Travel, Food & Books

Chiang Mai The New City

Chiang Mai is the second-largest city in Thailand with its 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 the fare about 400-600Baht. However, I’m not sitting on a bus for 10 hours journey unless there’s no other option. And since flight and train are a much comfortable way of travelling, we opted for it.

Hazy Sunset

Our flight touched down Chiang Mai International Airport after an hour and fifteen minutes journey. The moment we stepped out from the airport, my nostrils 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 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 located in the Old City, and it’s about 20 minutes away from the airport.

Our dinner at 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 with 200Baht for two ways just for the two of us. The ride through the winding uphill takes about 55 minutes.

From the base where the driver dropped us, we climbed the 306-steps Dragon railings staircase. The entrance fee is 30Baht per person. Before entering the temple, I rent a Sarong for the cost of 10Baht. It was clean and has 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 drove us to Wat Chedi Luang. We decided to have lunch somewhere before walking back to the Guesthouse which is about 12 minutes walk.

Wat Chedi Luang was said to be built sometime between 1385 – 1401 during the reign of King Saen Muang Ma. Before the massive earthquake struck in 1545, the original height was about 85 meters. After some partial restoration done in 1992, its height now is approximately 60m, and the base about 44m wide. There are four stairways, each guarded by stone dragons (Nagas), and there are 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 number 1 bar.

On our final day, before we went to the railway station, we had meals at The Good View Restaurant together with Tim and Laura. 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 a 1st class was 1,953 baht per person. We have our private cabin for privacy, and there’s a sink where we can 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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