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Posts Tagged: chiangmai

After a late dinner, we made our way down to the main area and walked down another closed off street lined with food vendors.  We bought a couple more snacks and then went down to an area where tons of people were setting off lanterns.  Unlike the temple ones though, people did not write blessings on these, but still, very cool.  Literally, 10 to 15 lanterns were launched every minute or so.

We made it back to the main square at about 10:45 PM and then mixed in with the packed crowd.  I mean, it was packed.  The stage people were having fun and then about 10 more minutes of chatter that we could not understand, a popular Thai rock band came out and played for about 45 minutes.  Very cool and pretty good music.  The whole crowd was rocking to the songs and I guess the lead singer is sort of a teen heartthrob or something like that.

At about 10 minutes to midnight, the hosts came back our and then the governor of ChiangMai came out to thank everyone for celebrating NYE with the citizens of ChiangMai and the crowd erupted again!  Next thing you know, we are counting down…. and the fireworks start shooting off.  The firework display was literally right over our heads!!!  I try to imagine this happening back in the US and know that it would never fly due to safety concerns, but it was really really awesome to stare up at the fireworks directly above us in the sky!  Anyways, in short… that was NYE in ChiangMai!

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Since I’m so far behind in my blog… let’s fast forward to NYE!!!  We dodged the mandatory 4000 Baht per person gala at our hotel (Le Meridien) as they exempted us from it due to the fact that we are celebrating my birthday and I didn’t want to spend it in a hotel gala.  It was very nice of them to do this for us, but seriously… 4000 baht a person = roughly $120 USD.  That’s a lot of money and can really buy you a lot of food in ChiangMai!!!

So, we wanted to celebrate New Years with all the people of ChiangMai and that means a big street party at Thapae Gate.  We went there a bit early and enjoyed some street food.  There tons of street food stalls setup as well as a big stage and open area for people to congregate.  It wasn’t super packed yet as it was about 7 PM.  We walked down the street and went to a temple because we saw these big paper lanterns floating up into the sky!!  We walked in and saw that people were buying the paper lanterns from the monks and then write wishful/blessings on them in markers and then light up the burner and wait until the hot air builds up and up and up it goes and they float away.  They look like stars in the sky and it is one of the cooler things we’ve seen in our lives.  So, of course we buy one and we write a bunch of blessings and well wishes to our families and friends.  Then, we sent our lantern into the sky.

One can see that lanterns are being launched from all over the place in ChiangMai and as the night goes on, it is just a beautiful thing to look at.

We also walked by a vegetarian restaurant recommended by lonely planet called “A Taste of Heaven” and so we decided to have dinner there.  The food was very good, albeit the service was dreadfully slow.  Again, we are not in a hurry and it was not a big deal, but it took about an hour to get our food after ordering!

More details of NYE in the next post….

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Next day… we just walked around for a bit and then lounged by the pool.  Very relaxing.  Had a couple of beers and read for a while.  After a tough day of lounging around, we went out for dinner and decided on some Arabian/Indian/Pakistani food at this little place where the owner is the only waitstaff and she’s shuffling around trying to get everyone served.  We weren’t in a hurry and had no issues with the length of time it took to get the food.  It was worth it as it was quite delicious!  I especially loved the tandoori chicken!

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Next stop was the King’s and Queen’s Pagodas, or as the Thai call them Chedis.  Imagine these two grand Chedis rising up a little below the peak of Doi Inthanon and surrounded by beautiful gardens.  Very pretty and too bad the fog/clouds were a bit heavy as the view must be awesome on a clear day.

We then went to a farmer’s market to round out the tour before heading back to the hotel.  Quite a day as we saw quite a lot of things on Doi Inthanon!

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After the strawberry farm… we headed to a much larger waterfall.  The waterfall is much wider and much more powerful than the first.  Quite a sight and the cascading water made a beautiful rainbow at the bottom of the falls.  Just adjacent to the waterfall are a few restaurants and that’s where we had the tour included lunch.  What we got was pretty average Thai food especially compared to some of the things the restaurants were grilling and serving…. like delicious looking bbq chicken, salt baked fish, and etc.  Oh well…

We then made our way up top the peak and checked out King Inthawichayanon’s memorial.  It is a bit cooler up at 2565 meters and the air is very refreshing.  We took pictures and wandered around a bit before regrouping for the next portion - visit to the current King and Queen’s pagodas.

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On our third day at ChiangMai, we took a full day tour to Doi Inthanon National Park.  Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain in Thailand at 2565 meters high and was named after one of the last Kings of Thailand, King Inthawichayanon.  His remains is buried at the peak/highest point of the mountain.  The mountain is also the site of the current King/Queen’s Pagodas.  

The tour started out with a visit to a Karen Tribe village.  We toured around their farmland and the women of the Karen tribe are master weavers… they made beautiful scarves, table runners, and table cloths.  We bought one scarf and a tablecloth as souvenirs.

After that, we went to check out one of two waterfalls… Sirithan waterfall… beautiful of course!

We then stopped by a Strawberry Farm and a road side food stand and sampled some local food such as sticky rice with coconut milk steamed inside a bamboo stick.  Very good!

