Unexpectedly great nightlife in Chiangmai!.
On the 9th of January we flew 700 kilometers to the city Chiang Mai. A city in the North of Thailand situated amongst the highest mountains in the country, which we could see well through our little airplane window.
The airport is very hectic with a lot of tour operators for day tours and transport. After we picked up our luggage we went outside to the “Taximeter“-stand. A fat, pimpled guy was sitting as a King behind his desk, telling we had to pay 500 bath (12,50 euro) for a taxi ride to “The Old Town” of Chiang Mai, where our hotel is. We already had checked on Google Maps how far the hotel is from the airport and this rate seemed kind of high. When we started to bargain, he shouted that if we did not want to pay the 500 bath, we should go walking.
Well, €12,50 is not much, but we were so disgusted by his attitude (and looks) that we looked around for another option. We saw a small red bus arriving (called a songthaew) dropping off passengers and we inquired about his rate to our hotel. He asked 60 bath (1,50 euro) per person, so we hopped on. Of course they pick up more tourists and you are not going straight to your hotel. They drop off the passengers at the closest location first. We were the last ones but at least the ride already gave us a good impression of Chiang Mai’s “Old Town”.
The songthaew dropped us off at our Bed & Breakfast “The Terrace Guesthouse” and we felt at home right away! The owner, Tato, is extremely nice. He only has 4 rooms and a funny reception with all kind of paintings and pictures and he sells great coffee. We did not know that Tato’s English is not so good, but his smile and total body language is adorable and told us enough. Always smiling and when we had questions he started running for us with his funny little steps. He is also very creative. One day I caught him making a watercolor painting. I told him we booked his Bed & Breakfast mainly because of the pictures of the 4 different rooms with art on the wall. And he has great reviews on Booking.com. For our 3 night stay we only paid a total of 55 euros, including the breakfast and wifi.
My first impression of Chiang Mai’s “Old City” was that it reminded me a bit of the atmosphere of the Caribbean and Florida’s Keys. Although there is no sea close by, the wooden houses with lush gardens gave this lay-back Colonial feeling some islands have. A lot of nice wooden verandas where you can have breakfast or just drink a coffee or a fresh fruit juice while reading a book. Also because of the humidity, the clean air (extra remarkable after Bangkok) and smell of tropical trees and flowers gave us the feeling we were close to the sea.
And yes, Chiang Mai is also well known for its 300 temples, so we had to do something cultural those three days. But so convenient: our Bed & Breakfast has two temples as neighbors and The Wat Lok Molee temple is across the canal.
Through our newly made Brighton-friends Amit and Remi, who we met in Bangkok, we were introduced to a local girl Amy, who showed us around. The first night we had dinner at Escudo Supper Club with a view on the The Ping River. We ended up at Zoe in Yellow, a crazy bar where we had shots with Risa, the owner. The DJ played great music and lots of young kids drinking cocktails from plastic buckets with two or more straws. A pity that the bars have to close at midnight, so we went with Amy to Spicy Nightclub, where we danced for one hour. But also this club had to close at 1 AM, so Amy took us through a backdoor where we arrived at a night restaurant of the Spicy-owner J’Dang. With the drinks you got free snacks or Pad Thai. Finally we went to bed around 3 AM for a short sleep, because the next day we were picked up at 8:00 AM at our Guesthouse for The Dumbo Elephant Spa.
Well …. it is us!! When we left “The Terrace” Bed & Breakfast early in the morning, we had to knock on Tato’s private door to return him the key. Then he offered us an envelop including these two illustrations: Johan with the baby-elephant and me with my paintbrush. Sooooooo sweet!