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A few moments in a lifetime

Chiang Mai night market

THAILAND | Thursday, 22 May 2014 | Views [324]

In Chiang Mai, the Northern city of Thailand, they have a night market spanning two streets in the shape of an X. The vibe there is amazing; a combination of rural culture and modern bustle. Unlike in Bangkok, it is a market where the buyers are mostly Thai themselves, and this makes it wonderfully unique.
 
Walking along in the throng of people, you hear the thrumming sound of thousands speaking a language you don't know a word of. Vibrant colors everywhere, flowing over the stalls, the people and the products. Damp bodies on a 40 degree day shoving past you or heaved up against you by the crowd. And they're all a head shorter than you too. Cooked meals in plastic packets and cheap silk. 5 Baht sushi which really doesn't taste great but looks incredible, like a fish-filled candy shop. Cheap Thai knockoffs and unique handmade crafts. That was this market. I loved every minute of it, even when shoved against short clammy people.
 
And they're so friendly! After an hour or two of walking and tasting - with far too much to choose from - my entire family was in serious need of a loo. We asked one of the street vendors where we could find one, and she promptly lead us through her own house... For a small fee, of course. But where else in the world will someone let you as a stranger into their home for approximately 1$?
 
After such an adventure we came back to our rooms, having lost each other multiple times; and lined our spoils along the floor of our way under-priced room. My parents smiled and shook their heads, while the smiles on the faces of my sisters and I attempted bravely to exhibit all 36 teeth, like a choir. 
 
Thailand was more intense than any imagination can conjure. Cities teem with people, their little tuk-tuks and motorbikes weaving through impossible traffic, (there were times when we found ourselves darting along on the wrong side of the road, risking life on a quickly reached destination.) Meanwhile, in the rural areas their religion pervades everything, Watts (temples) dotting the hills and monks striding across the streets. The beauty was astonishing. I stuffed a month of exercise into one day, climbing a hill (which undermines it's height. It was a big hill.) to reach the Watt at the top. It could not disappoint, with other temples leading up to it - sometimes somewhat creepy - and giant spiders so big, their webs were spun from a tree on one side of the road to the other. Double lane.
 
It was an experience I would pay for a dozen times over; the moments so much deeper than the money. Where else could I hope to spend so little, while snorkling in perfects seas, riding on the backs of elephants, and going to night markets, indoor markets and flower markets. Thailand is most certainly an exceptional place.

Tags: chiang mai, night market, thailand

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