Click on the markers on the map below to explore
-> Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is Thailand's second largest city, at 250,000 people. If this seems like a small number, it's because it is. Bangkok has 8-14 million people, depending on how you count, but the majority of the 65 million Thais live in the countryside.
Chiang Mai was originally the capital of the Lana kingdom, and was founded in 1296. The old city is surrounded by a square moat about a kilometer on each side, and the old walls are sometimes visible next to the moat.
We took the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. For some reason, I thought that the first class sleeper cars would be luxurious, but they were pretty uncomfortable and grimy, although you get a lot of room in them. Also, the train took 17 hours to get there. The bus takes 8 hours and a plane takes one hour, and they all cost the same thing. Oh well. Jill said it was the one bad hotel of the trip: "If this hotel room wasn't moving, there's no way I'd be staying in it!"
Chiang Mai is at the base of the largest mountains in Thailand, and you can see some of the landscape during our trip to the hill tribes, the Hmong and Karen. It also has more temples than you can shake a stick at, lots of great spas (we got a massage nearly every day) and a vibrant street market on Sunday night that is way above and beyond the normal tourist markets in Thailand.
More creepy wax monks. Detailed down to the hair stubble on their heads.
This isn't Buddha, it's a guy who was really good looking, so he made himself fat and ugly to be a better buddhist
This restaurant is called "Just Kao Soi" It only serves Kao Soi, the rich noodle curry from northern Thailand
There's a night market every night over by the river, but the Sunday walking streets market is much better
Ernst's dishes: stir-fried pork and panang curry
Tom Yum Goong sweet and spicy soup
The private deck of our room at Baan Booloo
I don't know if thai people actually eat any bugs (they definitely use ant eggs as seasoning) or if these are for drunk tourists
This guy was selling pork treats. Hence the hat
Food court in a temple
This tar-like black jelly treat was everywhere.
Did you know there was a lake placid 4? Did you know there was a lake placid 2?
Foot bath at another spa
The decorations on the tops of roofs are swans, a holy animal
These are creepy wax figures of monks. It took us several minutes to be certain they weren't real people
Old city wall
As you can see, the sidewalks are under construction. Luckily, the traffic isn't that bad.
The most adorable van ever!
One of the expensive spas we went to (expensive means that a massage costs $30)