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Chiangmai, Thailand -New Do

THAILAND | Tuesday, 6 June 2017 | Views [238]

Chiangmai, Thailand- New Do
31/05/17 - 06/06/17

I arrived in Chiangmai in late evening and wasn't able to get a good feel for the size or the character of the city. I assumed I was arriving in a large city, similar perhaps to Kuala Lumpur. My failure to do my research prior to arrival was easily fixed with a map provided by the hotel, in addition to a bidder outlining guided tours to chose from.

The city architecture is the most unique of the cities had been to. Chiangmai has two defined areas referred to as an inner town and an outer town. The two areas are separated by a six thousand foot by four thousand foot brick wall with an additional moat surrounding the wall. The city was built in 1296 to be the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, which ruled most of northern Thailand. Chiangmai was a major trading post due to the abundance of water in nearby reservoirs. The three kings of Chiangmai constructed the wall for defense and protection. The architecture was purposefully designed incorporating local cultural beliefs, indigenous technological knowledge, and Hindu Buddhist influences.

I awoke on Thursday with the intention of starting a walking tour starting from outside the town and moving inward. Before headed out, I looked in the mirror and saw my ratty mop on my head. The ends had become dry, brittle and it no longer shined. Why was I resisting a good chop? Somehow I felt it defined beauty, and perhaps made me see a physical beauty that I was incapable of seeing without my long locks. I decided to take a chance, cut it off. After all, I'm trying to love myself on a deeper level. So I walked, as I said I would, to a salon on the outskirt of town in what happened to turn out to be quaint area with boutiques, small cozy restaurants, and a more local feel than within the walls. I had a quiet lunch then headed to the stylist, I kept telling the stylist to cut shorter. Afterwards, my general impression was less than thrilled but I applauded my efforts to make a change, after all change isn't always comfortable. Returning to the plan, I slowly made my was back to the center of the town. I visited the Wat Phra Singh temple, a very grandiose shrine completely gold in color. The shape looks like a witches hat with a square brim. On each side a golden elephant protects the structure. Another smaller golden shrine sits just on the other side of a church-like building where the monks pray. Although not as striking, the replica of the first shrine was surround by even smaller bright white shrines in a scattered pattern like headstones warning visitors. Few people if any were there, perhaps due to the eerie feeling I had here but I assume it was more likely due to its lack of brilliance. I wandered back toward the inner city and made it under an alley store front sharing giggles with owners that we made it just in time. As the monsoons do, a heavy downpour lasted about 5-10 minutes then let up giving me just enough time to sprint to the next location before it starts again. I headed to the hotel for a clean up, small rest, then did a little research for a good place to eat.
Every city and town has an indoor outdoor market. While it may seem redundant to constantly visit them there is a fascination when you walk through. In this market I ran across a butcher pretty much dissecting animal parts more than carving cuts of meat. Impressing my self with my anatomy identification I saw intestines, hearts, livers, spleens, kidneys, hooves, and tongues all for sale. Seriously made me question the cuisine, I guess what you don't know won't hurt you. This area of the market was in the "other food" and produce portion, occasionally I had to cover my mouth to hide the gag. Other areas included...everything. Clothes, tapestries and fabrics, sandal and shoe stores, plastic wear, herbs and dried goods, flowers, ritual relics, street food, and so much more it's hard to remember it all but a lot could be categorized as junk. Most of these goods are excessively repeated in multiple small crowded stalls that were at times hard to walk through.
With the river nearby, I escaped and in the evening I enjoyed some time by the river and hearing live music at the night bizarre.
Thai cuisine has been so far my favorite. Curry does not just pertain to India as I had thought. I decided to take an half day cooking class. When the guide arrived she said other members canceled and I was the only other person scheduled. I had a solo class with multiple chiefs and a tour of the market learning about the ingredients we would use. The half day class menu items was now extended to the full day class dishes. I would make a dish and eat it, then make another dish and eat it, and so forth. I really couldn't fill my stomach more but didn't care. The dishes were all so easy to make I was sort of miffed I hadn't attempted these before and promised this would now be on my weekly menu back home along with salmon patties. On my last night, I made a stop by the three kings statue for a few pics then quickly left due to the very touristy crowds at an arts and craft walk. I sorta stumbled upon a temple I had heard of but didn't get good reviews. The temple is called the Wat Chedi Luang. I was taken by this massive stone tiered fortress. I'm not sure if one could even enter the actual temple given the stairs up were small and steep, almost just for show. The temple had no frills whatsoever, the entirely stone structure had some parts deteriorating and grass tufts were scattered in the cracks of the walls and stairs. I can see how people would just breeze through this exhibit and rush over to a golden Buddha laying on its side in a far corner of the compound. The temple was originally built in the 14th century and had many delays during the construction. To me this 270 ft enormous carved rock somehow moved me and I can't explain the feeling, it was so raw and I just gravitated to it. As with only a few other sites on my trip, I just stood there and didn't know how long.

Chiangmai is absolutely adorable and should not be missed. You'll feel sad to leave its charm and most likely wish you would have stayed longer.

Tags: chiangmai

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