IT'S LYNNY KANSAS
DON'T LET THE RUBY SLIPPERS,
OR THE DOROTHY INSPIRED NICKNAME
FOOL YOU., THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME,
BUT TRAVELING IS FUN.
On our first trip to this Northern Thai City, the words Wat and Chedi became oh so familiar. In Chiang Mai it seems, there is a "Wat" with it's accompanying "Chedi" around nearly every corner. I have to admit to looking up these words in the dictionary so I would be better able to recognize which was "Wat" and what was Chedi! A Wat is a Buddhist monastry or temple, a Chedi (also known as a Stupa) is a "bell shaped tower or mound like structure containing Buddhist relics", Buddhism being the predominant religion in Thailand.
Pictured below is the Wat Chedi Luang, a very impressive gathering of Temples surrounding a massive Chedi right in the heart of the walled "Old City" and a few yards from our Hotel in Chiang Mai. For more pictures click here.
We loved our Hotel in Chiang Mai. We picked a small, 41 room Boutique Hotel, The U-Chiang Mai, situated as I said, right in the heart of the old walled city. It was the perfect location from which to walk to virtually everywhere. On a Sunday night the famous "Walking Street" night market takes place, right there outside our front door. The staff at this Hotel were simply the best. The rooms were great and every morning we had a fantastic breakfast included in the price of our room.
They love their markets in Chiang Mai! There is the China Town market, the flower market, the night bazar which is an incredible site to see every night with vendors lining the roads from 5pm till 11pm. Saturday and Sunday are the "walking streets" as they are known locally. Saturday it is held just outside the South gate and on Sunday it is right in the heart of the old city on the street in front of our Hotel. The roads get blocked off around 4pm and the vendors start setting up their stalls. It is a big social event for the locals who love to wander (very slowly lol!) up and down, picking up bites to eat and chatting as they go. Took a little bit of video so you get the idea. Finally around 11pm they pack up and go home. I thought next morning there would be a lot of trash on the street, amazingly the streets had been totally cleared and cleaned.
We got to see a few other local markets too. One was on the way to our Thai Cooking Class (we love to eat it so why not learn how to make it and eat it!) The other was on the way back from a day trip we did. Our driver/guide called it "The Jungle Market" because some of the "produce", comes from the surrounding "jungle", the outskirts of which is home to a lot of the stallholders
Our Thai Cookery Class teacher took us to her local market, Ruamchook Market, where she herself had been a stallholder for 8 years prior to teaching her Thai cooking skills. We had a crash course in rice. You can see from the picture the range of rice available, Jasmine rice, Sticky or Glutinous rice to name a few. She told us what to look for to check if it was fresh or not. Wish I could remember what she said ha ha! I guess when you are buying it in a bag at your local supermarket you just go on the sell-by date!
The "Jungle Market" was really interesting. So many different and unusual things to look at. To the right you have you crunchy dried frogs which are apparently the go to snack when you are enjoying a nice cold Singha beer! There were live bugs and ready cooked ones, honeycombs and all kinds of mushrooms taken from the forest.
So, while we are on the subject of food, let me tell you about possibly our most fun day in Chiang Mai. Our Thai Cooking Class with Thai Farm Cooking. We were collected from our Hotel around 8.30am and taken outside the City to Ruamchook Market where we were shown some different food items needed for our recipes. Oyster sauce, fish sauce, chillies and rice. We were then taken out another 30 minute drive or so took an organic farm. Given lovely red pinnies and our farmers hats, ready to walk around the farm to learn about the rest of our ingredients.
Our Chiang Mai trip was really great. Amongst other things, we saw the Umbrella Village with their colorful parasol festival. Visited the Silk Factory. Took a trip to Bhuping Palace the home the King of Thailand comes to for his winter vacation. Took a trip to the temple of Doi Suthep. Took a trip further north to the town of Lamphang. We saw lots and lots of temples and interesting little things along the streets in Chiang Mai. Please check out my separate photo album for lots more photos.
Thai Farm Cooking School Website
History and Information