Bangkok

Our flight from Chiang Mai was delayed in leaving so we arrived in Bangkok a couple of hours later than expected. Our ride was waiting for us though and it took about 45 minutes to reach our hotel, the BelAire Princess Hotel. Our travel guide representative met us at the hotel and we organised our activities for the next few days. We had dinner in the hotel restaurant as we were too tired to go out. The prices in the restaurant were very expensive by Thai standards, similar to Australian prices. But the meals were big and very nice. Tomorrow we do a city temple tour.

Last Chiang Mai temple

Sunday afternoon we were flying to Bangkok so in the morning we decided to go for a walk to see a temple. I don’t know the name of the temple. When a city has hundreds of temples the names, for a visitor, doesn’t mean much.
The temple was impressive those. Like a huge man made mountain.

image

image

image

Other buildings in the area

image

image

image

image

When they want to protect a tree they tie coloured ribbons around it. This signifies that spirits inhabit the tree and anyone who harms the tree will upset the spirits.

image

This brings our stay in Chiang Mai to a close. We were only hear for a few days but we really liked it. It has a rural feel but still with a city flavour. There is lots of traffic but we didn’t get in any long traffic jams. Lots of nature around. We had no problems communicating with people even though we only spoke English.

Chiang Mai Street Markets

While in Chiang Mai we went to two street markets. Firstly the night markets; which were only a few minutes walk from our hotel. And the Saturday walking markets. The Saturday markets are along a very very very long street. Lots of things for sale such as food, clothing, silk products, wooden carvings, and lots more. The prices at this market were fairly fixed and you couldn’t haggle much. It was at this market that we had dinner at a side street restaurant. Two small meals and two drinks cost us about $6 Australian.
The night markets are definitely aimed more at the tourists and the prices reflect that. We priced a silk pillow case at the Saturday market for 100 baht ($3.33) whereas at the night markets the same thing was 180 baht ($6.00). However you can haggle significant price reductions at the night market.
The night market

image

The Saturday walking market

image

image

Sights of Chiang Mai

Elephant images are everywhere in Chiang Mai. This was the first one I saw in the grounds of our hotel.

image

View from our hotel window

image

As well as massage places being on every corner there was a few of these places in Chiang Mai where you put your feet in the water and small fish nibble on your toes.

image

There was plenty of roadside food available. We only ate at bigger established places though.

image

image

There were plenty of motorbikes on the roads in Chiang Mai. I often thought our tour guide van was going to run them over but they didn’t. It seems they don’t have road rules but rather road ‘suggestions’. Need to drive on the opposite side of the road, sure that’s OK.  And some of the cars were stacked high with produce. Like the one below carrying garlic.

image

image

These enclosed utes are a combination of taxi/bus service. You can hail one down and get a ride. But they may stop to pick up others on the way.

image

Electricity wiring was not the safest. Often we’d see wires adhoc connected to main power lines with a power point connected to the dangling lines.

image

And a couple of photos of the streets of Chiang Mai.

image

image

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

One of the big temples in Chiang Mai is the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Its a long winding road up the mountain to get to it. Once we arrived by mini bus there are 306 steps to climb to get to the temple. Or you can cheat like us. There is an elevator/cable car which you can take up; we did this and later walked down the stairs.

image

Our guide Na-Na showing Julia the city sights.

image

Thai people believe you can ring these bells for good luck

image

There is a different Buddha stance which represents the day of the week you born on. I was born on. Friday.

image

There are Bougainvillea plants everywhere in Chiang Mai

image

The temple shining in the afternoon sun

image

image

The 306 stairs back down

image

Once at the bottom of the stairs there are small markets where you can buy things. I bought a small ‘singing bowl’. When you rub a wooden stick around the bowl it vibrates and sounds a tone. Julia hates it 🙂