I love Chiang Mai.
Maybe it’s the flowers growing on walls and in boxes and the cute coffee shops on every tiny side street, or the fruit stands on the sidewalks and the novelty of monks strolling around town, but I adore Chiang Mai.
The Thai food was delicious everywhere I are, which either means that we were really lucky when it comes to picking restaurants, or that all Thai food is incredible.
(Homemade coconut ice cream? I could eat it for days.)
While in Chiang Mai, I have been to the night bazaar, travelled to Wat Doi Suthep, trekked in Doi Inthanon National Park, pet tigers, drank coffee, weaved through traffic on the back of a motorbike, ate homemade granola and wandered the streets aimlessly, peeking into shops and temples alone the way.
It’s been awesome.
I think I will post about my experience hiking in Doi Inthanon National Park in a separate post, so for this entry, I will highlight some of my favorite parts of my four days in Chiang Mai.
Overall, I simply love being in a place where you can walk on a sidewalk, where you can feel the sun on your skin, and where you can drink a good coffee. Jakarta does not offer any of those three (unless you count Starbucks as “a good coffee,” and are okay hopping over drainage streams and dodging motorbikes while walking on the concrete slabs that sometimes are referred to as sidewalks). In that regard, Chiang Mai has been very refreshing, which I desperately needed.
Dasom and I did a lot of wandering, and our exploring paid off in us stumbling across Wat Chedi Luang, a massive 14th century Buddhist temple in the middle of the old city.
I have seen a lot of temples, but nothing quite like Wat Chedi Luang. Perhaps it was because the temple is crumbling while other golden shrines are erected around the city, but there was something extra interesting about this particular temple.
On our last full day in Chiang Mai, DJ and I rented a motorbike and went to see the tigers at Tiger Kingdom. Because we didn’t have a phone with 3G, a GPS, or a map that extended all the way to our destination, I stared at Dasom’s tiny tourist map for a solid five minutes before we left. DJ didn’t have much experience driving motorbikes, especially with someone else on the back, so it was a bit of a learning process. Thankfully, traffic in Chiang Mai is nothing like the perpetual almost-gridlock of Jakarta, and we were soon zooming down the 107. We had to stop twice for directions, but eventually found the place. I am always too nervous to enjoy riding motorbikes in Jakarta, so it was very enjoyable to travel along in the open air.
We paid to see full grown tigers, four month old tigers, and two month old tigers. The tigers aren’t drugged, which means that they prowl around you, and the fully grown tigers are terrifyingly large. Of course, the two month old tigers are absolutely adorable, and the workers are less concerned about your petting their heads, so they crawl all over you and it’s incredible.
And, because I can’t bear to not include them, a few pictures of the miscellaneous adventures had during the four days.