Chiang Mai – Festivals and Motorcycle Rides
Day 19-23 – june 2nd-7th
So we left the apocalypse of Bangkok and flew north to Chiang Mai, the regional capital of Northern Thailand and launch pad for elephants, isolated villages, motorcycle riding, (former) opium dens, and cooking classes.
The flight up on Thai Airways put was on a 777, massively oversized jet for a 45 minute jump. But the service put every American airline to shame. 2 beverage services plus a hot cheesy breakfast stromboli.
The city of Chiang Mai, though relatively small, has a lengthy history of 800 years. The center has a great Wat (temple) built on the old pyramid center. The rest of old town within the moat and wall is cool restaurants, Wats, cafes, and markets.
Streets meander in most of Thailand, with little organized city planning or organization so by simply walking you dodge bikes and scooters, dripping AC pipes, uneven curbs, encounter new smells.
Thailand is hot, very hot in May when the sun is closest, but June is not much better. And can be characterized by rain. So markets are busy in the morning, shutdown by 1pm, and then new markets pop up around 7pm at night and go at least until midnight most nights. And if you’re looking for a good hour on entertainment, stop by the local cabaret for the lady boy show.
The next morning it was time to hit the dirt and get a breeze. Chiang Mai is surrounded by national parks, mountains, reservoirs, and well paved winding roads once you get out of the crowded city. We found 140 km of fantastic switchbacks, a few wrong turns, and some great views.