Posted by: James Shannon | May 26, 2011

Urban Thailand Revisited: One More Swing Through Bangkok and Chiang Mai

Initially, the plan from Phuket was to press on to the Thai gulf islands, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan … however, after my tiring experience with Phuket, I was ready to leave the south behind and spend my last two weeks in Thailand in my favourite places.

Bangkok was first on the agenda, seeing how Katie was hanging out there a few days before heading back to Pai (she actually went to Koh Phangan for a wedding, but seeing how I was too late to join her there, I decided to make for the Big Mango instead!)

Katie and I had some schnitzel on Khao San Road, then headed over to Chatuchak Market to have drinks with friends.  Chatuchak Market is one of, if not the biggest markets in the Bangkok Metro Area.  Every Saturday afternoon/evening, vendors here sell everything from t-shirts to toilet plungers.

 In another typically Thailand moment, our crew escapes the locked up Chatuchak Market at around 9pm or so … even after the market grounds employees secure the gates, vendors continue to serve drinks to customers that thumb their proverbial nose at the idea of “closing times” … hence we, along with all the other stragglers, had to scale the fence and let ourselves out! 😛

After a few days of rest and relaxation in the Crossroads of Southeast Asia, it was time to burn away the rest of February in my favourite part of the Land of Smiles (with the possible exception of Koh Chang) … Northern Thailand.  Landing in Chiang Mai, I made the most of my last week in one of the most chilled out cities anywhere …

The massive Chaing Mai city museum sits at the middle of the Old City (the part surrounded by the moat) … on this visit to Chiang Mai, I wasn’t going to miss seeing it this time (especially seeing how it was only 90 baht, or $3 to get in)

Exhibits highlighting old time market vendors, from the country’s rural heritage

More vendors …

With my time remaining in Chiang Mai ticking down, I decided to do some souvenir shopping … so I hit the streets of the Old City and started exploring…

In case you were wondering what the infamous durian looks like, here’s a truckload of ’em … and yes, they smell quite bad!

And in case you were wondering what a tuk-tuk looked like, here’s one of those famed scooter taxis.  For the most part, the drivers won’t scam you, they’ll just overcharge you 🙂

Finally, my search for souvenirs had come to an end.  The massive Chiang Mai Night Bazaar stretched for about a half a mile, with countless trinket/t-shirt vendors

On the way out, another undeniably cool thing about Thailand … sidewalk bars.  On that note, a toast to the coolest small city in the world, Chiang Mai!  I’ll be back soon!

After a relaxing week of chilling, watching movies, and searching for gifts for the folks back home, it was time to return to my little utopia in the Northern Thai mountains, Pai (this one could be another multi-parter, I love the place that much)!

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