We decided to take it easy on our first day in Chiang Mai and get some stuff organized for the next couple of days here. We wanted to make sure that the elephant training school we booked with had humane practices and were legit, and we wanted to see what other activities there were in the area.
We 'slept in' and naturally woke up at 8am, had breaky, booked our activities (we settled on a cooking course excursion and Eddy's elephant training school) and then headed out to do our own little guided tour of the temples in the old city in Chiang Mai from a map we found in the Lonely Planet (essentially every backpackers bible - you can see people pouring over then everywhere).
As per usual, we got lost almost instantly. I'm usually good with maps, but all the street names are so similar here...I know - excuses, excuses. We ended up passing by an institute for blind masseuses and decided what the heck - lets get another massage.
It was the first time that we were asked to wear robes, and our masseuses were lead to our mats. It was actually really enjoyable. My lady was a bit gentler than usual, loved it!
Same same but different
Only $5 for an hour massage. I can deal with that ;)
After loosening up a bit, we got ourselves oriented and saw Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang temples. I honestly felt a bit wat-ed out, but I am always amazed as soon as we go inside.
They are amazingly ornate, stunning to see.
Wat Chedi Luang had an older section that was half crumbling, with huge golden Buddhas at the top. So gorgeous!
It was getting pretty late in the afternoon, so we grabbed a red truck taxi - the cheapest option here, tuktuks are a total ripoff - to go to Wat Doi Suthep. They kept asking for 500 baht (around $17) for two people and I didn't believe them. Once we heard it about 20 times, we gave in.
Turns out the temple is situated quite far outside of the old city and on the top of a mountain. I get why it's that price now ;)
It was such a lovely drive up the mountain with lush jungle on either side. It smelled amazingly fresh too. Reminded me of the forests at home in a strange and beautiful way :)
Wat Doi Suthep was truly magnificent. You pass by vendors at the entrance (obvi) and then walk up around 300 steps to the Wat. The inside is gorgeous as well, with a huge golden stupa in the middle.
The views of the old city from the lookout is also pretty cool. Chiang Mai is quite a forested city.
After watching the sunset, we got dropped off on Nimmahaeman Rd on the west side of the moat of the old city, which is supposedly the trendy area for college kids to hang out and go clubbing.
A real-life Momster
There were tons of cool shops and restaurants packed with university students. We ended up going to another Burmese restaurant and got chicken curry and pennywort salad - so delicious!! There was a Thai soap opera playing and we were entranced - it is amazing how you can understand those shows without even knowing the language. So good.
We then checked out Monkey Club, which was supposed to be a fun hang out place and dance club. There was a band playing, which always started off their songs upbeat but then turned them into slow songs. We were going to leave since it was kind of putting us to sleep but then we started chatting with some other tourists and noticed the other side of the bar was rocking with a dj so we decided to go start a dance party.
We were having fun when all of. Sudden the same band got on stage. We thought the fun times would soon end, but they played super upbeat rock and pop songs, so good!! We got some of the Thai people to start dancing and it turned out to be a fun night. We all clambered into tuktuks as the club was closing and snuck into our hostel. Gotta love dorm living ;)