After leaving Cambodia, our travels took us to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. With a population of roughly 200,000 people, Chiang Mai is Thailand's second largest city trailing behind Bangkok which has approximately 8,000,000. Because it's much smaller than Bangkok, we didn't encounter the hustle and bustle that comes with large amounts of people. Chiang Mai is a slower paced, quieter and much more relaxed location, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have it's own unique charms.
it is much further north, the weather is cooler and not as humid which
was a welcome change after the brutal heat in Cambodia.
stayed in a charming hotel called Raeming Lodge. Located near one of
the gates to the old city, it was within walking distance of many of the
hotel surrounded an atrium that featured gardens, water displays and a
seating area for the restaurant that was attached to the hotel.
The entry to our room had a set up we haven't seen before. First we had to enter through these double doors...
then took us into a small entry and up to the door to the room. I kept
thinking this must have been what it was like in the old days when
there were walls and gates surrounding the city.
We booked a suite for this trip and the extra room was something we really appreciated.
View of Chiang Mai from our balcony:
After settling in a bit, we took a walk around the neighborhood.
a jewelry designer, I was very excited to see that there was a Hill
Tribes silver store next door to our hotel! Hill Tribes silver is
renowned in the jewelry world for the skill and beauty found in the
beads and components that the hill people produce.
I spent more than I had budgeted for this stash, but no regrets except I wish I could have bought more!
of the moat that once protected the old city; it is now a gathering
place for people to feed the pigeons, sit and watch the world go by or
to visit with friends:
walk found us at one of the gates that guarded the old part of Chiang
Mai. Built nearly 700 years ago, the old city was a square surrounded
by a wall, which has massive gates on all four sides, and was further
protected by a moat (pictured above). Tha Pae
gate is on the eastern side, faces the river Ping and was the main gate
into the city. The other gates are Chiang Mai Gate
to the south, Suan Dok to the west and Chiang Puerk to the north. The
moat today, which once kept raiding invaders out, is now an attraction
with spraying fountains which are lit up at night.
When shutting the gates these large wheels follow the track until the gates are securely closed.
completing our walking tour of day one in Chiang Mai, it was time to
return to our hotel and get ready for dinner. I was not expecting to
see such a beautiful sunset from our little balcony. It was something
we came to enjoy and look forward to during our time in this charming
following morning we continued our exploration of Chiang Mai starting
with breakfast. Fresh squeezed orange juice started the meal. Have you
ever seen such orange orange juice? We think it must have to do with
the type of orange grown here.
Chicken noodle soup Thai style - it was hearty and delicious!
walk took us along the Mai Ping River which runs through the city and
provides much of the countryside with water for rice patties, gardens
and crops. It is known as the Lifeline of the Province.
had dinner at one of the many restaurants along the river and on our
way back stopped at the famous Bus Bar. This is an old double decker
bus that has been converted; the bus is not functional except for
holding band equipment. It is more of a landmark for the location which
has outside seating next to the river.
leaving the Bus Bar, we stopped at the night market on our way back to
the hotel. It is a huge street market like many others found in Asia.
What made this one special to me was that, unlike so many of the markets
that carry mostly t-shirts and cheap souvenirs, this one had many
vendors producing and selling native and local arts and crafts. At
several of the booths, we were able to watch the craftspeople creating
their items which was very interesting and enjoyable to see.
Chaing Mai at dusk...
...and another spectacular sunset from our balcony.
stop - a trip to the Elephant Nature Park that rescues injured, abused
and neglected elephants who will live out the rest of their days at this
sanctuary receiving the best of care and attention. The park is about
an hour north of Chiang Mai. Stay tuned!