I spent about a week in Chiang Mai and enjoyed myself thoroughly.
Although, due to my budget, I did not partake in most of the abundant tourist activities there such as stroking tigers, riding elephants and going on death slides I did go on a Thai cooking course. This cost 900 baht and was very good value for money as the course was expertly run.
The course I chose was the ‘Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School’ and you make 6 different dishes per day, and also to learn other culinary skills; there are 5 different days available. This means that if you were really into it that you could learn how to cook 30 different Thai dishes, and to learn skills such as making vegetable flowers and recognising and choosing ingredients at the market. As one day was pretty intense and involved eating a lot of food, I’d recommend that if people are going tp do all 5 days that they schedule some time out, perhaps do it over a 10 day period.
On my day the ‘`special’ skill was making Thai curry paste from scratch; this takes about an hour or so. The process reminded me a bot of grinding leaf tissue for DNA extraction.
And not one to blow my own trumpet but I have not tasted a better panaeng curry in Thailand than the one that I made using my own paste.
Ok, enough of the food, one of the things that Chiang Mai is famous for is its temples, you can’t move for the bloody things they are everywhere, and more are being built all the time! As i have previously had a post showing how a mosque is built I thought I would have a picture of a wat being built.
And here are a few pics of the finished articles.
And a quick note on Monks; they seem to be moving with the times, many of them seemed to be carrying laptops and mobile phones. Outside one Wat I had a deep conversation with one of the older monks about Gods own football club Manchester city.
Unlike in Borneo where everybody is Manchester United mad, there seems to be a larger array of teams supported in Thailand, probably as there has been a bigger promotional push here by other clubs; for example Liverpool were out here the other day playing the national team, and I’m pretty sure that City, West Ham and Everton were out here quite recently.
On Sunday it is well worth checking out the Chiang mai night bazaar, this covers many streets and unlike most markets it is a pleasant experience to wander around as the hassle is much less than in places such as Bangkok. At the Chiang mai night bazaar there are lots of crafts supplied by the local hill tribes, which you don’t seem to see elsewhere, and a couple of streets (one making use of a Wat’s grounds) serve all types of foods, as I had not had one for a while I had a chicken Kebab.
Oh yeah, VIP buses from Bangkok to Chiang Mai cost about 500 baht and take around 8 to 9 hours to get there. They leave from the Northern and NorthEastern terminal; from most places in Bangkok jump on the BTS to Mo chit, then take a taxi for the last three miles or so (about 60 baht).