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  • Writer's pictureKristin

Thailand | Chiang Mai

Updated: Apr 9, 2021

We arrived into the Chiang Mai train station around 9:30-10 a.m. from our night train experience, and were greeted by a former co-worker of Alex's when he worked in China, Michael. We enjoyed some iced coffee to catch up and to get some much needed caffeine after the long train ride.

Doi Suthep - Buddhist Wat

After some much needed showers and lunch at the local mall, that afternoon Michael took us to Doi Suthep, a Buddhist wat outside of Chiang Mai, which located in the hillsides. The road was pretty curvy as we ascended to the top and by the time we got to the top, our stomachs felt as though we had just been on a really long amusement park ride.

Doi Suthep was a nice place and one of the highlights was the view over the city below. You could literally see for miles around because it was a fairly clear day. The temple was under construction so we had to maneuver around the construction in progress. There are several practicing Buddhists who make a pilgrimage trips to this temple, as well as others. Many will light their incense sticks and carry flowers around the wat 3 times -- once for education, second for the monks and third for Buddha.

Dinner Entertainment

In the evening, we met Michael and his Thai friend, Mod, at a restaurant that he had frequented when he lived in Chiang Mai a couple of years ago, called the Thai Cuisine Restaurant. We ordered some delicious garlic fish and a few other specialties and enjoyed the live entertainment up on stage of the Thai dancers and even a 'lady-boy' dancer/singer.

Planning our Route to Laos

On the second morning of our stay in Chiang Mai we ran a few errands in the morning and Michael helped show us some places that we might be able to purchase a reliable camera. Then we headed to the airport to figure out our travel arrangements to Laos in a few days. We had originally planned on taking the slow boat from Thailand into Laos, but when we arrived in Chiang Mai we found out that the boat was no longer running because the water levels were too low. Instead, our only choice by land would be to go on a local government bus or a minivan overnight for about 15+ hours through through winding mountain roads. We weren't too excited about that trip potential so we looked into a flight to Udon Thani (in the northeast part of Thailand and only 1.5 hour drive from Vientiane, Laos) for about $100 USD, and opted to go for the more comfortable and faster form of transportation.

Baan Tawai Handicraft Market

After a lunch of a DQ Blizzards, Michael took us to Baan Tawai, which is a handicraft market outside of Chiang Mai. We had fun browsing around the shops and purchased a couple of Thai souvenirs. As we walked from store to store we could see some of the pieces being made by the locals. We were amazed with how good of prices we were able to get the items for.

Krisada Doi Gardens

Krisada Doi Garden is an outdoor botanical garden with several varieties of flowers, a stream and almost a Swiss-like feel with the architecture of the buildings and being tucked away in the mountains. We enjoyed some Thai iced tea, which has more of an orange hue than traditional ice tea. It was very sweet and refreshing though! Like most places in Thailand though, we had to pay the foreigner entrance fee, whereas the locals normally pay less than a quarter of the cost we pay or nothing at all.

John's Place for Dinner

That evening we met Michael at John's Place in Chiang Mai for a light dinner and some drinks. While we were there, one of Michael's former flight instruction students and his girlfriend, met us there. Both could speak English really well, so it was great to talk with them and learn more about their perspectives and Thai culture.

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