A Warm Welcome to Chiang Mai

We were so bored after hanging around Vientiane, Laos for a few days while we waited to secure our 60-day Thailand visas. If entering Thailand by land, they only issue a 15-day visa compared to a 30-day visa if you arrive by plane. After getting our visas at the Thai Embassy in Vientiane, we grabbed our bags at the hotel and made a run for the border. The overnight trip to Chiang Mai required taking a tuk-tuk, taxi, another tuk-tuk, a local bus, a sleeper bus, and a sawngthaew. It was  uneventful, with the exception of meeting this creepy German guy who builds bamboo houses and thought he was leading the way for innovative architecture (no, he’s not even an architect). Once we arrived and found a room, we made plans to meet up with all of the fun residents from Team Chiang Mai later in the day. A quick walk around our neighborhood within the Old City took us through a local food market, and we also found a cheaper place to stay the remaining nights.

Moat around the city

Chiang Mai is one of my favorite cities in Southeast Asia. It is the largest city in northern Thailand and has over 300 Buddhist temples and magnificent markets throughout the city. Chiang Mai was once a walled city surrounded by a moat; pieces of the wall and the moat still remain today. It is typical to pass monks robed in orange cloth and  get lost in the exotic charms of the city.

Quail eggs at a food stall

Our first day in Chiang Mai we met up with @GotPassport, @OurOwnPath, @eloren, and @linzslack at the Saturday Walking Market. We walked down the street and ogled the souvenir stalls before hitting up food vendors. Between the 10 of us, we sampled spring rolls, samosas, fried bananas, spicy tofu, salad, ice cream, tea served in a bamboo pole cup, and waffles on a stick, among other things. It started to rain but we persevered and completed our walk. Afterwards, we went back to an apartment lobby where Bessie & Kyle introduced us to a game called The Settlers of Catan. Lauren and I loved it! I had never heard of it, but since then I’ve seen it on display in a Barcelona game store window and found out that one of my friends back home owns it.

Souvenirs in Chiang Mai

After a late night with friends we headed back into the Old City to our guesthouse. We needed to get our rest to gear up for the Sunday Walking Market the following day!

The street market spills on to temple grounds. Lovely.
Child performer at the market
Lots of street food at the markets!
The VIP bus that a guy insisted we take. I didn't find it that much better.

11 thoughts on “A Warm Welcome to Chiang Mai

  • Laura,
    I found it funny that you mentioned the ‘settlers’ game night! I’m glad we were able to cross paths, and maybe we’ll do so again? Say.. before Em is in college? =)

    • Haha. Actually Kyle, everything in Laos is extremely interesting except for the capital city. We even thought we’d pass the time there by going to the country’s only movie theater but unfortunately they were only showing 2 movies- neither of which had subtitles.

  • Sad I didn’t make it to Chiang Mai – but reason enough to return to Thailand! Are you sure those are duck eggs? I thought they were quail eggs?

  • So glad you liked it here and that we could show you around a bit! I really enjoyed your post because it’s sort of like looking at the city with fresh eyes again – I need to do that more often!

    And of course I’m so glad that we could pass on the Settlers love! Maybe we’ll get to play somewhere else in the world again. Best to you & I’m excited to see what you do next!!

    • Yes Greg they do! I confess I never actually tried them… probably b/c by the time I finished eating pad thai and egg rolls, I couldn’t eat another bite!

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