I didn’t mean to visit Chiang Mai but due to the complexities of linking up with Tim I found myself with two days lay over in the north of Thailand. So I decided to make the best of it and these are my best bits.
I liked the San Kamphaeng Hot Springs which can be reached by bus from Chiang Mai centre. It only costs 20 baht to get in and then you can hob nob with the locals and a handful of tourists while wiggling your toes in the hot sulphur water. While I was there there were coach loads of tiny Thais (from nursery school) and a Scout troop all having great fun in the water. You can also buy and boil an egg in a basket which are sold with a small packet of soya sauce.
Most people brought picnics and made a day of it. Three hours was enough for me as I watched the skin on my feet turn wrinkly. There are plenty of snack and drink outlets too.
The other notable thing I did was to actually find a small makeshift restaurant recommended by many online. Khao Soi Khun Yai (which also has a FB page!) proved excellent and I was fortunate to meet a retired US veteran, now living in Thailand, who advised me as to what to eat, although there were some rudimentary signs saying ‘Pork Chiken Beef’. I have now invested in my own rather superior looking chopsticks so I don’t have to worry about inside whose mouth the chopsticks provided have previously been.
I stayed at the Non@ Chiang Mai hostel. It has dorm rooms but I got lucky and had one to myself. It had an en suite shower and loo and a fan and A/C and the £8 included a rudimentary breakfast. All very clean and with a lovely outside decked terrace fronting the road with cushions and chairs and parasols.
Finally, I had planned to participate in a ‘Monk Chat’ at Wat Chedi Luang which is centrally located and is very easy to find, taking place at the outdoor tables on the north side of the temple complex. There you will find young monks waiting to talk between 9am and 6pm daily. (Except the day I was there because unbeknownst to me it was an auspicious day of worship). Hey-ho. I must admit that the only question I had prepared was to ask if any of them fretted about mosquito bites – my current obsession. Maybe I’ll go back when I can think of something more profound!!