Chiang Mai 3/3: Return Of The Buddha
Trip Start Jan 03, 2012
163Trip End May 02, 2013
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Where I stayed
Kavil 2 Guesthouse
Our search for a room led us to the northeast corner of the old city. We tried several guesthouses but they were either too expensive, too dirty or lacking some of the amenities (like wifi) that we desired. We finally found a suitable suite to call home for our last three nights in Southeast Asia.
Shortly thereafter we booked a cooking course for the following day at Thai Farm. Then it was back to our place for more New Zealand research. Once again Jason started the Excel document, then passed out as Sylvia took over and after a marathon session that outlasted the storm we had a pretty good idea of our itinerary
Dramatic daily afternoon-evening thunderstorms began days before in northern Thailand, bringing much needed rain to the area and cooling temperatures off dramatically. This made for more comfortable sleeping conditions.
The next morning we split up for breakfast, then crossed the street to the Thai Farm office. A sawngthaew hauled us over to a local market. Our group of six included a retired Canadian couple from Victoria, an American woman, a Chinese man and the two of us. Our guide showed us some of the ingredients we'd be using later and gave us free time to roam around. Although we knew we were in for a day of heavy eating, Sylvia couldn't resist a couple of treats, including mouthwatering black sticky rice with custard in a banana leaf.
We arrived at the farm and took a brief tour of the garden
We made five different delicious dishes each (red and yellow chicken curries, Tom Yam and coconut milk soups, cashew chicken, sweet and sour chicken, pad thai, pad see ew, pumpkin in coconut milk and mango with sticky rice) and were so full by the end we each took one home in a bag, plus our new cookbooks.
Throughout the day we had inspiring conversations with our newest Canadian travel mates. They retired at 50 and have been on the road almost non-stop for the past dozen or so years, usually spending half the year in Asia (mostly Myanmar) and the other half exploring Canada or other parts of the world. This was especially noteworthy for Sylvia as the husband is also a stroke survivor.
With full bellies and a gift list to complete we made our way to the Chiang Mai Sunday walking street market. We found a few gems but about half way along another storm hit, stranding us and hundreds of others under any shelter we could find. An entrepreneur made a fast profit selling ponchos to those who couldn't wait for the rain to ease off. Thankfully the deluge was short-lived and we resumed our shopping stroll to cross off a few more items.
For breakfast the next morning Jason had a large plate piled high with muesli, homemade yogurt and a wide variety of fresh fruits, including banana, mango, pineapple, passion fruit, watermelon, honeydew melon, sapodilla plum and papaya for 70 baht
For lunch we dropped in on a local favourite with no name for khao soy. It was so good we made plans for a repeat visit the next day.
Jason absorbed his last massage, then lugged a 5 kg box of souvenirs wrapped in his backpack rain cover through a mini-monsoon. We finished our last bit of gift shopping and headed for the post office. This was the third package we sent home in three months and possibly the last for the next three months. Jason watched Masters highlights from the road with his last big Chang in hand and we had our last dose of street food for dinner that night.
After our last bountiful breakfast in Thailand we visited Wat Chiang Man, home of the tiny crystal and marble Buddhas and our last temple stop. Colourful murals lined the walls of the main building and massive elephant sculptures guarded the perimeter of the chedi. The beautiful flowers of the omnipresent frangipani tree shined brightly in the morning sun.
Our last checkout was slower than usual as we simply shifted our things to the restaurant downstairs and waited for our last tuk-tuk ride to the airport. We took advantage of the free wifi one last time and then were on our way to tackle the four leg, four airline flying marathon to New Zealand.