Day 5 – Chiang Mai – Sunday March 6th 2011
Our sleeper train arrived a few minutes early in Chiang Mai, so we waited around for our transport to the Hotel. Our driver arrived in a nice modern pickup truck with comfy benches in the back and a roof. As pickups go, this was a decent example. Our hotel was located just outside the southeast corner of the Chiang Mai canal boundary. The Winner Inn was clean and tidy, and maybe a bit old fashioned. Considering it cost us almost nothing, it was relatively luxurious, and certainly nicer than a hostel.
The restaurant area had a strange British Seaside feel to it. It’s hard to explain, but we could almost have been in Brighton twenty years ago.
Chick wasn’t feeling well so Nic, Frank and I went to explore the city, and to find Chick some medicine. We went to the market and had a look round some temples. It is customary to remove your shoes when entering a temple, but the ground is hot in Chiang Mai. We wanted to light some candles and incense and almost burnt the skin off the soles of our feet in the process.
The main centre of Chiang Mai is surrounded by a moat. We ventured outside this liquid boundary to find the Airport Plaza which was a massive Mall with a huge food court. We ate some food from a Japanese stall, got some medication for Chick’s throat and then caught a Tuk-Tuk back to the Winner Inn (Which we pronounced Vinner Inn).
Before the night out, I applied my various potions – 55% Deet to repel insects, Anthisan for the bites I already had and Savlon for my already flip-flop ravaged feet. I had been told to wear long sleeves and long trousers in the evening to avoid getting bitten too badly. For the most part that plan worked.
After dark we walked to the famous night market. It was so busy, and there were swarms of flying ants (or something similar) buzzing round the street lights. After an hour or two, the ants had mostly disappeared (we saw some Thais catching them in bags and eating them!).
Nic and I sampled our first street food here with samosas and spring rolls. We were also on the lookout for Chang beer t-shirts. Everyone had them and Chang beer has become one of my favourites, on account of the unpredictable alcohol content. We didn’t find the right size t-shirts but Nic did get some maroon pantaloons.
On our way back from the market we stopped off for a beer at John’s Place. Due to the crazy time difference they were showing the Liverpool Vs Man Utd game live. We left at half time and Kuyt ended up with a hat trick in a 3-1 win.
Tomorrow is Jungle trekking, and none of us know what to expect.