My Contiki group have gone for a cooking class I didn’t want to be a part of, so instead I’ve just visited the beautiful madness that is the Chiang Mai weekend night market. The heat intensifies as you step into the vacuum of people shuffling along with tiny steps, the salespeople sitting and handcrafting their wares as they man their stalls, the stock ranging from woodwork to textiles to toys to jewellery to soaps to food and beyond. All of this is made to feel more visually gorgeous with the twinkling lights and lanterns draped around the labyrinth of open spaces and narrow, winding alleyways.
I am sweating so much after picking up a few souvenirs and gifts to take home, when I happen across a small street seemingly devoid of stalls. I divert this way to pass a few cute looking bars, and find myself feeling more refreshed after the first few sips of my cocktail at a funky little place called The Kalae Bar, complete with international flags hanging from the walls, colourful paper lanterns, lovely seat cushions, catchy music and even complementary Connect 4 and packs of playing cards at the tables, as well as a pool table inside. Truly a great little find, and a great break away from the market that awaits my inevitable return.
From my very first impressions of Chiang Mai, it feels really quite different to the capital of Bangkok. There’s a good, laid back vibe here, and I can already tell I like it here.
Earlier on we visited a temple on Doi Suthep, very grand with golden statues aplenty, and I was fortunate enough to even receive a blessing from a monk in the onsite temple. A mass of false flowers graced the outer edges, potential prayer offerings, and we could get our fortunes revealed by shaking a pot of sticks and taking a message corresponding to the number of the first one that drops. All the temples I’ve seen so far I’ve enjoyed, but having the chance to really get involved in local rituals and really learn about the religious roots behind such a wonderful demonstration of architecture makes it all the more special. I genuinely look forward to what else this city has to offer.
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