Just wow. What a place.

 Chiang Mai is a small rural city, (apparently the second biggest city in Thailand. But still very small) that consists of a main square area which is the center surrounded by shops, restaurants and bars, and then lots of little side streets which contain hotels, hotels and markets. It's such a vast contrast to Bangkok, as it's all clear air and bright blue skies, very rural with lots of mountains, jungles and lakes.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with a lovely blast of sunshine and lots of friendly faces.

 We got a taxi, which are basically trucks with an open back here, and found our hostel.

When we got there we realised we couldn't check in until 12, and it was only 9am, so we did what anyone would do - rent a motorbike and drive around the city exploring.


This was amazing, not only the feel of whizzing around in the sun but getting to see everything a lot quicker than foot. It wasn't long before we more or less knew our way around (I told you it was small) and stopped off for some lunch. Excitedly I saw iced tea on the menu and ordered it (Liptons ice tea is my fave) alongside a stir fry. Thai ice tea is VERY different...it's basically an English cup of tea but left in the freezer with some ice cubes and sweeteners. Horrendous. (the food was good).

After some more biking around, we found our lovely tucked away hostel and booked in for our stay for the rest of Chiang Mai (we only booked 1 night via booking.com as we were unsure what it would be like). Hot and sweaty, we found a sports bar and had a beer and played some pool to cool down (Dave is actually turning me into a male) and then we went back to our hostel to get showered before starting the Thai cooking class we had booked into.



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The class started at 4:30, and when we arrived the rest of the group were already there.

They all seemed really friendly and we all got chatting on the way to the food market. At the market, we were shown all the different types of ingredients, barely any of which any had heard of. It's very different to back home. All the fruit is so vibrant and fresh and you can tell everything was picked on the day.

When we got back to the class, we were given a list of different dishes to pick and we selected which ones to cook, this was good as me and Dave got to choose differently to try each other's - however this backfired as we didn't see each other really the whole evening as we were in different rooms cooking different meals and only sat together between eating each dish. We cooked a soup, appetiser and two mains. One of which my favourite - Thai green curry. Overall the cooking class was fairly successful and we left with new skills and very full stomachs.

As we didn't really have the money or energy to go out drinking, we drove around to find the night market we had heard so much about on the Internet...however we drove past that many different markets we weren't sure which one to go for and ended up in the bar area the other side of the square where all the locals drink. The atmosphere and vibe here were amazing, and it was all done out like a harbor with life rings hanging down and little rivers and multiple bars coming off. We both had a drink and then called it a night about 11am.

Day 2 in Chiang Mai

Today we didn't really feel like doing anything but soak up the blue skies, nor could we really afford to, so we found a hotel with a pool about 10 minutes down the road that allowed you to chill there for 100 baht each (about £1.80) so we set out to spend the afternoon there. This was until, stupidly, literally 30 seconds within leaving the hostel I went to kick a stone out of my sandal and smashed my toe on the floor causing it to split and blood pouring everywhere - not a great start.

Luckily, the hostel owner, who was super friendly saw and ushered me back inside and sat me down with a first aid kit and cleaned up my foot whilst Dave cleaned my shoe (the sole was all red, disgusting). Laughing it off, I sat shaking my head at what an idiot I had been until he told me he was going to cut off the bit of skin hanging off.

Well, with that my head went all dizzy and sweating and I thought I was going to pass out. After a sit down and some water, I was all plastered up and we were ready to carry on. (An injury was bound to happen whilst we were away, especially with my clumsiness, I'm just hoping a bust toe is all it is)

 We spent the afternoon sunbathing and in the pool, before the sun went behind the buildings late afternoon and we went back to get showered and chill before exploring the night market (we finally got chance to go to it). However, as we went downstairs ready to go, we were faced with a heavy downpour so we sat in the bar having a beer whilst we waited. When it stopped, we set out for the night market and our first thought was food. We were starving.


We came across a chicken salad wrap kebab stall and it smelt AMAZING. Tasted it too, and since we had a very cheap/healthyish tea - we treat ourselves to some fruit and some Nutella crepes after from other various stalls. We walked around for a while and saw many beautiful stalls including paintings and handmade crafts as well as clothes, however as we couldn't afford any of it due to a backpacker budget, we retired back to our hostel.


 However, we did say that we should return to Thailand another time, without a budget and a large empty suitcase.

Sophie Amelia