Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Asian Adventures: Chiang Mai City

We're just back from an amazing two weeks in Asia, a week in Thailand and a week in Malaysia. It's been so unbelievably wonderful - words don't quite cover it! I really want to go back again one day. We met hubbie's best friend, another C, who lives in Sydney with his wife. His wife's 7 months pregnant so sadly we didn't get to see her, but at least it was due to a very happy reason :)

We started out in Chiang Mai, which is a city in Northern Thailand. I'd never been to Asia before and I'm pretty sure I just spent the first few days walking around staring, everything was so different and vibrant. Tuk tuks everywhere - my overriding memory is probably whizzing through the streets in the back of a tuktuk, wedged between the two boys with the wind in my hair. You see the real city in a tuk tuk as you pass through windy narrow streets on your way to some land mark or another. It's an experience - from the haggling over the fare (a real eye-opener, first haggling experience of my life as I hate it!) to the holding on super tightly as you weave through busy traffic.

There are wats (temples) everywhere. I felt very ignorant as I didn't really understand what the different parts of the temple were for, so a post-holiday activity will be reading up on Buddhism. The temples were all very ornate and pretty, and there were monks everywhere - easy to pick out from the crowds in their orange robes. 

One of my favourite things we did in Chiang Mai was a cooking lesson - we love Thai food and it was so great to make your own dishes. It was super hot mind, so a lot of blood sweat and tears (not very hygenic!) went into our various dishes.

(From left to right - Tom Yam soup, Pad Thai and Tofu Massaman)

Another favourite thing was the night markets - in particular the Sunday night walking bazaar, which is in the centre of the old part of Chiang Mai. Lots of people and things to buy - again I had to brush up on my haggling, but I think I got better over time (a beer or two helped!). I was in awe at all of the fake designer goods - I'm so clueless about these things I'd never know the difference to be honest. There were also food stalls, with yummy fresh food. The atmosphere was great, it was the most amazing place to just sit and watch everyone.

Another great experience was going to see traditional Thai dancing - we went to this incredible hall on the outskirts of town, were fed amazing northern Thai cuisine and watched some beautiful dancing. I loved the costumes and the music, I think there was some kind of story but it got lost a bit in translation! It was great to see some traditional Thai culture though.

I hope all is well in blogland and you all had a lovely Easter - it's rather passed us by this year, but no regrets at all there :)