Exploring the Beautiful Chiang Mai
When we were planning for this Thailand trip, we knew we want to let the girls try traveling by train. Not wanting to spend too much time in one place, we tried to research other cities other than Phuket and Bangkok. Thinking that Phuket is in the south and Bangkok is in somewhat middle of Thailand, it came naturally for us to check out the northern parts of Thailand.
Looking for unique activities for us during the trip, I saw numerous blogs about these Elephant Rescue Parks. Upon reading more about their advocacy, I knew this is the one I want the girls to grow up with. And so Chiang Mai became our northern part of Thailand to explore and we didn’t make a mistake about it!
Upon arriving in Chiang Mai, our adventure started when Jeff unknowingly booked a songtaew (red truck) as our Grab! We’re all giggling at every bump during the ride. And though all of us are smothering with sweat by the time we arrived at our Airbnb, we all knew it was just the start of our 2-week adventure.
We arrived around 4 pm, and after settling down for a while, we then headed out to find where to eat dinner. I knew there was a night market nearby so we decided to just walk, guided by Google Maps. Chiang Mai instantly felt at home, like the Philippines but safer. The weather was humid, with cracks on the sidewalk, but has a calmer and relaxed vibe to it.
As we arrived at our destination, we were puzzled why a lot of shops aren’t open yet and there aren’t any people at all. It was so different from the ones we see in photos on blogs and vlogs on YouTube. What confused us more was we were at the night market yet a lot of tuk-tuk drivers are still asking us if we want to go to the Sunday night market.
Thinking we were just early, it was around 5:30 pm by then and just looked around on what to see. After an hour of going around in circles, it dawned on us! Sunday night market is different from the night market we were at! The Sunday night market which happens only every Sunday (duh!) happens along the Ratchadamnoen Road from the Tha Phae Gate of the Old City!
As the kiddos are beginning to run out of energy from walking around for an hour, we knew they won’t last long if we walked for another 20 minutes to the Sunday Night Market and so we gave in to riding our first and only tuk-tuk ride of this Thailand trip! haha… It cost us 100Baht for a 1km ride from Chiang Mai Night Bazaar to Tha Phae Gate.
And this is where all the people of Chiang Mai must have been. It’s amazing to think that just a kilometer away, it felt like we were in a secluded village and then suddenly be in a crowded place, bustling and colorful, with even a boxing fight happening on one part and a long (literally long cause it’s about 1km) line of shops that participate for the Night Market.
We walked at what seemed to be an unending stall of garments, food, handcrafts, paintings, massages, etc! The place was packed! What makes this place lovable though is its vibe. Despite people walking elbow to elbow, you can feel how relaxed everyone was, not there to haggle but to chill and enjoy. I guess it’s also because most of the people are tourists who have the same intention as what I mentioned.
Anyways, the kiddos started to get grumpy, and excited to go back to our Airbnb after buying a bathbomb, and with Pad Thai and Mango sticky rice hand for dinner, we headed home. We took another songtaew on the back as we also bought some drinking water, food for brekky the next morning, and some toiletries.
The Pad Thai was sumptuous and mango sticky rice started to become the girls’ new fave food (minus the coconut sauce and rice puffs on top of the sticky rice). They quickly finished their food and headed for their long-awaited bath in the bathtub, with their bath bomb of course!
We slept early as we got an early call time the next day. We have planned to celebrate my birthday with the elephants at the Elephant Rescue Park.