Monday, August 6, 2012

Photos from Chiang Mai

I fell in love with Chiang Mai quickly.  The city won me over with its walls and canals, its bookstores, and its markets.  Perhaps more than anything else, though, I fell in love with Chiang Mai's food.  I joked to Eric in our first few days that I'd only taken pictures of meals.  As we got on our night train three weeks later to head back to Bangkok, I realized that in fact my food photos outnumbered all the other photos I took of Chiang Mai.  I don't have that many pictures of the city itself.

Elephant statues by the canal
(That should probably be a warning to you now.  This post is going to be mainly photos of food.  Either get yourself some fried noodles now or be prepared to eat lunch directly afterward.)

Our time in Chiang Mai passed more quickly than any other period of our trip.  We met friendly expats and explored bookstores and markets.  It was easy to feel at home within a week.  The best way I can think of to show off my experience of the city is through photos.  Hopefully this gives you a glimpse of what we did for three weeks.

Fountains in the canal on a cloudy day
The Sunday Market takes up blocks and blocks of Chiang Mai's old city streets.  Vendors sell everything from touristy t-shirts to handmade crafts.  There are also dozens of food stalls hawking Pad Thai, Indian samosas, croquettes, and dumplings, among many other things.

Market stalls by the Taipei Gate
Go Blue in the Sunday Market!
Chiang Mai has made a fantastic effort to keep the Sunday Market environmentally friendly.
All of the food stalls use biodegradable plates and the trash area has separate places for bottles, cans, extra food,
utensils and biodegradable material.  It was great to see such thought put into a huge weekly event.
Sushi is sold by the piece after being rolled fresh in the back of the stall.
Lunch at the Sunday Market - sushi, chicken satay, khao soi and coffee
A dim sum stand at the Sunday Market - so many steam trays and such good dumplings
Chiang Mai attracts a lot of foreigners and consequently has many international food options.  After eating mostly noodle and rice dishes since March, Eric and I both jumped at the chance for some Tex-Mex.

A feast at Miguel's
That said, we did indulge in many, many delicious Thai dishes.  Here are a few.

Khao Soi, a northern curry with chicken, noodles, and crunchy noodles on top
Sweet and sour chicken - maybe a more traditionally Chinese dish?
Either way, delicious.
Noodle soup with pork and dumplings at the night food market
Eric thought it was as good as the soup lady in Krabi, but she's hard to top.
Coconut curry on noodles at We's - possibly my new favorite food
We also were told to try the Old Chiang Mai Café for the best coffee in town.
This cappuccino lived up to its reputation - that's powdered chocolate on top.
The events not pictured were nights out at the cocktail car — a bar in the street — and a friend's bar, where we baked cookies for his friend's birthday party a few nights before we left.  Eric's chocolate chip cookies are officially an international sensation.  I felt so welcomed in Chiang Mai.  How often do you end up at someone's birthday party two weeks after you met one of their friends?  (Especially a birthday party with a delicious mango cheesecake?  Man, I have a one-track mind.)

It sounds sketchy if I say we were getting mixed drinks out of the back of a truck.
All of a sudden, it was our last day in town.  We boarded our train and fourteen and a half hours later we arrived in Bangkok.  Luckily, our favorite noodle lady's stall was open.  After a short night in Bangkok, we got up, had one last meal from the noodle lady and hit the road.

The best fried noodles with chicken we found in Bangkok
They were flavorful without having too much of a sauce - amazing.
My last meal in Bangkok - crispy pork and broccoli on rice
August seemed so far away back in March.  Our four months flew by and now we've started the second half of our trip.  Eastern Europe, here we come.

What trips have flown by for you?
What are some of your favorite cities? 

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