As we checked-in to our Guesthouse (CM Blue) in Chiang Mai we knew we would love this city. In the centre of Chiang Mai you find the Old Town which is encased by the old wall. Unfortunately the wall is now only in sections however you can imagine it surrounding the entire old city may years ago, this would have been an amazing sight. Within the old city there are little lane-ways filled with quirky coffee shops, bars and food markets where you can some of the best fresh fruit around, great coffee or if you prefer, a cheap fruit shake.
First on our agenda after a good nights sleep was a cooking class. We had decided to go with Siam Rice as they had great online reviews. We were to be picked up from our guesthouse at 9am for our full day cooking class. At 10:30am and after a phone-call to the cooking school a tuk tuk arrived. We were very confused and at this stage realised our concerns of being forgotten about were true. We were taken in the tuk tuk to a morning market where we were met by a lady who rushed us inside and then started explaining to us what all the different curry pastes and vegetables were. She didn’t introduce herself but we figured she must have been one of the staff. All the other participants had already been through the market and were waiting out the front to head to where the cooking would begin. After being rushed through the market we joined the rest of the group and had to remind ourselves that although we were extremely frustrated (not because they had forgotten to pick us up but because when they did they didn’t even apologise or acknowledge that anything had gone wrong) that we needed to clear our minds, forget about the bad start and try to enjoy the day.
The cooking class turned out to be fantastic. Many laughswere enjoyed and we feel we learnt a lot about the base ingredients of Thai cooking. We never realised just how much damn sugar goes into every Thai meal! We cooked seven dishes each so fourteen meals between us, we could not eat them all.
Kim’s favourite was her Thai Green Curry with the curry paste made from scratch and the Mango Sticky Rice which she had them put in a takeaway container as after eating all day she just couldn’t fit it in! Duane’s favourite was the Jungle Curry – he made the curry paste from scratch and it had so many chillies in it your eyes would water just at the smell!
Whilst in Chiang Mai we also discovered some amazing coffee shops and café’s. We ate every meal at Juice4You – a vegetarian place that made the freshest food we had eaten in a very long time. They also made fresh juices whioch we couldnt go past. We generally always ordered the sandwich each day which was super cheap, healthy and oh so fresh.
The rest of our time in Chiang Mai was spent visiting the markets and relaxing. We had one big night out when we met a guy from New Zealand who had just arrived in town. We got talking and he joined us at our Vegetarian place for dinner, we then all went to Zoe In Yellow – the ‘must go’ in the local bar scene. Drinks were cheap and flowing fast and the live music was great. As the night went on we downed more and more cocktails and before we knew it the clock read 4am. We were planning on heading to our next destination of Pai the next day but we did not make it. We instead booked ourselves into an air-conditioned room and slept off our hangovers!
After a wasted day recovering from our hangover it was early to bed. The next morning we were refreshed and ready so we headed to the bus station to find a mini-van to Pai. Four hours later after driving around 762 curves we arrived in Pai. A very small town north-west Thailand that has become a very popular chill-out place for many travellers.
We scored an awesome bungalow across a dodgy bamboo bridge which cost only 100bht per night! Our time in Pai was spent discovering the surrounding landscape on a scooter we hired for a day. We visited Pai Canyon which was a rather impressive sight with beautiful views and we also managed a visit to the hot springs which were absolutely amazing! It was like having a long-awaited bath as the water warmed us right through to our bones.
That evening we were sitting enjoying the best Green Curry Soup for dinner when our NZ friend Eddy walked past! So it turned into another big night where we downed 2 Chang Mate’s (3litres of beer in each Chiang Mate) and then hit the cocktails.
The next morning it was the dreaded mini-van ride back to Chiang Mai. At least we were heading back to one of our favourite places in Thailand where we knew we could get fresh food and good coffee.