In October, I headed to Chiang Mai for a much anticipated holiday. It was my first overseas holiday in a year, exactly one year after I returned from my 10 month long travels.
Janice and I flew from Perth, the day after my dad’s 60th birthday. We flew into Chiang Mai where we met up with Jojoballs.
He organised a hotel right in the middle of town. Janice and I were more than happy with our and its purple bedroom suite.
Not to mention it was quite a bonus that we didn’t have to share a bathroom with Jo. On our first afternoon there, after lunch, we walked through the old town for some temple spotting.
There are hundreds of temples throughout Chiang Mai. We must have seen around 25 temples in our first couple of hours there.
Some of them were quite impressive but not all temples were open to the public for viewing.
I only saw the inside of one temple and peeked inside the interior of a few others.
After 3 hours of wandering around, we headed back to our hotel to chill and freshen up. Thankfully we were visiting Chiang Mai during the rainy season so it wasn’t as hot as it can be.
Each day our hotel provided us with water bottles, cake, tropical fruit and buffet breakfast. They also gave us 4 spa vouchers and 4 dinner vouchers which we used on our first night there. After dinner we caught a tuk tuk to a Muay Thai fight.
Turns out the Muay Thai boxing ring was a 5 minute walk away and the tuk tuk was unnecessary.
We watched 5 fights, 4 of which were young kids fighting, including a young female fight. We watched a couple of older teens fight and one adult match between an Irish competitor and a Thai boxing.
While it was entertaining, it was definitely catered towards the tourist crowd.
On our second day there, we went to a Thai cooking class.
The instructor took us to the local market and taught us about the most common ingredients used in Thai cooking.
We chose 3 dishes each to cook, helped prep the ingredients and watched as she demonstrated how to make them.
I chose Yum Woon Sen (glass noodle salad), Pad Thai noodles and Massaman curry.
After each course, we went back to the dinner table to sample our cooking. Janice and I had eaten fruits and tidbits at the market so we didn’t start off with an empty stomach.
Lucky we had Jo there to help us finish our food.
Janice bought some smelly durian from the market.
It stunk up our hotel room and Jo, inspired by the kickboxing fight decided to kick her butt.
That evening we headed to the night bazaar where we picked up some choice souvenirs.
It was also the evening that we discovered the best Roti pancakes in Chiang Mai.
We had them with nutella, banana and condensed milk. Yummmm killer calories!
The next was an early start, a venture into the hills of Chiang Mai for some elephant trekking and water rafting.
While the elephants were beautiful and well cared for, riding on them wasn’t the most comfortable as the seats were makeshift saddles providing us with little support against any sudden movements.
I didn’t relish the thought of the elephant tripping and falling over, bringing me crashing down with it.
I was much more comfortable when we were on the ground again, trusting my own two feet to take me through the hills.
Not all of us was as comfortable as I was on my two feet, or perhaps Janice chose that moment to hone her break dancing skills.
It took us 45 minutes of navigating our way through the sticky, humid hills and it was worth it when we reached our final destination.
That evening, we found ourselves at an all you can eat shabu shabu restaurant. Clearly we thought our day’s efforts meant we deserved to stuff our faces. We had two types of soup (tom yum and clear broth) and chose our selection of food from a conveyor belt.
We walked around the night bazaar again and discovered parts of it we hadn’t seen before.
On our way back, we stopped at a bar we had seen the night before. It was a pop up bar and Ben was a lovely Thai woman who could make over 40 different cocktails.
It was pretty awesome. My favourite cocktail was the pink lemonade.
The next day we spent the day at the famous Tiger Kingdom where Tigers are raised and bred in captivity.
They are not sedated but are just accustomed to human contact.
However there were strict rules we had to follow regarding our behaviour around them.
It was definitely one of the highlights, if not the highlight of the trip for me. Tigers are my favourite animals, followed closely by pandas.
The keepers of each enclosure were really good. They showed us how to interact with the tigers and what poses we could safely make to get the best photos with them.
We spent an hour and a half at Tiger Kingdom before making our way to Doi Suthep temple, a large temple in the hills of Chiang Mai.
Apparently we had to climb over 330 steps to get to the temple but because there were lots of stalls to look at on the way up, it felt shorter.
That evening, we went for our last dinner in Chiang Mai, making the most of it by ordering all our favourite Thai dishes.
After that we went for a walking along the Sunday walking street, which is a street closed off to cars for that night only. It seemed to be visited mainly by locals.
No evening is complete without a visit to Ben’s cocktail bar.
That evening we met a couple of Thai girls from Bangkok and 3 French tourists who could dance the Gangnam Style.
The next day we parted ways with Jo. Janice and I still had the rest of the day there so we spent it very leisurely, indulging in a massage/ manicure and pedicures. While Janice and I flew to Singapore together, she headed back to Perth while I stayed on in Singapore to spend some time with the family.
The 3 ladies of leisure enjoyed a day of high tea, shopping and afternoon tea together. This is the life!
I hadn’t been to Singapore for over a year and it doesn’t fail to amaze me how quickly it can change.
The changes are mostly more shopping centres, more built up skyline, new restaurants or tourist attractions.