Nevertheless, a trip without expectation usually turns out great. I didn't do any homework, fully relied on my partner. What I had in mind was just food, night market and massage.
I did browse for information through a printout during my boarding wait. Found that Chiangmai or northern Thailand has been famous for their coffee bean, and there are many cafe along their streets. Hooray! Since I have been exploring with coffee making lately, I got excited with that.
First surprise - Chatime onboard on AirAsia!
|Empress Hotel lobby|
|Pancake + Bacon combination|
With some quick help from our meet and greet driver, we hit to the nearest night market after checking in, that itself needs 15min walk, not too bd. a tuk-tuk ride will cost 60Baht.
Anusarn Night market, seems to be a local night market, less foreigner. Understand the place is famous for cabaret show, saw some of them around the corner when we about to hit out from the place.
Souvenirs are generally unique compare to Bangkok, and price wise is cheaper too. Managed to grab myself some here, lucky enough as this place is much cheaper compared to other weekend commercial night markets.
|Anusarn Night Market|
|Local food - Dinner|
We had our dinner here, at the local stalls. Served nice pork fried rice (khao pad), which I am glad I ordered that. My partner order tom yum and it was terribly spicy! Northern spicy level is greater than the Southerns, mind you if you have less spicy tolerance.
Intended to hit to another Saturday Night Market at Walai Street. Somewhat the tuk-tuk driver heard wrongly, instead brought us back to another commercial place nearby Anusarn below Le Meridien Hotel. We took another tuk-tuk to Walai.
|Saturday Nite Market @ Walai St.|
|Saturday Nite Market|
|Coconut Ice cream potong|
|Worship the cow|
After a simple supper at nearby stall, we ended the half day adventure in Chiang Mai town center. Getting ready for a full day adventure the next day!
Earlier at Anusarn market, we bumped into a Penang couple. They'd been offering many tips around, including renting a motorbike for tour, which is super worthwhile, they rented for 150Baht (RM15)/day. Instead, we paid slight premium of 250Baht/day. We need to fill up the tank. 100Baht of petrol is just too much for a day tour around the town.
|Local petrol station|
Spotted this nice decent coffee house opposite Petronas petrol station. Siam in Frame, located below a hotel. I was earlier attracted by its English style setup. The internal design was filled with lots of Siamese miniature in frame. I ordered Doi Chaang coffee, did my search on the spot and found its pure local Northern Thailand coffee, mainly found in Chiang Rai. Price wise, it is consider much attractive than Malaysia cafe's price. First of all, we don't have many of such cafe around, secondly, a glass of iced coffee like this will easily cost >RM10.
|Siamese Miniature in Frame|
|Doi Chaang Iced coffee|
|Khao soy - Local curry noodle|
|Egg noodle soup|
|Cooking paste, local taste|
After the cheap and nice massage, we head for afternoon coffee once again. Saw this BON coffee shop few blocks from our hotel, seems good. Hence, we made ourself filled with caffeine again. To my surprise, this BON coffee and its beans are all local Thailand made. They even have their cafe academy behind the cafe. Nice setup. Check out BON Cafe Thailand website, they have tonned of good stuffs in there, even with downloadable magazines. If you wish to take up Barista course, suggest to go Thailand, they have many courses to choose. Even able to help you, if you wish to own a coffee shop.
|Sandwich set + coffee|
|Pancake set + latte|
|Coffee bean pack, less than 190Baht|
|On the bike|
|Market in the temple|
|Siam Fried Bihun|
Upon the last market lane corner, we found a decent place to eat. Mainly cater for tourist, the Westerner. Ambience was good, but the food wasn't that great. The curry noodle and green curry wasn't spicy at all. Only good was the beer and mango sticky rice. Oh well, the price was good, it merely cost us 400Baht for all the food we had.
The last stop we had for the night, was in fact another Thai body massage near our hotel. Hihi.. massage after massage in the day? That must be crazy. Nevertheless, it was a great trip with all good walk, good sleep, good food and good massage.
Chiang Mai is rather a place with slow pace, as compared to Bangkok. It is rather a quiet and low density place, no wonder retiree likes here. Good place to visit, if you are a nature's lover. Some Yogi would fly here on purpose, just to attend Yoga retreat course.