Chiang Mai Weekend Market and Various Wats || 10-Day Vacation in Thailand (Day 1)

 To find out what happened before this, please read:  How we arrived on our itinerary  Visa on Arrival Mayhem  Mystery of the Missing Hotel Booking    After settling down in our hotel, we were finally ready to start our vacation. Chiang Mai looked rather promising. Its streets were charming and restaurants quite inviting. We kept our luggage, caught a quick nap, and then took a bath and headed out. Needless to say that after a sleepless night and irregular food, we were starving. We spotted a nice looking restaurant called Dash Teak House and decided to spoil ourselves a little. We thought we deserved a little pampering.

To find out what happened before this, please read:
How we arrived on our itinerary
Visa on Arrival Mayhem
Mystery of the Missing Hotel Booking

After settling down in our hotel, we were finally ready to start our vacation. Chiang Mai looked rather promising. Its streets were charming and restaurants quite inviting. We kept our luggage, caught a quick nap, and then took a bath and headed out. Needless to say that after a sleepless night and irregular food, we were starving. We spotted a nice looking restaurant called Dash Teak House and decided to spoil ourselves a little. We thought we deserved a little pampering. 

We ordered a Khao Soi (Northern Thai Chicken Curry with Noodles - speciality of Northern Thailand) and a Phad Thai with Shrimp. We stayed clear of any mocktails and stuck to plan water. It anyways turned out to be too much food for the two of us, but since this was an expensive restaurant, we made sure we finished everything. Food was extremely tasty and by now we had already struck off two of the many items on our to-do list in Chiang Mai. We had already ridden a Songthaew and now we had had Khao Soi too. Also, this would be the most expensive meal we would have in Thailand. After this, we stuck to street food, which is very easily available and quite safe in Thailand, especially for Indians, since we are used to spices.

We ordered a Khao Soi (Northern Thai Chicken Curry with Noodles - speciality of Northern Thailand) and a Phad Thai with Shrimp. We stayed clear of any mocktails and stuck to plan water. It anyways turned out to be too much food for the two of us, but since this was an expensive restaurant, we made sure we finished everything. Food was extremely tasty and by now we had already struck off two of the many items on our to-do list in Chiang Mai. We had already ridden a Songthaew and now we had had Khao Soi too. Also, this would be the most expensive meal we would have in Thailand. After this, we stuck to street food, which is very easily available and quite safe in Thailand, especially for Indians, since we are used to spices. 


After this nice, though expensive, meal we started our on-foot exploration of Chiang Mai. Most of the places worth seeing in Chiang Mai are in the old town which is surrounded by a moat. And if you plan it well and keep yourself well fed and hydrated, everything can be explored on foot. We planned to do the same.

After this nice, though expensive, meal we started our on-foot exploration of Chiang Mai. Most of the places worth seeing in Chiang Mai are in the old town which is surrounded by a moat. And if you plan it well and keep yourself well fed and hydrated, everything can be explored on foot. We planned to do the same. 


We were fortunate that we had landed on a Sunday, as it was the day for the weekend market that started a few 100 metres from our guest house. We started walking towards that and on the way, we visited one of the most beautiful Wats, Wat Chedi Luang. While the initial couple of buildings are in regular Buddhist Temple style, the real gem is hidden deep inside the complex. It is an old crumbling structure that is no longer safe. So you cannot go inside. But the old elephant statues, the dilapidated stupa, and the broken staircase tell their own stories. We spent some time here, and found that the temple was very difficult to photograph because of the bad light and wrong direction of the sun.

We were fortunate that we had landed on a Sunday, as it was the day for the weekend market that started a few 100 metres from our guest house. We started walking towards that and on the way, we visited one of the most beautiful Wats, Wat Chedi Luang. While the initial couple of buildings are in regular Buddhist Temple style, the real gem is hidden deep inside the complex. It is an old crumbling structure that is no longer safe. So you cannot go inside. But the old elephant statues, the dilapidated stupa, and the broken staircase tell their own stories. We spent some time here, and found that the temple was very difficult to photograph because of the bad light and wrong direction of the sun. 


