
About 4 big streets are shut off in the middle of the old town and filled with stalls selling everything you could imagine. The temples in the area are also opened up and are filled with mainly food stalls too. Surprisingly it was a very serene experience, it was very busy but no one was shouting and if you looked at a stall the sellers just let you look instead of being pushy which just puts me off anyway. On each corner you could hear ‘massage massage’ so of course I had to have a 30 minute foot massage by a lovely Thai lady as I watched the world go by and it was soo cheap! Unfortunately the rainy season had hit the North too, we could tell it was about to rain as the wind was picking up and then there was a huge downpour which lasted well into the night but luckily I had just brought a yummy desert and was on my way back to the hostel anyway.
The following day I covered up in my hippy pants and t shirt and headed to the temples. All of the temples are buddhist temples which I really like and monks are very common to see, I can never get over how beautifully built the temples are, there’s so much detail! After a good few hours walking which included lunch at a vegetarian restaurant I headed back to the hostel and then for an amazing Thai massage- I was stood on, pulled and pushed by a tiny Thai lady but I think it may be one of the best I’ve had since I’ve been here and it was only £3.20/$6.00 !!
All in all a good day checking out this awesome city.. And it definitely is a city and not a green small town!