Chiang Mai (Pt 1) – Old Town & Night Bazaar
Updated: Nov 8, 2022
A journal style look into my first day in Chiang Mai, Thailand in April 2019.
Dates: April 8 – 11, 2019 Number of days: 3 days Weather: 100’s (ºF), sunny, humid
Chiang Mai is full of things to do. Anything from food, to temples, to cooking classes, to elephant sanctuaries. It really has something for anyone. Even though it’s a large city, it has a really cool culture to it. It is bustling with people and yet you can still find places where you can’t see anyone near you. Chiang Mai was my favorite city we went to and I would definitely come back again and stay longer.
*I’m breaking this post up into 3 parts since it’s so long. I’m going to do it by day (day 1, day 2, etc.)
Old Town – April 9, 2019
On our first day, we arrived in Chiang Mai at the train station at 7:15am as we’d taken the night train. We hailed a taxi that drove us to the outskirts of the Old City. The taxi driver was very nice and friendly. We couldn’t check into our hotel until the afternoon. So we decided to wander around Old Town Chiang Mai. Thankfully, the hotel let us leave our bag in the lobby so we didn’t have to carry it around.
We were both hungry so we hunted for a place that made fruit shakes. Fruit shakes are rather different in Thailand than back home. In the U.S., the word shake is usually associated with ice cream, but in Thailand there is no dairy in it. It’s just fruit, ice and a sweetener. We finally found a place that was open at 8am called 30baht Smoothies. It was one of those places you just don’t watch while they make the shakes.
We walked past multiple temples and wandered through some markets. We even saw a bicycle race as they passed by. I really enjoyed exploring the temples. I almost preferred just walking by than going inside them. They are so beautiful on the outside!
We stopped by a restaurant and got some delicious yellow curry, which is my favorite type of curry. The yellow curry in Thailand isn’t as sweet as it is in the U.S. It has a stronger turmeric taste. It’s really good and spicy (which I like).
On the way to a cafe I’d seen near our hotel, we found a street vendor that was selling gorgeous handmade jewelry, beaded bags and such. I ended up buying a pair of earrings. It was one of my favorite things I brought back from Thailand. I talked with the lady that owned the shop. Her and her friend make all the jewelry and beaded goods (I got them for 59 baht; $1.91 USD) I’m always amazed at the price difference between Southeast Asia and the United States. I could have easily paid upwards of $30 for them in the U.S.
We found a cute little cafe next to our hotel and hung out there until we could check in. We got some Italian sodas which was such a nice, refreshing drink for such a hot day.
The hotel we stayed at in Chiang Mai we found online for $4.24 (USD) a night for both of us. It was by far the cheapest place we stayed. It was nice to be in AC and cool off. I had been wearing a dress since we had gone to the temple in the morning. The temples require a certain type of attire. After about 20 minutes of walking I came to regret that immensely. There’s just something about it being in the 100’s, humid and thighs rubbing together that really knows how to ruin one’s day. I was chaffing so bad it felt like I might be bleeding. I felt pretty stupid for not thinking about that potential before wearing the dress. It was a long narrow dress so I couldn’t spread my legs out while walking either.
We stopped by a 7/11 and got some baby powder because that was the best we could do with what we had available. When we stopped at the restaurant for curry I was able to put some of the powder on my thighs. (I am aware that it isn’t the best idea to put baby powder near one’s privates since it has talc and has been linked to cancer, but I was desperate okay!). So now for future adventures I will bring a pair of nike spandex to wear underneath my dress to prevent chaffing.
It was such a relief and felt good for a few minutes, but the damage had already been done. I had angry bright red thighs and it hurt bad. That’s another reason we decided to just hang out at the cafe and wait until we could check in at the hotel because I couldn’t walk any more. Once we got in our room, I changed and washed my legs which burned because it was so raw (sorry if this is too much information). My dad went to a pharmacy and got some stuff for my legs (to help heal and prevent further chaffing). We went to the food market that was close to our hotel and got fresh fruit for supper. It was quite an adventurous day.
We decided later in the evening we’d go to the Night Bazaar. It was about a 0.6 miles (one way) walk outside of the old city. We had to cross some busy streets and go through some side streets to get there. It was cool to walk through. We didn’t end up getting anything there, but we enjoyed wandering. We walked back to our hotel in the dark, stopping to get two more bags of pineapple along the way. I think pineapple is one of my favorite fruits in Thailand. It isn’t as acidic as it is in the U.S. It’s more sweet. I could eat multiple bags without it irritating my mouth.
One of the things that stood out to me most when I came to Thailand was how the telephone poles are set up. It doesn’t appear to be very organized. We saw some guys working on them in flip flops standing on the wires. It’s so interesting how cultures differ in small ways.
Purchases for the day
2 fruit shakes from 30Baht Smoothies (60 baht; $1.94 USD)
4 bags of fresh pineapple from street market (80 baht; $2.58 USD)
Bunch of bananas (10 baht; $0.32 USD)
1 yellow curry & 1 masamum curry 75 baht ea (150 baht; $4.86 USD)
2 Italian sodas from Star Cafe (80 baht; $2.58 USD)
Earrings (59 baht; $1.91 USD)
2 Sarongs 100 baht ea (200 baht; $6.48 USD)
Taxi from train station to Old City gate (100 baht; $3.24 USD)
Stuff for chaffing from pharmacy (190 baht; $6.16 USD)
Stuff from 7/11 for chaffing earlier in day (68 baht; $2.20 USD)
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