A mission to find sticky rice and mango… and other Chiang Mai happenings!

The biggest human migration ever…Chinese New Year…means holiday break and a getaway out of Shanghai for a couple weeks. I picked a great day to get out of town…the temperature dropped to -7*Celsius, my heat went out, and I woke up to no hot water. Later Shanghai, for now I will not miss your cold, rain, and lack of indoor heat! BRRR.

I took the Airport Bus, just outside of Exit 3 of Jing’an Temple for 22 RMB. Crystal clear blue skies as we headed out on the sky highways to the airport. (Like I mentioned before..Don’t let those blue skies fool you!)
Met a girl on the bus moving to Toronto, Canada, she loved it there and was going to find a job. Even though it’s colder there she told me, they have heat…everywhere, so it’s warmer. lol.

Checked in and through security. Flight delayed. Departed around 7p.m. Arrived in Chiang Mai about 11, longest customs line ever. By the time I cleared and got my passport stamped for the 16th country it was after midnight. Got a taxi to the guesthouse for about 180Baht…they increased the price because of the time and I wasn’t about to argue at that time of night.

Arrived at Kittisak Guesthouse on Santisuk Road (off the main area of the city, outside the main walls) and it was one of those moments when you go from minimum heat to sleeping with the windows open in 24 hours. The temperature was actually abnormally cool and rainy for this time of year. So after that first night, I wore two long sleeves and a sweatshirt and leggings and double socks to sleep in as the room didn’t have heat. Needless to say I was not prepared for these temperatures, but the air was so fragrant and fresh, I just bundled up and walked around.
Day 1: I slept in late. Had coffee and planned my week at AOM Coffee. A quaint little cafe on the corner of the guesthouse street. Jajaida, my roommate from this summer in Irvine, took a massage course throughout the week so we hung out at night and thus our obsession with eating Pad Thai (almost everyday at some point!) and mango sticky rice began.
The second night we were walking around a market and side street stalls. No mango sticky rice on this night. But we did have Thai tea and I found quite the variety of coconut chips at a supermarket. I hope I can stock up in Phuket!
Day 2: Signed up for a Thai cooking class at Basil Cookery School . I made Pad Thai, spring rolls, coconut milk chicken soup, panang curry paste, panang curry with chicken, minced pork with holy basil, and mango sticky rice for dessert. It was so much fun! I met really nice people from England and Holland, we had a good time cooking together! A lovely rainy fresh day inside in the warm kitchen.
I met up with Jajaida and we went to have a Blind Thai Massage to support an organization that creates jobs for the blind. For dinner, we ate more Pad Thai at this neighborhood restaurant called Brotherhood and found a mango sticky rice place after the first place the took took driver took us to was closed as it was a street stand. The place was called La Mango. Delicious.
Day 3: Took a tuk tuk to the Yoga Tree. Lovely gardens surrounding the classroom. Fresh air and a good start to the day. The teacher was from Belgium. After class, I decided to walk around the area and ended up at Mixology for some lemongrass tea while I watched the cars pass by. Later as I continued my walk and had lunch at Big Tree. Ate traditional Khao Soi—rich Thai coconut-curry noodle soup for lunch with Thai tea. Lovely afternoon for a walk. I almost have the hang of the main routes in the city…almost…but don’t ask me what direction I’m heading! Chiang Mai is such a chill city compared to Shanghai…fresh air, less traffic, less people, kind people, and for being such a tourist spot the people didn’t shove things in your face to buy or persuade you to book a tour. The availability was present, but no street marketers.

What a pleasant surprise and a calming vibe! My new city love.

We had good luck tonight with food. Ate at Dash! a great restaurant down a side street and the Coffee Club for a chai latte/coffee and mango and sticky rice.
Day 4: I booked a bike tour with Grasshopper Adventures to see Historic Chiang Mai. A fun filled day on a bike with an excellent guide! We toured back alleys, markets, temples/ wats, and learned so much about the city! I highly recommend this company…very organized and reliable.

After the ride, I took a nap. 🙂 For dinner, since I was now starting to get my bearings of the city and where our guesthouse was located in relation to the main road and city walls, we decided to go walking. We ended up walking along the main road where food stalls popped up selling traditional food and fresh fruit drinks. We sat on plastic chairs and enjoyed every bite! Thai food heaven.

Day 5. My last day in Chiang Mai. Went to yoga and then decided to take back alleys back and wandered around for a few hours. Beautiful flowers, quaint houses, brick roads, quiet neighborhoods, strangers smiles, and fresh tropical warm air made for a delightful afternoon stroll.

After Jajaida completed her final testing for massage therapy school, we went to get an oil massage. This particular center assisted women inmates after release to find work and acclimate back into society. Lila Thai Massage was super clean and inexpensive, very good quality. A great way to give women back their dignity indeed.
Then we met up with her massage therapy classmates and went out to dinner. What a great last night with a fun group of people!

Day 6. 4 a.m. came way too fast. But now it’s off to Phuket and the teal waters of the southern part of Thailand! Beach bound. Cheers Chiang Mai~~~

TUK TUK riding!!!
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