We took a quick flight from the Island to the old capital of Chiangmai Mai, a City with a population of around 180,000 and a cooler temperature than Southern Thailand. A lot more culture and a lot less touristy tatt, and a great change for us.The name literally means “New City” as it became the new Capital of Siam in the 13th Century. After settling into our Hotel we went for a little walk to get familiar with the area and 24 Kim’s later we arrived back at the Hotel knackered and ready for bed.
Minor disaster (and more bloody water), ooops sorry !….we got an urgent message from our the Leasing agent in Brisbane telling us she was just checking our property the day before the tenants were about to take possession and the Zip tap in the butlers pantry had blown a compressor and water was everywhere and had leaked into the adjoining downstairs bedroom. Long story short, new compressor, mess cleaned up, carpet and underlay lifted and binned, blowers brought in to dry concrete floor and new carpets laid and a $2,500 bill (happy days). The leasing agents did a brilliant job in our absence, so we are very happy we made the right choice and hopefully no more little incidents.
The prices are considerably cheaper than Koh Samui, taxis for example are about a third cheaper and Restaurants etc about half of what we’ve been paying. We had 3 nights in the City at a really cool contempary hotel. ReaLly friendly, helpful young staff who all spoke English and couldn’t give us more direction with Restaurants, tours and th like. They have huge glass fronted fridges in the lobby, and on each floor, full of water bottles, juices and fresh fruit (all free). The joint next door had a really cool roof top bar with good music (Yasee’s bar) so we enjoyed a few bevvies and food there on a couple of nights.
The third night we went to a Restaurant (Daddy’s Bar) real name honest ,which was owned by Missy Notenie , a very flash young local girl who had let a “Manager” run the hotel and bars for her while her and her husband travelled for a year. When they returned last month they discovered he’d pinched about $200,000, so she was front of house and ruling the place with an iron fist. Next morning she had befriended Amanda on facebook and we were on her site being filmed while enjoying dinner haha.
The Old City is walled and surrounded by a moat. There are a lot of Wats (temples) and after visiting 3, were sure we’d seen enough for the duration of our trip. Tick, been there done that! Chiangmai Mai, unlike what we’ve seen around Thailand has started to develop a really cool coffee scene around Nimman and in one of the ones we visited it boasted some concoctions I haven’t come across anywhere else. It’s also a University town so maybe that’s why its pretty cool and the kids dress a little more hip (sorry showing my age now). We’ve continued to meet some really nice people and have been offered free bed and lodging in several places like Boston U.S, Formenteira in the Balearics near Ibiza and Bruges.
Sadly for me, we HAD to go into the Old City one night to do the WALKING Market. It was chockers with wall to wall tourists averaging 1 km per hour…..and I am not good at that. After 100 meters everything looked the same, just the same old tat being sold and the food stalls had decent fresh looking food but almost everything was being deep fried, so we passed on that. Several hundred meters later, which took forever we stumbled on a little stall with plastic stools and a woman with some locally grown wine in ice buckets, so we had to stop and try some. Maybe I was hallucinating or the walk was getting to me but it was lovely honest! I had Luchee wine and Amanda had Ginseng wine, it was that good so we had a couple and the woman looked at us quite concerned and asked if we were driving bless her!
Amanda asked me about our Thai visa and I confidently said we didn’t need one as we had cover for 30 days……..oops, she was right. We are here for 35 days. We had a few options, get a bus to Myanmar and get our passport stamped, but after some homework apparently immigration frown on same day border crossing. So we caught a Tuktuk across town to the Immigration office and spent 5 hours getting a 30 day extension which cost about $80 each and saved us a lot of explaining at the airport and Amanda giving me some serious grief and told you so!
Our next destination was a beautiful boutique hotel set in the Thai countryside on the river. It has beautiful gardens with fantastic sculptures and artwork displayed everywhere throughout the property. We spent the days swimming, cycling and walking…….oooh and drinking Singa beers with the fantastic curries.
We have eaten Thai food almost exclusively fo the month and loved it and happy to report no bad experiences or urgent bathroom incidences, although on a couple of nights the chef had thrown in a few stray shrimps mistakenly and we spent the next hour waiting for Amanda’s head to start spinning and throwing up (imagine the Exorcist) as most of you have witnessed, she has a seafood allergy, but luckily I didn’t need to call a priest….I’m not tempting fate now as we have left Thailand and I’m writing this in bed in Scotland
Next stop BANGKOK on an uneventful flight and thanks to Amanda, no fights at Immigration. We had booked into a BIG city hotel for 4 nights, with another great pool, gym and restaurants so easing ourselves back into City life. Bangkok is a mad house, it’s seriously fast. The people just seem to get on with it and smile. We spent most of the time at the pool and gym and did a little shopping etc. We had our least favorite day today, traveling around town on a tuktuk, being taken to a couple of tourist traps we didn’t ask to go to (tailors, wats, buddha’s etc) then caught a boat to the Grand Palace and after seeing huge queues (they are still mourning the Kings death) we decided to beat a hasty retreat back to our Hotel after clocking up another 20k’s walking. We’ve been so lucky with the hotels so far, all with great pools and pools………some pics below.
Bye from Thailand
Love Allen and Amanda !