We flew in from Bangkok
We arrived shortly after 8 pm at Chiang Mai Residence a serviced apartment located in the north west corner of the moat. It is New Year holiday week and the city is crushed with tourists from all over the world. Our first morning we walked two blocks to Wat Lok Molee.
There is more information at wikipedia:
We received a surprise call from our internet / Facebook friend from Germany. Ursula said, “Let's meet at 12:30 and go for coffee” We walked to Thae Pae Gate at the old walled city inside the moat and looked around at vendors setting up for the evening crowds. It was super fun meeting her in person!
Off we walked to the Warorot Market which is the day and night market where mostly locals shop. We found a lovely hidden coffee shop inside a clothing / gift shop upstairs overlooking the street below. It is a peaceful, quiet sanctuary from the din of the noise outside. Our stomachs were grumbling so we went to the Central Airport Plaza where I picked up some shampoo and various sundries. Ursula guided us to the food court where we found a booth with rice, chicken and soup. As usual it was delicious!
Back to our apartment for a much needed nap and meeting Ursula at 7:30 at the gate. The plan was to go to the Night Market for dinner. We picked up a songthaew and told the driver where we wanted to go. Normally it would take about 5 minutes by car........We never made it. After an hour and a half the driver stopped in the middle of the road and told everyone to get out because it was as far as he could go. The traffic was gridlock for as far as the eye could see in all directions.
Like in the movies when the main characters end up in the middle of a parade and can't find their way out, that is exactly what happened when we found ourselves in the middle of Sunday Walking Market. They close the road and there are vendors lined up for miles. Sardines packed tightly does not even come close to it.
We were grinning, laughing and smiling at the situation we found ourselves in. Ursula and I were trying to talk on the phone to find out where each of us were. The noise from bands, music, voices and traffic was so loud we could hardly hear.
Ursula: “Where are you?”
Lin: “How can I tell you where I am when I don't know where I am!”
Ursula: “I will find you” I laughed and said, “No, I don't think you will be able to”
At this point we were shuffling along in tiny steps just trying to make it to the gate which took at least another hour!
Once we found her she guided us to the Night Market area where it was much less crowded. We had dinner in a quiet restaurant called Dukes.
Found a Tuk Tuk to take us back home......it was midnight! And the driver got lost! What an adventure for our first day.
The next day we went to Central Festival Mall and wandered for hours! On every floor, Vince took picture after picture of the stores and shops so we could show our friends at home, that are worried about us moving to Thailand, just how modern the city of Chiang Mai is. Below are pictures imported food and prices to match.
40 Baht each = $1.21
79 Baht each = $2.40
40 Baht each = $1.49
Baht 229 Kilo = $6.95 or $3.16 lb.
There are many Japanese restaurants where you cook your own food at the table....while we have been to this type in Japan, and it was delicious, I was not in the mood to cook my own food! But we did find a Ramen Restaurant and we were delighted to find that each of the items we ordered were so tasty that if we closed our eyes we could have been back in Japan! Baht 433 = $13.14 Expensive by Thai standards.