Once we arrived back in Chiang Mai, we were dropped off at our hotel and we decided that we wanted to relax for a bit and figure out our evening plans. We had arrived back from the National Park a bit earlier than the day before so we had some time to hang out. We decided that we would try out some high tea activities and then split up for some wandering around the city. Luckily our hotel served high tea at the restaurant next door so we sat down outside and ordered to trays for high tea. Each tower of food came out and our jasmine green tea was served in these beautiful and delicate cups. The different finger foods and pastries that were presented to us were absolutely delicious and perfect for an afternoon snack. High tea is a big thing there apparently and I’m really glad we did it. Granted, we ended up sitting outside because…. I am not 100% sure but we decided to do it anyway and so we had to deal with the heat and the traffic flowing by. It was slightly uncomfortable but regardless, it was a great experience.
Our small group of four people then separated into two separate groups and started wandering the city. I was on a hunt for an ATM and decided to take a left out of the hotel instead of a right and start walking along the perimeter of the Old City. We eventually found the ATM and then continued walking and ended up making a giant circle. In our adventures of wandering, we scoped out some temples that we could bring the rest of the group to later when we were all together and then eventually found a coffee shop close to the hotel that basically served jet fuel. It was this adorable cafe in an alley way that served as both a tutoring center and a great coffee shop. Their Americano turned out to be about 3/4’s straight espresso and 1/4 water for about 1USD. We were definitely not expecting that and deciding to drink that much caffeine that late at night seemed like a pretty terrible idea but we decided to try for it anyway.
Once we rejoined the group, two people decided to get Thai massages because it’s something you do while you’re in Thailand. They had their massages and the rest of us went and laid by the pool until it was time for our shuttle out to the Chiang Mai Night Market. Our hotel had a great shuttle that would drop you off and then you’d need to find your own way back to the hotel via taxi, walking or tuk tuk. At the night market we wandered through all the streets and checked out some of the stores. We were on a mission to find a few things for gifts and even though I wasn’t in the market for anything, I ended up buying a pair of elephant pants. They’re super light weight, super cheap material and decorated with elephants. The best part, they’re one size fits all. This is a key piece of information. I purchased these pants because I wanted to have additional options for the days that we decided to go to the temples so if I didn’t want to be stuck wearing a dress, I could put these pants on over my shorts! I’m a thinker like that.
Once we had completed our shopping and we felt like we were officially successful, we decided that it was time to get some food. There’s one thing about night markets in Thailand, they are kind of different than the ones I am used to in Taipei. I’m sure you know that I have an absurd love of night markets and that I rave about the ones from Taiwan all the time. The one in Chiang Mai was great for shopping but it was not the greatest for food. Surprisingly enough, I feel that the food is better outside of the night markets. We didn’t find that many options while we were there but did find a sit down hawker stall that we could order some food from. We ordered our food (which included some mango sticky rice) and relaxed in the heat while finally feeding our tummies.
After being stuffed with all the foods, we needed to find our way back to the hotel. It wasn’t that far and realistically we could have walked. Even better, we could have afforded taking two tuk tuks home but for whatever reason, we decided that we needed to only take one tuk tuk and squeeze all four of us into it. We really wanted to take a tuk tuk home because one of our friends had never experienced the wonder that is a tuk tuk and it was the perfect time to do it. So we squeezed three of us into the back of it and our friend sat in the front seat half hanging out the side of the tuk tuk. We all head on for dear life as we drove through traffic trying to make our way back to the hotel. With all the weight on the small vehicle, you could hear it trying it’s hardest…no in fact you could smell it trying to do its best to get us home without puttering out. After a relatively slow drive weaving through traffic, we found ourselves back the hotel. We had a fairly successful night market visit and it was time to go repack since we would be leaving for Chiang Rai the next day.