Travel, Food & Books

Chiang Mai The New City

Chiang Mai is the second-largest city in Thailand with a population of about half a million. Located 700km from Bangkok, there are three options to reach this place, bus, train or by flight. The cheapest option is by Bus with a fare of about 400-600Baht.

However, I wouldn’t want to sit on a bus for 10 hour’s journey unless there’s no other option. And since flight and train were a much more comfortable way of travelling, we opted for it.

Hazy Sunset

Our flight touched down at Chiang Mai International Airport after an hour and fifteen minutes journey. The moment we stepped out of the airport, my nostrils were assaulted by the smell of a campfire and my eyes were a bit watery from the haze.

My advice for those who have asthma, cardiovascular or respiratory disease was to avoid travelling here in March. As for us, we just have to limit ourselves to outdoor activities during our three nights here in Chiangmai Boutique House.

The boutique house was located in the Old City, and it’s about 20 minutes away from the airport.

Pictures of our dinner from the local stall near the area.

The next morning, we had our breakfast at the roadside stall in front of Pratu Chiang Mai Market.

We went to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep with a pickup truck, ‘Song Thaew’. We bargained for the fare, and the driver agreed to 200Baht for the return journey just for the two of us. The ride through the winding uphill took about 55 minutes.

From the base where the driver dropped us, we climbed the 306-step Dragon railings staircase. The entrance fee was 30Baht per person. Before entering the temple, I rent a Sarong for the cost of 10Baht. It was clean and had a beautiful pattern.

Do and Don’t in the temple

Dress politely, do not wear shorts
Show respect in the temple and shrine
Take off your shoes before entering the platform around the Golden Chedi
Keep your head lower than Buddha images and monks
Don’t touch the Buddha images
Don’t display affection for another person in public
Always keep clean

The haze was making it hard to view the city from the viewing platform. So there’s nothing much to do up here. We headed back and asked our driver to drive us to Wat Chedi Luang. We decided to have lunch somewhere before walking back to the Guesthouse which was about 12 minutes walk.

Wat Chedi Luang was said to be built during the reign of King Saen Muang Ma, sometime between 1385 – 1401. Before the massive earthquake struck in 1545, the original height was about 85 meters. After some partial restoration done in 1992, its height now was approximately 60m, and the base was about 44m wide.

There were four stairways, each guarded by stone dragons (Nagas), and there were elephants in the midway of the platform.

Wat Chedi Luang

We had dinner at German Hofbrauhaus and then went to catch up with Mike’s mate, Tim and Laura at Bus Bar Chiangmai.

Dinner in German Hofbrauhaus

The following day we went to Chiang Mai Zoo & Aquarium and later that night we had a few drinks at the number 1 bar.

On our final day, before going to the railway station, we had some meals with Tim and Laura at the Good View Restaurant. We sat by the river, and it was a great place with a good vibe. They have a wide range of food options too.

Before travelling here, we had already booked our train ticket online and had it delivered to the Guesthouse. The ticket price we paid for the 1st class was 1,953 baht per person.

We had our private cabin for privacy, and there was a sink where we could wash and brush our teeth without having to queue at the public toilets.

We left Chiang Mai at 4 pm and reached Bangkok the next day at 6:40 am. Overall, I enjoyed the train ride.

Travel Date: 18th ~ 22nd Mac 2015

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