After that we started walking towards Wat Phra Sing. The Weekend Market was already in the process of being set up and the walk did not feel long because there was so much to see on the way. Also on the way, we walked into Wat Phan Tao, which, with its little pond and bamboo walk, looked quite charming. We would walk into this Wat again at night and with the lamps lit and the fairy lights on, it looked magical then.

After that we started walking towards Wat Phra Sing. The Weekend Market was already in the process of being set up and the walk did not feel long because there was so much to see on the way. Also on the way, we walked into Wat Phan Tao, which, with its little pond and bamboo walk, looked quite charming. We would walk into this Wat again at night and with the lamps lit and the fairy lights on, it looked magical then. 


We reached Wat Phra Sing when the sun had gone down, but it was still a few minutes to darkness. The entrance to this Wat is guarded by Singhs (Lions). This Wat houses an important Statue, known as the Phra Buddha Sihing. As per legend, this statue is based on the Singh of Shakya, which was a statue that used to be housed in the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, India. That statue is now lost.

We reached Wat Phra Sing when the sun had gone down, but it was still a few minutes to darkness. The entrance to this Wat is guarded by Singhs (Lions). This Wat houses an important Statue, known as the Phra Buddha Sihing. As per legend, this statue is based on the Singh of Shakya, which was a statue that used to be housed in the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, India. That statue is now lost. 


The thing about Wats is that unless you have a real interest in Buddhist architecture, one wat would seem similar to the other and hence after seeing a few wats, you probably would like to do something else. So on our way back from Wat Phra Sing, we were glad to see that the weekend market was up and the scene was quite lively. However, we were exhausted. We had walked more than 13000 steps already after a sleepless night. So we decided to get our feet massaged.

The thing about Wats is that unless you have a real interest in Buddhist architecture, one wat would seem similar to the other and hence after seeing a few wats, you probably would like to do something else. So on our way back from Wat Phra Sing, we were glad to see that the weekend market was up and the scene was quite lively. However, we were exhausted. We had walked more than 13000 steps already after a sleepless night. So we decided to get our feet massaged. 


Our masseuse were two middle-aged women. The one who did my massage was really dedicated and made sure that I had the best experience I could have imagined. In general, I do not like getting massages. I find them quite painful. But this was something else. By the end of the intense massage, I was no longer tired and felt that I could walk miles. So we started walking again.

Our masseuse were two middle-aged women. The one who did my massage was really dedicated and made sure that I had the best experience I could have imagined. In general, I do not like getting massages. I find them quite painful. But this was something else. By the end of the intense massage, I was no longer tired and felt that I could walk miles. So we started walking again. 


We were hungry again, so we decided to try some street food. We started with Sushi, which was quite nice. And we tried some coffee from a van, which no one was allowed to photograph. We finished the meal with tiny ice cream cones with different flavors of ice cream. It was quite fantastic and pocket friendly. Then we looked at the shops. There were interesting fairy lights on display and some lamps you could buy. There were handmade soaps as well and endless clothes. If you are up for shopping, this is the best place to be.

We were hungry again, so we decided to try some street food. We started with Sushi, which was quite nice. And we tried some coffee from a van, which no one was allowed to photograph. We finished the meal with tiny ice cream cones with different flavors of ice cream. It was quite fantastic and pocket friendly. Then we looked at the shops. There were interesting fairy lights on display and some lamps you could buy. There were handmade soaps as well and endless clothes. If you are up for shopping, this is the best place to be. 


Anyways, after roaming around for some time, our tiredness returned with a vengeance and we headed for the hotel. It had been an interesting day so far and things had now started looking up. We planned a little for Day 2 and then crashed. Before we knew it, we were fast asleep in our room without an air-conditioner. After a day full of hectic activity, it did not matter whether our room was cool enough or not.

Anyways, after roaming around for some time, our tiredness returned with a vengeance and we headed for the hotel. It had been an interesting day so far and things had now started looking up. We planned a little for Day 2 and then crashed. Before we knew it, we were fast asleep in our room without an air-conditioner. After a day full of hectic activity, it did not matter whether our room was cool enough or not. 

Comments

The Untourists said…
I love the food streets of Thailand. They are so full of buzz and life...
Vibha Malhotra said…
The Untourists! So true. Such a great way to take a real, nice break from the regular life.

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