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After dinner, we walked around other night markets and bought some items.  Of course you have to negotiate and we would usually come in at 50% of what they are asking and end up somewhere in between.  Here is a nice shot of the Anusaran Food Street/Market.

We ended our night at Kalare Bazaar and had ourselves a dessert of Papaya and Mango smoothies.  Quite tasty!

Alrighty… more posts to come tomorrow!

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So, we went out to the Night Bazaar area for dinner.  Wanted to get some seafood after scouting the area the night before and decided on Ping Ping Seafood.  They had tons of live fish tanks and the food looks wonderful!  We know Pint Ping has to be good as there were a couple of nearby Thai restaurants that get their seafood from Ping Ping.  Literally, you can see the waiters/waitresses walk back and forth carrying fish/prawns/other stuff from Ping Ping for their patrons in their restaurants.  Plus, we get to sit outside and watch all the people pass by including all the drag queens that came out to take pictures with tourists and to let people know about the free show at 10:30 PM!

Upon sitting down, we ordered a plate of giant grilled prawns, steamed whole live sea bass thai style, and a plate of manila clams.  The food was fantastic!  Fresh and delicious.  The manila clams were quite spicy and delicious… good thing we had plenty of beer to cool our tongues.  The feast with 3 large bottles of Chang beer came in at just under 1100 baht (~$34 USD).

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After the Wats, we went back to the hotel and worked out.  When I booked the hotel, it was super last minute as you all know… Booked on a Thursday night and left the following Tuesday for the trip.  I was limited in the hotels/rooms and booked the Royal Club room at Le Meridien.  This of course includes breakfasts, afternoon tea, and cocktail hour at night at the Club Lounge on the 21st floor.  Very nice, but of course, if we had the choice, we would just choose a regular room at a cheaper rate as food is incredible in ChiangMai and is super cheap!!!

At any rate, here is an example of a typical afternoon tea and cocktail hour food… some days were better than others but overall pretty good!

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More pics of the Wats.  I love the last photo here…. the perspective of the tall hall/wooden columns, and the worshippers in front of the statues.

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ChiangMai - On our first full day, we left the hotel and negotiated with a taxi driver to take us to a few Wats (Temples) in the old city of ChiangMai.  We went to 3 of the famous ones and the following two posts are some pictures from the day.  The weather in ChiangMai was just absolutely beautiful and the Wats were also very beautiful.

First, we went to Wat Chiang Man, which is the oldest Wat in ChiangMai (dating to around 1296).  We then went to Wat Prah Singh which contains ChiangMai’s most important Buddha statue.  We then went to Wat Chedi Luang which dates to abou 1441, which sits on the highest point in Old ChiangMai and has a 91 meter high pagoda that was partially destroyed by an earthquake in the late 16th century.  You’ll see pics of this wat in the next post.

We did not go to Wat Prathat Doi Suithep, which is the most famous Wat in ChiangMai.  It overlooks the city from a mountain perch and we made the decision to visit it next time so that we can do a full day tour to Doi Inthanon National Park instead.

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One of the more interesting things seen tonight… had to post it.  I read about it but couldn’t imagine it until seeing it in person.  ChiangMai is well know for it’s massage places… I mean, tons of them and tons of them specializing in foot massages.

Well, this one sort of is a twist on it… they use little fish to basically clean your feet?!?!?!?!?!  Suppose to make them not stink and feel/look great!  Maybe I will give this a try sometime during this week.

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ChiangMai!   Yep, after all the researching and price watching for the past few weeks… the trip I booked is for Thailand.  On top of that… no beaches.  We just flew into ChiangMai tonight after what seemed like a long day of traveling even though total flight time with one layover is only 3.5 hours.  Got to the hotel and threw our stuff down.  Went out to the popular Red Lion Pub for some fish and chips and beer then started to walk amongst some of the night bazaar shops.  It was kind of late, so we didn’t shop at all but made mental notes of where things are and where all the tempting eats are.  We did still end up eating a couple of street food stall items such as a Gelato stand and a Roti.  The Roti filled with a fresh egg and canned corn… topped with condensed milk and a bit of sugar was absolutely heavenly!!!!!!  We ate almost of all of it before I thought about taking a picture - that’s how good it was… I TOTALLY forgot.

ChiangMai!   Yep, after all the researching and price watching for the past few weeks… the trip I booked is for Thailand.  On top of that… no beaches.  We just flew into ChiangMai tonight after what seemed like a long day of traveling even though total flight time with one layover is only 3.5 hours.  Got to the hotel and threw our stuff down.  Went out to the popular Red Lion Pub for some fish and chips and beer then started to walk amongst some of the night bazaar shops.  It was kind of late, so we didn’t shop at all but made mental notes of where things are and where all the tempting eats are.  We did still end up eating a couple of street food stall items such as a Gelato stand and a Roti.  The Roti filled with a fresh egg and canned corn… topped with condensed milk and a bit of sugar was absolutely heavenly!!!!!!  We ate almost of all of it before I thought about taking a picture - that’s how good it was… I TOTALLY forgot.

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