Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand and used to be the cultural hub of Thailand. Now like most places it’s kinda just filled with tourists and more modern amenities to suit the average western tourist. However, it was a lot more chill than Bangkok and a bit cheaper as well.
I arrived in Chiang Mai after taking a 9 hour overnight bus from Bangkok. The bus itself wasn’t that bad. I took a VIP bus so I had a little more room and there weren’t a bunch of loud young backpackers on it either. I was actually surrounded by monks and one French guy from Leon. I left from Mochit bus terminal in Bangkok and when I got to Chiang Mai it was actually a bit nippy. I think it was in the 18C/64F or something like that. It felt really refreshing from drowning in sweat in Bangkok for the first week. However, that refreshing feeling was short lived as the day went on and it was again a sweat fest for the rest of my time. Leaving the bus terminal I took a local bus that cost me 15baht as opposed to a taxi driver who all wanted to charge me around 150baht…those bastards.
Everywhere outside of Bangkok taxi meters simply don’t exist. So you’re left with staggering prices and bartering your ass off to get a reasonable price. In the end they’re still ripping you off and bending you over and giving it to you from behind.
When I got there I stayed at the Deejai Backpacker which was fairly decent for only being about $6 a night. It was chill if you wanted to chill or party friendly if you wanted to party…granted though that most things close up at 12AM in Chiang Mai, which is quite early by all standards.
My first day there I got settled and decided to rent a scooter for a few days. I headed up to the mountains to see the sunset and see the famous temple in Chiang Mai. It was filled with tourists from everywhere. The one thing that stuck out to me was that I saw North Koreans for the first time outside of North Korea. If you know anything about the history and political situation of North Korea then you’ll understand how shocked I was. By being there, that meant that these men were high up in the government and were connected. Now you may ask how did I know they were North Korean? Well first off their Korean accent was very different than anything I’ve ever heard before, and they were wearing North Korean flag pins and pins of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, and Kim Jong Un. I really didn’t know what to say when I saw them. I was totally dumbfounded. My Dutch friend who I was with at the time was like who cares they’re just another tourist from another country. To which I replied…“You need to watch some documentaries about North Korea.”
Driving through the mountains we got some chilly air and a great view of the city during the evening.
Many of my friends know that I like to cook every now and then. I’m from the American South and BBQ is the pure essence of life. Don’t confuse BBQ with grilling…not gonna elaborate, just don’t.
Anyways I decided to take a cooking class while I was in Chiang Mai since it was the cheapest there and they’re everywhere. I learned how incredibly easy it is to make Thai food, very simple and clean, yet delicious. I went to Chang Cooking for a full day course, which started quite early around 8AM and finished around 3:30PM. I recommend doing the half-day course. You’ll still learn a lot, but a full day there was tiring.
The tigers of Tiger Kingdom.
A lot of people get touchy on this subject. I like animals in the wild and I’m an avid outdoorsman, however that doesn’t mean I don’t like Zoos or aquariums. You’re not always gonna be able to see a tiger in the wild without it actually trying to kill you or from 100yards away. Tiger Kingdom was a chance to get to see these big beasts up close. Granted I will say that this place is overly commercialized and some of the animals don’t look too happy. My feeling of Tiger Kingdom was kinda so so. I didn’t overly enjoy it at all, but I didn’t hate it either.
In the center of Old Chiang Mai are several temples. Many of which are hundreds of years old. The one that stood out to me was (). The temple is made of old bricks and you can see the weathering on it. The age of it is quite apparent from the outside as well and it looks like an ancient building.
That’s all for now. Next is Southern Thailand and a story about being on a buses for more than 24 hours
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