Ciarán & Elaine's Travelog

Friday, May 25, 2007

Chilling in Chiang Mai

We left Bangkok and got the overnight train to Chiang Mai. With quite a bit of difficulty the seats on the train changed into bunk beds and we cosied up with our curtains drawn and watched a movie on my ipod - thank God for luxuries! We tried to sleep as best we could but with the constant stops, the movement of the train and the lights being left on all night we didn't get too much sleep and got into Chiang Mai train station at 10am the next morning pretty tired only to be set upon by hordes of taxi and tuk tuk drivers all hanging out of us, trying to get our business for the short ride into town.

We eventually went with the least intrusive taxi driver (the taxi's in Chiang Mai are called sangthaews and are basically red pickup trucks with 2 rows of side-facing seats, a roof and an open back) and went into town. We found a guest house called SK House on Moonmuang Soi 9 that has a nice pool - something really nice to have in the hot afternoons.
The reason we left Bangkok when we did was for the Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan and we hooked up with a few other Irish lads in the guest house and headed out that night after a few warm up beers. The pub we had been told to go to was closed and I was starting to think I wouldn't see the game at all but 7 of us piled into 1 tuk tuk and we raced around the streets of Chiang Mai looking for an open bar that was showing the match. We eventually found one just before kickoff. The less said about the game after that the better I suppose. Good performance, bad result will suffice. After that we headed out to a few nightclubs on Loi Kroh Road - all of which seemed to be full of Thai girls who were interested in more than a bit of dancing.

We decided that we couldn't come to Thailand without learning how to cook some of that tasty Thai food we'd become fond of in Australia so we went on a 1 day Thai cookery course with "The Best Thai Cookery Course" company! Its run by a cool, funny guy called Permpoon (his brother is a TV chef over here) and we spent the day cooking in his outdoor kitchen at his house outside Chiang Mai.
We started the day going shopping for all our fresh herbs, spices and other ingredients at the local market - we never knew choosing an egg was such a complicated task! When we saw a woman gutting frogs (with a basin of live ones in a net beside her) and some fried chicken heads, we decided to give that stall a miss! Yeuch! We spent the rest of the day cooking (I learned to cook 'adventure style'!!) and eating all our gorgeous food - 8 dishes in all. We both had to be rolled out of the place by the end!

The next night we went to see some Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) in Kawila stadium. We got a tuk tuk to a ramshackle shed which passed as the stadium and saw guys weighing 8 stone beat the living hell out of each other. 8 stone they may be, but weaklings they are not. They start training at 7 years old and their first exercise is kicking banana plants to toughen up their legs and shins - pretty rough. We saw guys getting knees to the face, kicks to the head, being thrown to the ground and an Aussie guy beat a Thai guy by TKO by smashing him so hard in the nuts! Every guy in the stadium winced at that part...

We went out and were planning on getting a Sangthaew home, but it turns out the people we ended up sharing the taxi with were more Irish people staying at our guest house. So we needed no further excuse to go for a drink and went out for the rest of the night, ending up in some Thai hiphop night club where all the peeps thought they were fiddy cent with their caps on at odd angles. We ended the night eating pork noodle soup at the side of the road at 5 am - I can't believe we haven't gotten food poisoning yet!

Apart from that we've been spending time reading, checking out the temples in town and one day we took a sangthaew up to Doi Suthep which is this really amazing temple on top of a mountain. We ended up going up on the day of Budda's enlightenment (Visthaew Bucha or something)and the place was packed with people offering gifts and lighting incense. Even the monsoonal downpour that started while we were up there didn't stop them. There was something quite nice and peaceful sitting there while the rain pelted down and the thunder clapped.


  • Don't know if you've seen this already but if not Yu might be interested in this website.
    It's got about 30 recipes each one with a cooking video to go along
    Good if you like to try cooking Thai food at home

    By Blogger Hamster, at 12:17 AM  

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