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 is the Old Town encased by the old wall – it is now only in sections however you can imagine the wall surrounding the entire old city – amazing. Within the old city there are little lane-ways filled with quirky coffee shops and bars and food markets where you can get some fresh fruit, great coffee or 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 and enjoy the day.
The cooking class turned out to be fantastic – many laughs and we feel we learnt a lot about the base ingredients of thai cooking and we never realised just how much damn sugar goes into every thai meal! We cooked 7 dishes each so 14 meals all up and we could not eat them all! Kims 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! Duanes favourite was the Jungle Curry – he made the curry paste from scratch and it had so many chillis 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 and awesome fresh juices – we generally always ordered the sandwich which was super cheap, healthy and 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 all got talking and he joined us for dinner at our Vegetarian place for dinner, we then all went to Zoe In Yellow – the local bar scene. Drinks were cheap and flowing fast and there was some awesome live music to chill to. As the night went on we downed more and more cocktails and before we know it the clock said 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!
The next morning we were refreshed and ready so we headed to the bus station to find a mini-van to Pai. 4 hours later after driving on the windiest roads we have ever experienced 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 on a scooter 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 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.