Return to my favorite country

Trip Start Jun 11, 2011
Trip End Jul 24, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Thailand  ,
Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wide awake at 6am. The roosters behind the guesthouse make their presence known quite early, although they were kind enough to let me sleep till dawn. Just as well to get "up and at 'em" early here, as there's lots to do and see...

Yesterday was a great first day, and a day of firsts: first temples, first pad thai, first Turkish toilets, first tuk-tuk and first massage of the trip.

Oh and did I mention my first mosquito bites?

Chiang Mai is a charming city, easy to naviagate and temples everywhere. There's great (cheap) food, gorgeous temple architecture and fun nightlife.
Monks: many are so very young. My first sighting immediately re-kindled my fascination with these individuals. Who are they? Why have they embarked upon this journey? Will it be a life-long commitment or a brief segment of their life? For example, a very kind and chatty law student I met at one of the temples confessed his stint as a monk lasted 9 days and was an attempt to ward off bad luck at the age of 25 (Thais considered 25 to be an unlucky number?).

Highlights of the day: an impromtu soccer game. The kindness of strangers. Excellent timing at Wat Phra Singh (Lion Buddha): the gathering of the monks-in-training & an opportunity to witness their call to worship. This group participation and chanting was intriguing, and all the more enhanced as we were able to view the deep meditation of one of the senior monks. This gentleman seemed to not even blink or breathe for hours.

As evening fell, we stumbled upon a facility in which blind individuals give massages. This was $5 well spent! Being visually-impaired, these individuals appear to have a heightened sense of touch. My masseuse certainly knew what she was doing, and I felt completely relaxed and rejuvenated following her work.

Our nighttime activities included dim sum at a roadside cafe, a nightcap at a recommended bar (Gekko Garden), and a midnite dip in the pool. What a great way to spend our first day in Thailand!

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Marie on

I'm going to Chang Mai in 5 days, in what hotel or guest house had you stayed ? What tour did you do ?

maynoles on

We stayed at The Castle and loved it! Great price, nice room, yummy breakfast. Pearl the owner is super sweet and helpful. The location is very good too. Close to the wall/moat of the 'old city'.

No organized tours for me and be careful if someone approaches you on the street to rec'd a hotel, tour or travel shop.

Avoid the Tiger Kingdom. Big ripoff. Suthep is a great temple up a hill and outside of town. Great people watching.

The market is great and Chinese food stalls along the road. Very cheap food. And how the locals eat.

Be careful: I hear there is flooding there at this moment.
PS If you have time go more remote. But I don't really rec'd formal treks. Maybe if you get out of town you can find something authentic.

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