We arrived off the bus and before we knew it we were cajoled into a waiting TukTuk. As we debated the merits of this action, the heavens opened up so we were glad of the roof!
We arrived at our destination a few minutes later. Funky Monkey Guesthouse lived up to its name with Monkey teddies and jungle motifs. Before we knew it we had a welcome drink in our hand and two of the best maps ever produced!Over the next few days the owner, Nuy would prove to be our saviour, we were going to like it here!
It was dark when we went out and we decided to go to the Night Bazaar nearby. It was Buddha’s birthday so none of the local places were serving alcohol. After dinner we wandered around the market and John bought some new shorts.
The next day we explored the old city. This is located inside a square moat and parts of the original battlements can be seen along its edges. We discovered that down every alleyway was a Wat (Temple). Chiang Mai has over 300 such temples including Wat Phra Singh with its intricate gold and red detailing and Wat Chedi Luang with its huge Chedi that was toppled by an earthquake.
That evening we were collected in a songthaew and brought to a brilliant cook school. Read more about this here.
The next day we went in search of a Camera shop to get our Nikon J1 Lens fixed / replaced (The same one that broke in Jodhpur!!! – sort it out Nikon!!) Following a lead from Karen and with detailed directions on Google maps we got thoroughly lost. It later transpired that the shop had moved and was very close to where we were staying. If you look a map of our route to it it looks like we undertook a huge pincer movement – Von Rundstedt would have been proud.
The shop were useless. It would take a month to fix and they didn’t have replacements. We then met some American guy in a Nikon shirt who directed us to a camera handyman on the other side of town. We went there – another 2 hour wasted as he couldn’t fix it but at least showed us what was wrong so we were able to give up the ghost!
At this point tempers were frayed and petty arguments erupted so we both agreed to head back to the old city and get a massage from a convict!
Chiang Mai Women’s prison has run a massage parlour and restaurant for the last 10 years. It’s role is to rehabilitate prisoners and give them skills. Karen got a Thai massage and had to change into what looked like a prison outfit. John got a foot massage from a women with tattoos on her knuckles. We both passed the time concocting made up background stories on all the inmates.
After this we headed out west to the trendy part of town that was covered with fancy clothes shops, niche boutiques and coffee shops where all the cool kids from the nearby university
While we were here we happened upon a random cafe…
In continuance of the therapy trend, after dinner Karen got a pedicure while John threaded water at “John’s Place” bar. Although the free wifi and chips were nice!
The next day we headed to the Arcade Gallery Bus Station for the bus down to Sukhotai – but it would not be too long before we returned to Chiang Mai!