I promise to myself that I would be back!
Yes! That was the effect that Chiang Mai had on me. Being a family member of AirAsia, one of the advantages is to fly more often and visiting places that we never even dreamt of visiting earlier. So,I grabbed this opportunity and my first destination Chiang Mai, about 700km northwest of Bangkok, Thailand.
I arrived there at about 1130hrs on 1st Jan 2009. It was a great start to a new year. My Thai friends say that it is cold there in the Winter (Dec – Feb) , which made me decided to go in January, to personally experience the temperature. However, I guess that I was ‘over excited’ as it wasn’t as cold as I expected and imagined. The weather and temperature was just nice to walk around in our short sleeve t-shirts , but not to the extend of needing a thick sweater and scarfs 😉
Even though I had issues communicating with the locals in Chiang Mai as they really could not understand English, I really felt safe through out my stay. Chiang Mai is a very safe city – I could walk around in the city alone, as late as 10pm. I could just stop a red taxi or tuktuk, jump in, and show the map of the places that I would like to go to the driver ( they didn’t even charge me extra or try to cheat me!) and arrived there safely.
The red taxi
I didn’t have any fixed plan and where to visit, but a few recommendations from my fellow colleagues, I ended going to Doi Suthep (the temple in the mountains) , I visited the Chiang Mai Zoo on the way down ( I touched my first elephant and lion cubs here!!) , went to Night Bazaar (I recommend this to the shopaholics – much better and cheaper than our PS Boutique) and other temples / Wats in the city .For people who prefers going out at night, they do have good hang out places such as pub & restaurants and nightclubs!
The stairs going up to Doi Suthep
And the food…let’s say if I were to have a guide, it would be easier to find halal food. Well, without them, I still managed to enjoy and with its low cost of living, you could just end up eating and eating while walking in the city!
The local strawberries which was eaten with sugar and chilli
With about RM300, for a 3 nights stay, I managed to get a decent and clean room at one of the guest house in the middle of the city, transportation to go places, food and drinks and a little bit of shopping. Not bad!
I have fallen in love with this city and will definitely return to Chiang Mai.
P/S: A special note to my friends in Chiang Mai; Tum, Nok, Tin, Ump and Sina – even though you guys were very busy, you still had some time to spend with me. Thank you!