Stepping off the plane in Chiang Mai, I was finally on Thai soil. I quickly made it through customs and saw Allie waiting around the corner. An hour after not seeing each other for 10 weeks, it was as if we had been together the whole time. Well, except for the fact that I was now in Thailand, which was pretty unreal for a few days, accompanying the jet lagged haze set over my brain.
In Chiang Mai, we stayed in a hostel called Giant Guesthouse 2 for 280 baht/night (~$8) for a private room with our own bathroom. It was a cool, very laid back atmosphere, but the live music bar next door was far from helpful in my recovery time. I have never experienced jet lag like that before. For at least three days, my body was completely convinced that every day I should have been sleeping, but then by the time night came around, the tiredness was gone and I could not sleep. It was miserable, but Allie was very understanding.
After a laid back first two days in town walking the night markets and buying me some warm-weather clothes, we decided to rent a motor scooter and do a little exploration. Motor scooter rental in an awesome option that you can find all over Thailand. For around $3-6 per day, you have your own very fun transportation. We wound up riding to a temple on one of the giant green hills overlooking the city. The temple itself was pretty underwhelming after seeing pictures of some of the truly amazing temples that Allie had already visited (she was in Thailand for 50 days before I arrived), but the views were awesome. We finished the day off with a short hike to a nice waterfall in the Doi Suthep National Park, and then went to a busy and overwhelming mall on the way back to the city. Here are some photos from our day with the scooter:
From what we found, Chiang Mai does not have a lot to offer nature lovers within city limits, you have to go a little ways outside of town to see anything naturally beautiful, but for foodies and shoppers, it is heaven. It was a really nice way for me to get into Thai food, which I have found so far to be AMAZING!
The night markets and walking streets (streets closed off to cars where tents and booths are set up everywhere selling souvenirs and cheap food) were a great way for me to get a taste of Thai city life, and also buy some cheap, much-needed warm weather clothes, as the pants and sweaters I have to lug around from flying here straight from South America won’t do me any good! I can’t say we didn’t have a great time in Chiang Mai, but for us, the city lacked the adventure and potential to explore that we really crave. Our next stop, Pai, was the complete opposite though!