Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chiang Mai

After our hectic time in Bangkok, we were stoked to arrive in Chiang Mai on a lovely night, to somewhere a little quieter. After trying a few guesthouses that had been recommended to us (with no luck), we managed to find our way to TK's Guesthouse. It looked a little dodgy at first but with little choice we stayed there for the night. It turned out that the owner (TK) had actually lived in NZ for about 6 years studying and working in Auckland. The staff were so helpful and right away pointed out the best things for us to do, without the hard sell on packaged tours that other guesthouses in Chiang Mai are famous for.Chiang Mai is a lovely city, built around a moated old town. There are numerous places to eat and drink on the cheap, and several night markets - the best being the Saturday and Sunday walking markets where there was definitely a lot more focus on food and handmade items than the Night Bazaar which was full of the same rubbish we saw all through Bangkok. The weekend markets were also attended by locals whereas the Night Bazaar was mainly tourists. The people of Chaing Mai also seem to be on less of a sell that those in Bangkok, and we seem to be able to get around without being hassled too much for “DVD, watch, bag, tuk tuk!”

On Sunday we decided to do a cooking course out on a farm, 20 km out of Chiang Mai. It was an incredible day and was cool to get out of the city and see how life is in a semi-rural area. We made an assortment of dishes ranging from curries, to noodle dishes and desserts. It was really cool to see how the different ingredients were grown and it gave us a greater understanding of what it was all about when we walked through the Sunday walking market and saw the same food and ingredients for sale.

Today we head further north to Chiang Rai, where we are getting ready to cross the border into Laos. We've heard so many good things about Laos and can't wait to get to somewhere even more relaxing. Its really starting to feel like we're on holiday now, and we are both absolutely loving it. Until next time...

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