Full today. Come back tomorrow.

When we first arrived in Chiang Mai, Alina had done her research and put together a list of potential awesome guesthouses for us to stay at. However, as we made the rounds, doing the backpacker shuffle, we quickly discovered that Chiang Mai is a popular place, and finding that perfect place to stay was harder than we thought. One of the things we were looking for was a place with a communal kitchen, as it would allow us to save a lot of money cooking for ourselves.

DSC01074WThere were only a few places we could find that fit this requirement and one of them was a place called Giant.

DSC01012WGiant has two locations (plus another in Pai), one in the north of the old city and the other in the south. We went to both and heard the same thing. “We’re full, but come back at checkout tomorrow and maybe we’ll have something”. Ok, fine, so we settled for a regular hotel room with no charm for one night. Next morning, Alina went searching, and managed to squeeze us into the southern Giant, though paying about 30% more per night than we were hoping for.

Still, it was a pretty cool place. Communal kitchen with rice cookers, burners, and refrigerators. Free water, coffee and tea. Couches and free bikes to borrow.

DSC01096WBut, it was a bit pricey, and we’d rather be in the more happening north part of town. So while I was sick, every morning Alina would head up to the northern Giant and make the daily inquiry. It only took five days to get in. But we were glad we did!

DSC01076WThe room cost dropped back down to what we were hoping for, freeing up more money for going out to eat. yum! Plus, all the freebies were still there, and the kitchen was actually better. We spent a delightful week there, making our daily excursions, and coming back each afternoon or evening to cook and lounge around.

DSC01078WWe met a few people and had some great exchanges as well. The was a Spanish family with two young children, who’d already spent nearly two months in Thailand. They said traveling was hard, but once you were settled in a good place, the kids loved it. We also exchanged advice with a couple who was off to Angkor Wat in a few days. They told us all about the beaches in the south and where we should head to avoid the crowd. All in all, a really great experience.

DSC01131WWe’re off to Pai now, hoping to stay at the Giant there, which is supposed to be bungalows next to the river. I hope we can get in!

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