After my wonderful time in Siem Reap, I made my way to Bangkok by bus and then took an overnight train up to Chiang Mai, where I spent 5 days. In that transit I did my first ever solo land border crossing as well as my first overnight train, which were both exciting. I got my first little taste of Bangkok walking from the bus station to the train station, but I returned there later in my adventure to get a more proper experience of the city. Chiang Mai was a very cool place, with temples seemingly every block around the old town, and lots of great street food available all day. Here are the pictures from my time here and stay tuned for the next installment in my adventure: Myanmar!
A stand just outside of the bus station selling dress shoes, which was inexplicably creepy
Some cool ceramic constructions outside the Chatuchak Market, which is the largest market of many in Bangkok.
The view down one of Bangkok’s many canals at sunset
A scooter zooms by a bus stop that has seen better days
Taking pictures in low light on a moving train is difficult
But luckily the train took stops so I could properly catch the sunrise
It changes color rapidly going from the last picture to this burning orange in a matter of minutes
And a couple of minutes later it was completely different again.
I was immediately struck by just how many temples there were in the city. Just in my walk from the train station to my hostel, I saw 6 temples, each one gilded and bejewelled in excess
The sagging northeast corner of Chiang Mai’s Old Town. The Old Town used to by surrounded by a large wall and moat, but now only the moat and small sections of the walls remain
A beautiful meditation garden
A temple with horses and a large golden pagoda
The first time in my life where I was simultaneously in the presence of pigeons and elephants
More beautiful gold buddhist iconography
Evidence of past meditations
Another temple I happened upon
Some vibrant cloths for sale at the Night Bazaar
Enjoyed some cheese ice cream (sounds gross I know but it was actually pretty tasty and refreshing)
Climbing up the Buatong Waterfall north of Chiang Mai. The rocks have a calcium deposit on their surface that renders them very sticky, so you can scale steeply graded and very wet surfaces that you ordinarily never could
It also gives the rocks a cool look, kind of mounding down the hillside
The path ahead
A blue pool near the waterfall
A boy and girl scout sort of meeting happening out by the parking lot gave off strong Moonrise Kingdom vibes
A big temple in a cave near the falls, this Buddha statue was probably 25 feet tall.
The path up to the cave was lined by two dragons billowing down to the base of the stairs
An old man and his dog next to a gas station
One of the nine levels of the Mae Sa waterfall near Chiang Mai.
Another fall a ways further upstream.
A small riverside village I happened upon when riding back to Chiang Mai at night around the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
A bowl of Khao Soi, which is a traditional Northern Thai curry noodle dish that is super tasty. This was probably the worst bowl of it I had during my time there, but unfortunately it was the only one I took a picture of, so here it is.
The view from the way up Doi Suthep Mountain out over the city and the forested peaks of the region
The central stupa at Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, which sits atop one of the peaks of Doi Suthep NP and is a pilgrimage site for Thai Buddhists
A beautiful archway
The dragon staircase at Wat Phrathat, which was so beautifully constructed and painted, with two massive dragon heads just out of the shot at the bottom of the stairs
Another beautiful but less colorful dragon staircase at Wat Sakithaka, a smaller meditation temple on the way up to Wat Phrathat
The largest of many stupas of Wat Umong, which is a big temple compound to the Southwest of the city known for its network of tunnels with buddha figures underneath where this picture was taken. This was also the site of the cracking of my phone screen which was tragic
The beautiful contrast of Wat Suan Dok (Last temple pic of this post I promise!), which has a field of white smaller structures that is presided over by a massive golden stupa
A band playing at the North Gate Jazz Co-Op, which had live music and open mic’s throughout the week. I randomly met a friend of mine from high school here, which was so crazy. He was only in Chiang Mai for one day and we just happened to be in the same place at the same time. Small world.
Fried Chicken anyone?
Learning how to cook Pad Thai
The resulting dish that I cooked with a Tom Yam spicy noodle soup
Working with the mortar and pestle to make curry paste out of a wide variety of spices.
The resulting red curry that I cooked
A spicy Thai papaya salad, which I put 5 chilies into instead of the recommended 2 and it put my tastebuds on an adventure
The ride to the Airport in one of the Songtaew, which are these red pick up trucks converted into shared taxis that are all around the city.
From Chiang Mai, I flew to Bangkok and then to Yangon Myanmar, and that is where my adventure will pick up in the next installment of my journey.