People always talk about finding “gems” when they discover a new restaurant tucked away down an alley or a store they never knew was there before.
One day it’s my new favorite Thai dish or the cutest little temple, the next it’s a beautiful garden café or a reggae hostel with free water, free wifi, free coffee, free bikes, a communal kitchen and book exchange. With temples, food stands and markets on every corner, the more I discover about Chiang Mai, the more I love it.
Although parts of the city scream of touristy trips to zipline through the jungle, or to trek with the elephants, the city takes it in stride. Much like Cambodia the line between local and tourists is blurred in many places and restaurants with plastic chairs and menus I can’t read are juxtaposed with a Crazy Cat Café or a Miguel’s Loco Tacos.
During our housesit in order to get into the city we had to walk for about 20 minutes and then hail one of the yellow songthaews which run continually along a main road to and from the city and cost about $0.50 one way. Rush hour can be interesting because as they fill people start to ride them hanging off the back, plus monks have priority, but they are not permitted to touch women so let the shuffling begin.
At the time we were more than happy to enjoy the comforts of a house and the company of the animals, but now that we are staying right in the Old City we have had a wonderful time seeking out new markets, neighborhoods, temples and restaurants.
More to come as we explore this wonderful city!