We have had no problems finding things to do here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is such a great city to explore with so much on offer. Public transport is easy, markets are plentiful, you can’t walk more than ten minutes without stumbling across a Wat, and the variety of food has kept our bellies very happy!
The only things on our agenda yesterday were to get Thai Massages, have some lunch, and find a clothing shop that was recommended by a friend so I could revamp my tired wardrobe. We ended up doing all those things and so much more….
We spent the morning Skyping with family and then headed out around 10:30 am. We walked out to the main street to flag down a songteow (a pick up truck with covered bench seating in the back). A songteow ride anywhere in town costs 20 baht per adult (about 60 cents) and children are free. A tuk-tuk pulled up to us instead (a three wheel motorbike with a bench seat over the back tires) and Mike decided to check prices. He bargained hard and ended up getting us a ride into the old city for only 60 baht ($2).
In town Mike and I each had a Thai massage at a cost of 150 baht ($5) for an hour. Our favourite spot is in the courtyard behind Wawee Coffee on Ratchadamnoen Road. Mike got his massage first while I played Skipbo at a picnic table with the kids and then I had my turn while Mike and the kids ate Vietnamese food. I came out to join them and had my own lunch of noodle soup and fresh salad rolls. Total cost for lunch was 200 baht ($6.50).
After lunch we were on a mission to find that clothing store. On the way we spotted a Wat with a really cool doorway (Wat Pundtow). We stepped inside to explore….
Upon leaving a Thai man told us to check out Wat Chedi Luang next door. The Wat was incredibly beautiful and we wandered around gazing at the many statues of Buddha.
We noticed upon leaving that Wat Chedi Luang had a Monk Chat. Monk Chat is a place you can go to ask monks questions about Buddhism and a place for the monks to practice their English. We sat down at a table and immediately a monk in his mid twenties came over to chat with us. His name was Olae and he was originally from Laos but had been studying Buddhism in Thailand for the last three years. His English was excellent and I got to ask all of the burning questions I had had about Buddhism and being a monk. Our boys were very shy and only asked questions by whispering them in our ears for us to relay to Olae. After about a half hour of interesting conversation our children started to get tired and had a very embarrassing break down where they whined and whined for ice cream. We made a quick exit and made it out to the street where we had a very long conversation with them about being rude! Needless to say they did not get any ice cream!
After our visits to the Wats we found the clothing shop we were looking for and I was one happy girl. The clothes were high quality cotton with lots of beautiful detailing. I bought three shirts and and a dress and Mike bought one shirt for a total of 1900 baht ($55) (much more expensive then market cloths but the quality made it well worth the price!)
Across the street we noticed an Insect Museum. Mike and the kids opted to go in and I opted to go to the cafe next door for an iced coffee. The museum was a hit and was run by a retired entomologist couple who spent the last 40 years working for various countries studying Malaria. The kids had a great time looking at all those bugs!
We decided to walk down to Chiang Mai Gate to feast at the nightly food market there. On the way we passed another Wat that had some huge gongs near the entrance. We decided to pop in and check them out and we noticed a bridge in the far corner of the grounds. We walked back there to find a beautiful pond full of lotus plants. There was a small platform where our boys were invited by two Thai ladies to feed the catfish in the pond. The boys threw the offered fish food into the pond and watched the catfish churn the water in their frenzy.
We continued our walk to the market at Chiang Mai gate where we ate fruit smoothies, fried rice, coconut soup, stir fried noodles, and garlic chicken for a grand total of 200 baht ($6). While we were sitting there traffic police started to block off the streets and the traffic started to pile up. Mike asked some Thais what was going on and apparently the queen is in town! When the royal family travels, the streets are blocked off so that they don’t have to wait in traffic! So while we ate dinner we got to watch the queen drive by….well we got to see some fancy vehicles with blacked out windows but the queen was in one of them!
We grabbed some roti for a bedtime snack and caught a songteow back to our apartment. We let the kids watch half a movie and then put them to bed.
Just another day in Chiang Mai!