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.
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.
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.
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!