Chiang Mai

Trip Start Jan 01, 2011
Trip End Mar 21, 2011

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Yesterday we boarded the covered pickup mid-morning and returned to Phitsanulok where we were catching the train to Chiang Mai. Amazingly, the train was only 20 minutes late (we departed at 1:40 pm) - it is usually up to 2 hours late! The train journey was longer than yesterday, with us arriving in Chiang Mai at 9:30 pm. The train journey took us through more tropical farmland and then entered the northern mountains. The change of scenery was much needed. The mountains are covered in dense jungle and remind me of the jungle in Ecuador. Some of the views were breathtaking.

Once in Chiang Mai, we took another covered pickup truck into the old town which was 15 minutes away. By the time we arrived at our guesthouse, we were quite hungry and headed straight back out to find dinner. We are not huge fans of arriving in new places at night, so just ate at a restaurant up the street. Our meal was pretty good. I had the local specialty, khao soi, which is a curried noodle dish with chicken and Jeff had a spicy pork jungle curry.

Then it was back to the guesthouse for bed. We splurged a little for our time in Chiang Mai and paid an extra $10 a night for accommodations with A/C and a pool. I have to say for under $30 a night, the room is perfect.

Today, we woke up nice and rested. The bed turned out to be really comfortable, which was a big plus. We decided that since we have been doing a lot of traveling since we started this leg of the trip, we would have a bit of rest day today. We started with breakfast at the guesthouse and then walked the perimeter of the old city. The old city is surrounded by a moat the entire way and at some points, there are remains of the old wall. On the walk, we stopped by a market and a local park. We also came across a small restaurant and stopped in. We ate noodles with Chinese spiced chicken in a broth. Yum! The place didn't look like all that much, but these types of places usually have the best food and we were not disappointed.

Once back from our walk, we headed to the pool for the afternoon for some swimming, reading and general laying in the sun for me (in one day, I have browned so much) and the shade for Jeff.

In the evening, we headed over to the night bazaar, which was a 20 minute walk outside of the old town. We had been told that there was good cheap food and good shopping there. I had some really good pad thai and a banana roti, while Jeff had red curry, a Chiang Mai sausage and a lemon gelato. While dining, there was a Muay Thai demonstration, which is Thailand's national sport. This was a bonus as I've been wanting to see this. On the way back, we picked up a shawl for me to cover my shoulders when we visit the wats (this is the name for Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia).
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