All in all, we spent 18 days in Chiang Mai, between taking care of business, Sean’s trip to the hospital, and Christmas. On what turned out to be our actual last day in Chiang Mai (as opposed to the days we thought were our last days before we got waylaid), Sean twisted his ankle so bad we contemplated going back to Chiang Mai Ram Hospital. At that point, we were starting to think it was a sign that we should just move in somewhere. Luckily, Sean’s ankle was okay after some ice so we got out before something else happened. But not before taking tons of pictures…
I can't really think of anything else one might need. Yep, Chiang Mai clearly has been "discovered."
Khao soy - red curry, coconut milk, meat and veggies, egg noodles, and fried egg noodles. A delicious northern specialty.
The river in Chiang Mai, as taken as we walked off our khao soy to make room for cheesecake.
Mango cheesecake at Love at First Bite, a bakery owned by a Thai couple who learned how to bake in the United States. Love at first bite, indeed.
Mango and sticky rice. Delicious, whether on the street or all fancy-like. I'm sensing a mango theme to this post.
Iced mocha at Akha Amma coffee cafe. The cafe is a bit out of the way but that's all the more reason to go. Akha Amma is leading the way for fair trade and organic coffee in Thailand. We would have loved to check out their coffee plantation in Chiang Rai, but the dates didn't coincide with our visit to Northern Thailand.
Another reason to check out Akha Amma - gorgeous flowers in their outdoor garden.
My favorite smoothie at Dada Cafe, aptly named "My Favorite Smoothie." Mango, passion fruit, pineapple, and homemade yogurt. I can't tell you how many of these I consumed during our time in Chiang Mai.
The market by the Chiang Mai gate, where we ate dinner on the cheap many a night. Hmmm...this post is turning out to be all about food.
Pad thai from the street vendor on the other side of town.
Nimmanhaemin road - the best place to get away from the tourists and frog ladies. The neighborhood, which is not too far from the university, is filled with trendy shops, restaurants, and clubs.
Speaking of Nimmanhaemin Road, it is where we ended up spending Christmas. The cafe where we ate Christmas dinner was full of locals NOT eating Christmas dinner. Despite this, we thought this balloon popping contest was a Christmas celebration, given that it was next to a Christmas tree, but it turns out it was to celebrate the cafe's anniversary. This is me, kicking butt. I popped three balloons with one dart to win a stuffed puppy.
After dinner, we took our new travel companion out for some dessert. Turns out Puppy likes cheesecake.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, all of the tourists can be found at the Sunday Night Market. But so can lots of locals. The streets are stuffed to the gills during the Sunday Market, but the energy gives you a buzz, the street food is cheap and tasty, and some of the stuff for sale might actually be things you actually want. (I broke months of no jewelery purchases to buy a really nice stone handcrafted necklace that could easily go for 4 to 5 times as much at home).
You didn't think we'd leave Chiang Mai without taking a cooking class, did you? It's practically mandatory but also super fun. Here's Chef Sean, grinding up some curry.
Chiang Mai: The End.