So arriving around 8pm it was only a 20 minute walk to my hotel. I was tired but thought I could manage it. The heat was wetter but it did feel a little bit cooler up here! Stoating along, maybe on some more residential streets to get closer to the River Ping and I got chased by 3 dogs! Not big scary dogs, wee curly haired yapping dogs. I ran, though not very fast and I did scream. I heard some woman call to them behind me but I was scared to look back. I have to say it has shaken me a little. I’ve owned dogs all my life but some of the ones in Chiang Mai aren’t friendly. I think it’s because people don’t give them the time of day here. Be cautious - if they look like they are guarding something I’d leave well alone!
My first night I stayed at Baan Ping Ing. It was really fancy and pricey at 2000 baht a night. I got a river view and it was beautiful.
The room was great, really recommend it. It was worth every bit after the train journey! Shower could have been a bit more powerful but I had space to do my washing!
I headed out to walk around the night market and grab some food. My first stop was The Roadside. I got a beer and some noodles which were fantastic. Really friendly staff too. Also, my first taste of live music in Chiang Mai. The band were great, both of them really talented. I was chuckling along with the singer, she had great voice and was really bubbly but knew about 70% of the words to any song! The Night Market here was cool, lots of food vendors but mainly clothes and crafts. There was a rock bar toward the end and I sat here watching one of the barman and another man play AC/DC, which made my night.
Would suggest if you’re staying at Baan Ping Ing to grab breakfast next door. I sat outside, had garlic chicken and rice and it really felt like I was on holiday.
Tuk-tuk to my hostel, which was Monkey Republic, closer to town. It was perfect for my needs, the bed was great but the showers weren’t at a high standard. I got a bed in the female dorm for around £6.50 a night. The afternoon was really hot and the city was starting to get busy because of the festival. I grabbed a comfy seat in the shade and read.
Kathrin came and met me, we made plans to go to the night market and I met a guy from Paris called Arthur. We headed up to the market together, Kathrin brought Léna, also French and Yoko, a Japanese woman, came and met us later. The Saturday Night Market is worth doing but because of the Yi Peng Festival it was so busy it was pointless. We took a seat at the back of the food and drink lane and got merry!
We ended up in Spicy - a club that I think just wouldn’t be my cup of tea anyways… but you know, with the company I had a laugh! We ended up after-partying at the hotel and there was an incident with breaking the wrong key in Arthur’s scooter’s ignition… peaks and troughs.
Beating the hangover somewhat, I was taken for a Korean lunch by Chow, a Chinese guy in my hostel. Korean food isn’t for a hangover. Walking around some temples and heading to Nong Buak Haad Park made me feel better! Watching a guy walking the tightrope in the park did make me feel a bit worse! The park is definite place to visit in my opinion. Absolutely immaculate, with food, drink, exercise and quiet all on offer!
The festival was getting into full swing, we stumbled across some gorgeous temples, all lit up with lanterns and candles for the festival and in tribute to the King.
The next day was the main day of the festival. It was also the super moon. Something that I couldn’t have been happier to witness at the same time; in such a magical place. Arthur took me up to a point above the city on his bike. Perfect vantage. Awesome.
Jenelyn and I floated Loy Krathong down the river which we made a wish on. As we watched the lanterns being floated up around the city. Such a touching celebration that was maybe lacking the party aspect because of the King's passing. I'd love to come back for it next year!
Some drinks at The Riva, with more great live music and a bar close to my hostel which came to be a regular and bed!
The next morning I met Lindsay - a fellow Scot in my hostel and we had a quiet night with a great meal in Blue Mango. I had fried rice and Lindsay had a curry, I am falling in love with gyozas which I've had a lot in Chiang Mai!
Wednesday called for some shopping for a pair of decent flip flops and a new pair of gutties. Do not take white trainers with you to Asia… they cannot be kept clean and my laces were giving me stress! I moved to Ashi Hostel which was very clean and newly decorated I'd say; though the room was a little small for two it was very much worth the money! The lady working was really sweet!
As Jenelyn was on her last evening I gathered together the Chiang Man gang, including Ricky from California that I met on Couchsurfing and we went to Zoe in Yellow Bar. Plenty of music but get down early for a seat! There was a guy playing techno and house, I never caught his name, but hats off for making the night that bit more special! His sister plays in Pai but I’ve not managed to track her down as yet! Late night, was so worth it.
Next day was my last so whilst I had ok wifi, I caught up on some work and went for a really traditional meal at a place I can’t remember the name of, with Ricky and Arthur. Khao Soi and a few beers to watch more live music at that local bar near my digs... no name, just here!
Chiang Mai is a beautiful city and I’m so glad I was there for the Yi Peng Festival because it brought such a wonderful crowd. It again felt very safe, every one was friendly enough. The standard of accommodation was great. We didn’t find any place you could party late though, this meant going out really early. I might go back, even on this trip. It’s definitely worth another look.
Lindsay and I booked a bus with air-con to Pai through Wandering Star - who I can’t thank enough for their awesome customer service - thanks Dao! At 170 baht it was a bargain! Sit close to the front if possible, get a motion sickness tablet, (Boots and some 7-Elevens have them) and water for those infamous 762 bends to Pai! Read about my trip to Pai soon!