Went with our friend Glenn to the Night Market yesterday. It was much like markets anywhere in Southeast Asia with the usual clothing, nick-knacks etc. being sold and approaches made to us by almost every stall holder. This area contained the most westerners we had seen since leaving Australia and the large numbers of Chinese tourists that visit Chiang Mai were also in evidence here. Currently Russian tourist numbers are down 25% and Chinese numbers are up. Tourism authorities here are a little worried that Thailand may be attracting “The wrong sort” of Chinese tourist (read this to mean the lower class ones with no social graces or manners) and we certainly have been encountering a few of these in Chiang Mai. Eventually found a fresh looking food area in the Kalare Night Bazaar Food Court.
Erica ordered a fresh cooked barbequed squid and a freshly made green papaya salad. The Squid was cooked on a barbeque whilst we waited and then sliced into manageable pieces and served with a fresh tasting but extremely hot dipping sauce. Tasted delicious. The salad dressing was prepared fresh in a giant mortar and pestle and include the Thai ingredients we love such as fish sauce, lemon juice, palm sugar, chillies, whole lime and a few other spices. It was also super-hot but equally delicious and combined to make a memorable fresh Thai dish that we both enjoyed although bottles of water were required to cool our mouths after partaking of it. Yum Yum! Cost 100Baht or $3.84 Australian for Squid and 40Baht or $1.54 Australian for the salad. Any pensioner/retiree can afford to eat this sort of food here! See our pics if you want to make your mouth water!
Wandered through the streets of Old Chiang Mai on our way to our second and third museums. Passed the Brain School and Erica popped in to see about vacancies! Next we stopped at The Fah Lanna Spa which looked fabulous but out of our price range. Spotted quite a few Educational institutions from Technical Colleges to schools. Also a few private residences and compounds, one with four new houses in it. Lots more to Chiang Mai than just Wats.
Still a little browned off by the fact admission is 20Baht for Thais and 90Baht for us Tourists! The Lanna Folk Life Museum was very informative as was the Chiang Mai Historical Centre. We feel we know enough about Chiang Mai now and will avoid any other Museums as our minds and bodies are now officially “Over-Museumed”.
Stopped at a busy street hawker and a`sweet Thai customer suggested I try the Lanna Noodles at the princely sum of 25Baht or 96cents Australian. Well they were very hot and spicy which is to my taste and were excellent. I did however jib at the large pieces of sliced congealed pig’s blood that were a feature of the dish! They did however enhance the delicious flavour of the home made broth that she served from a giant pot. We could afford to eat here often.
As usual on foot again we explored the oldest Wat in Chiang Mai called the Chian Man Temple. The stupa at the Wat had rows of concrete Elephants protecting it and in the grounds was the largest Frangipani we had ever seen. The reason there are so many Wats here is that for 700 years it was the centre of The La Na kingdom that included Burma and Laos.
Walked around another section of the moat and then back into our hotel. We are averaging over 5 hours a day on our feet and walking up to 6 or 7 km so are feeling pretty fit. The temperature is always about 35°C so we get back home pretty hot and sweaty.
A word on our hotel The 99Gallery. It is a great place to stay, the public areas are user friendly, the pool is there if needed and the staff are the friendliest and most helpful we have experienced since the French Hotel in Ipoh, Malaysia. Going out tonight to a Wua Lai street market just outside the Chiang Mai Gate leading out of the moated town. Hope to see the Silver Temple near there.