Friday, October 8, 2010

Chiang Mai

The next stop on our trip was Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. Phil was actually born in Chiang Mai, where his Dad was working as a young doctor. He had never been back to Chiang Mai since those early days, so it was a nice homecoming of sorts for him. There are still some family friends of his living there, so we were able to get a local's guide and perspective on the city. After arriving, we visited some of Phil's family haunts, such as the house he lived, the hospital where he was born, and where his parents worked.

Phil's Early Childhood Home

International School Where Phil's Mom Worked

Chiang Mai has an old walled part of the city with a lot of temples and unique places to see. Within the walled area, there are lots of restaurants, cafes, bars, and other things to do, but because of the protests and the low season because of the rains, most everything was empty when we visited. Walking around the city, we immediately liked Chiang Mai more than Bangkok. Chiang Mai seemed smaller and more charming, with less pollution and more green areas. There were very few, if any, skyscrapers and everything seemed more laid back. We also felt like things were less touristy, with the temples being free to enter and real monks living there. 

Old City Walls 

Monks in Temples 

Golden Temple

Tangle of Power Lines Seen Everywhere in Thailand

Old City Wall at Night

One of the nights in Chiang Mai, we visited a walking street with vendors selling food and miscellaneous trinkets. Despite having seen many streets like this before, the one in Chiang Mai was really cool and had more interesting things to see than others. There were several groups of blind guys playing nice music on the street and it added a nice atmosphere. For food, you could buy Pad Thai, Satay, or other Thai delicacies and we enjoyed the opportunity to sample several new things. There was also a Night Bazaar in the old city area and we went there to check out the wares and also catch some of the World Cup soccer games being played on TVs in the area.

Walking Street 

Blind Musicians

Pad Thai Noodles Straight from the Source 

Thai Satay

Outdoor Restaurant

Wanna Buy Some Elephant T-Shirts?

On our last night in Chiang Mai, we went to Phil's family friends' restaurant called The Gallery. It's a really nice restaurant on the river and has had some pretty swanky guests in the past, such as Hillary Clinton back when Bill was the President. Since the couple is part Swiss and part Thai, the restaurant has some interesting fusions of German and Asian cuisine, my favorite being the mango strudel.

Mango Strudel

Myrtha, Phil, and Wes

The Whole Group at The Gallery 

The Gallery

We really enjoyed our time in Chiang Mai and northern Thailand. We also did a two day eco-tour trip to some hill tribe villages in the Chiang Mai area, which I will write about in the next post. I highly recommend getting up to Chiang Mai and spending some time relaxing in the city.


Scott and Becky said...

Hey Wes; Great pictures, Who is Phil?

Wes said...

@Scott and Becky: Phil is an old friend of mine from my days studying at Northwestern University.