After recovering from over 30 hours of travel (4 flights with the longest layover in Frankfurt of 7.5 hours), we finally arrived in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
With over a million people, Chiang Mai is the 5th largest city in Thailand – but without the insanity of Bangkok. The main downtown core has at its center an ancient city wall surrounding a moat. This wall dates back to the 13th century, and the city itself runs in many little streets and alleyways out from this wall, which makes it really easy to get around and find your way when you’re lost in the backstreets – just head to the wall & you’ll get your bearings 🙂 http://wikitravel.org/en/Chiang_Mai
Photo Credit: A.L.Wiltse
It’s in these backstreets where the fun starts – shopping, markets, daily life and all the wonderful food smells (except for the Durian fruit … this deserves it’s own post!!!) Within the city walls are more temples than you can imagine – some glittering with gold whilst others are ancient stone.
Photo Credits: A.L.Wiltse
Inside the city we found our guesthouse for the week. We’re staying at the Sawasdee Chiang Mai guesthouse – you can check them out here: http://www.chiangmaisawasdee.com/. Warmly welcomed by Sam, Mo and Sue, this home away from home has everything you need for a budget-conscious traveler: close proximity to downtown, right beside the ancient Wat Chiang Man, free wi-fi, great breakfast and the most genuine, good-hearted hosts I have met in a long while. If you’re interested in planning travel to Chiang Mai, here’s a great Trip Adviser link from my travel-friend Marc loaded with tips and tricks for staying in this wonderful city: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g293917-d1238421-r159375576-Sawasdee_Chiangmai_House-Chiang_Mai.html
After settling our room, we went walkabout for many hours throughout the city to acclimate to the new time zone & weather (a gorgeous 32 degrees C … sorry for all of you reading this from Canada as last I checked, it was -30C out there for some!) We wandered local markets and shops, and ended up eating at a small restaurant that serves inexpensive and tasty Thai cuisine.
Finally exhausted, a long night’s sleep was a welcome friend. Especially with a full day tomorrow planned in the jungle at the Elephant Nature Park 🙂