Chilling in Chiang Mai

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After Bangkok, we flew to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand with our friends Anna and Sean. We only had a few days in the city together before they headed south, but we made the most of it by exploring all the city had to offer.

One of the things we love most about Thailand is the food and Chiang Mai had tons of options. Every night, several large areas around the city transform from sidewalks to a food lover’s dream: the night markets. Finding something to eat is as simple as walking through the hoard of venders to see what’s on the grill. After choosing your dish, find a table and go to town. Offerings usually include pad thai, fried rice, spring rolls, drunken noodles, various curries, stewed pork, and more. In addition, we also found our two new favorite Thai dishes: pad see ew, a fried noodle and soy sauce dish, and khao soi, a Burmese-influenced spicy coconut chicken noodle soup.

She is known as "cowboy hat lady" and serves up some delicious stewed pork.
Seriously, we ate a lot of khao soi.
A tasting of rice liquor from the mountains to the north as well as one from China.

Apart from stuffing our faces, we managed to get in a solid amount of tourist activities too. We hiked the Monk’s Trail to the top of Doi Suthep overlooking the city and surrounding region, explored the city’s “walking street” markets, and got some amazingly cheap Thai massages for our wedding anniversary.

Hiking up the Monk's Trail.
The path to the temple on Doi Suthep.
Dancing at the Sunday Night Street Market.
A little late night arm wrestling because why not?

Since the region is known for elephant tourism we booked a half day excursion to an elephant sanctuary. We fed and bathed a family of three elephants, played with them in a mud bath, and posed for a bunch of goofy pictures. Aside from a five minute stop in India, this was our first time interacting with elephants. It was cool to see how gentle and smart they are, plus their trunks have so much dexterity!

For many people, the elephants are the highlight of their trip - but let’s be honest: the ladyboy cabaret was the BEST. Laura was the most excited and dragged everyone to the night market to catch a show. Although Vesper and Sean refused to take part, one of our hostel friends participated in the show. It was a hilariously good time!

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