Felt a bit somber packing up to leave Chiang Mai to fly to Bali. After Bali we only have three days in Bangkok and our Thai adventure will be over.
I really love Chiang Mai. It’s my second favorite place we visited in Thailand, beat out only by Koh Tao.
We decided to hit the streets and wander around since we had a half tank of gas and paid for the bikes until 6pm. We ran into a huge street market on the north side of town (surprise, surprise). What was meant to be a quick stop for food turned into an hour of wandering.
We had bbq pork belly, passion fruit juice, fried quail eggs, fried chicken feet, banana pancake roll, sticky rice and egg on a stick, fresh coconut, Thai doughnut, and more bbq chicken and pork. I’m not even trying to not get fat over here. Too late. So worth it.
We also got 30 minute head/neck/back massages on the side of the street. Nick had a man, I had an old lady that kept rubbing my cheeks. She was actually really good too, but I couldn’t help but giggle when she was manipulating my face!
Sundays are infamous in Chiang Mai because they block off a few of the main roads that run straight through the center of the city and have a full blown street fair! They call it Sunday Walking Street, but I don’t believe that name is very fitting. Sure, it’s Sunday. Yeah, it’s a street, and you’re walking. Ok. But I’d like to call it “Chiang Mai weekly street fair and free for all”. WSFAFFA for short.
Nick was pretty worn out from the first market I drug him through, so he opted to head back to the hotel and let me wander around for a little while. I wish I’d had more time. There was so much to see.
The vendors weren’t just selling the same old tourist shit. Chiang Mai and the surrounding hill tribes are known for their handicrafts. The WSFAFFA was full of hand-made goods; unique clothing, jewelry, and art; foods I hadn’t yet seen or dared to try; and blind people playing musical instruments on the ground. The local Hari Krishnas were walking around singing and dancing and chanting. Random performers were attracting large crowds. The streets were lined with people just trying to push their way through to the next table of stuff to look at or buy.
I loved it!
At 6pm sharp, they played the Thai national anthem, and the whole world stopped. It was the strangest thing to see and be a part of. I think I saw an episode of The Twilight Zone when I was a kid where an entire town just froze in time. And there I was, living it. Weird.
Later that night Nick and I hitched a ride to the airport to take the hour flight to Bangkok. We arrived at midnight and tried to sleep in the airport until our 6am flight. To our dismay, we couldn’t just check our bags and go sleep at the gate. There was nobody there… except for dozens of other travelers also pulling all-nighters in the airport.
What I love, is that Nick couldn’t just be satisfied with a bench and a pillow. He had to string up his fancy new hammock in the middle of the fucking airport! Brilliant idea with regards to comfort, but I knew it wouldn’t last for long when I saw the security guards buzzing around him.
10 minutes later I was woken up by Nick and two guards who were offering to take us to sleep in a quiet and private room. They took us to a freezing cold monk meditation room where we got to have two hours of quiet, sleeping in the dark under the watchful eye of Buddha.