Oh Hiiiiii, Chiang Mai!
I will admit, the last post was full of fluffy bullshit. That was only to prepare you for what you're about to read. Now it's time to share the actual exciting side of Thailand. I'm talking street markets, elephant-petting, temple-hopping, food-making, waterfall-climbing, and club-crawling.
Chiang Mai has it all. It's like Bangkok's cooler, more chilled out sister. Kind of like me in comparison to my sister (LOL JK SIST). Remember that photo of a poster in my preachy Elephant post? Oh you.. don't? Well it was a poster with all of the activities you can do in Chiang Mai. There is so much to choose from! The most difficult thing is trying to decide.
Ester and I peeled ourselves off the sleeper train bunks and she had a brilliant idea to get Thai massages. After getting breakfast (purple rice!?!) at an adorable cafe I couldn't stop photographing, Clay Studio, we walked to Green Bamboo Massage excited as ever to be treated like absolute QUEENS. I was rubbed, stretched, slapped, and on the brink of receiving 1st degree burns by a hot towel (slight exaggeration). It was 2 hours of complete unadulterated bliss.
I checked into a beautiful and quaint hostel called Haus Hostel, and it was here I met Jason, my brotha from another motha. That evening a group of us went to a huge Sunday Street Market that is like 18,000 miles long or something like that. It was the best market I've ever been to. It was never-ending, and AMAZING. Except I found it really difficult to resist buying ALL OF THE THINGS like wooden wine racks, tiny elephant pants for infants, 6 ft. paintings, miniature hand-carved kittens etc. I felt like a crack addict with no money in a crack shop. I did buy pants though. They are now ripped (still worth it).
Side note: Please refer to last picture on the right. I took this photo because LOOOK AT ALL OF THAT SAUCE and NO Sriracha in sight. Then I was told it's an AMERICAN company. Are you kidding me? I feel used.
The next day Jason and I were up early and he suggested we do a cooking class with Chang Cooking. Our teacher, Dang, picked us up and we went to the local market.
He showed us how ridiculous eggplants are in Thailand, among other things.
After this we went back to the Chang Cooking School and we cooked like mother fucking master chefs. Jason and I made separate dishes and THEN WE GOT TO EAT IT... YUMMYYUMMYYUMMMYY. I made raw spring rolls, green curry, and Pad Thai. DELICIOUS. We lucked out because no one else had booked the class that morning so not only did we have a one-on-one lesson, we also received a private show from Dang. He sang and played guitar/harmonica to American classics as we ate. Dang was so cute. He sported a Rocky Horror Picture Show trucker hat and kept mixing up the words tomato and potato. I miss him.
That evening we visited some Temples within Chiang Mai. The first temple was quite cool as it was made up of several intertwining tunnels with Buddhas situated throughout where monks go to pray. Apart from that it was pitch black and we couldn't really see the exterior. Our guide showed us chickens sleeping in trees. That was funny.
The second temple, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, was awesome and completely worth seeing at night. Only a few of us opted to walk up the 309 steps us to the temple versus taking the tram and I am so glad I did because there was a hut that sold corn by the steps so I got to eat corn and walk at the same time. Once we reached the top there was a deafening buzzing sound, almost as if a fire alarm was going off. It was cicada! Cicada like I had never heard before. They were actually really annoying... like, can you respect the temple and quiet down please? Jason and I were so thrilled with this photo taken of us we're hoping to sell it for money. Any investors? Watch out Lonely Planet 2017 cover.
Our guide showed us a breathtaking view of the city and told us all about his time as a monk. He was a monk for a month but decided it wasn't for him because he likes the ladies too much! Fair enough, dude.
Jason and I were committed to finding a group of people to join us on a trip / split the taxi fair to visit Buatong Waterfall, also known as 'sticky waterfalls'. It's referred to this due to mineral deposits that create a rough texture on the rock, allowing people to climb up the waterfall with ease. Ultimately, making you feel like Spiderman. Whenever we were at the hostel and a new person walked in to the room we would immediately (and somewhat desperately) ask, "HEY WHAT ARE YOU DOING TOMORROW?" It kind of started to feel like we were these two creepy people trying to coordinate an orgy. Fortunately, we got a group going and I'm pretttttty sure none of them got those vibes from us. Success!
The trip was about 1.5 hrs. and it was truly beautiful. The water was warm and refreshing and it blew my mind how easily it was to climb despite it being fairly steep in some spots.
We went up a couple of times, had a little dip, went on a trek through the jungle, then headed back to Chiang Mai completely exhausted. That didn't stop the party that night though!
I'll spare most of the details...
So in short:
> taxi to the bar > had fun at the bar> left the bar> got on the back of a tuk tuk> lost my shoe > went to another bar > tried to find my shoe > streets were flooding due to torrential downpour> found shelter and made friends with Thai people > someone gave me their shoes > managed to find our way back to the hostel > Jason had to be up at 7am to play with elephants > I slept that day!
It was the best night in Chiang Mai.
Elephant fun ensued the following day. Which you can read about here. Or not. After Chiang Mai I decided to set off to a small hippie town known as Pai. More on that next time. Stay classy.
I'm impressed you made it this far.
Thanks for reading, friend.