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We had an excellent time in Bangkok but too much of a good thing could leave you jaded, so it was time to move on. And besides, we would return back to Bangkok within a fortnight….!
So, if you’re in Thailand in August during the monsoon season, where do you go?
Most people’s dream of paradise is The Beach, but if you don’t want to get caught in torrents of rains followed by hordes of mosquitoes, perhaps somewhere else might be more prudent. To the North perhaps?
And to the hills and mountains of Chiang Mai!
Now a lot of travellers who want to go from Bangkok to Chiang Mai normally get there by train. It’s cheaper, it’s clean, and it’s efficient.
It also takes forever!
Moreover, the train has had some problems with derailing in 2013. Possibly it’s OK now, possibly it’s not: but after reading this horror story post from a blogger called Nomadic Samuel about how their train travelling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, derailed in the middle of the night, I decided to make a U-turn and take a flight instead!
We took a rather amusing airline called Nok Air and it’s a funny one ‘cos the aeroplane is in the shape of a bird! Yes, a bird! And it cost.
Wait for it!
Oh, alright then!
It cost, a wonderful $34.00. One way. Including all the fees. For Europeans, that’s €26.00! OMG. That’s a crazy price.
And the service was amazing. I’ll write all about that in another post.
Our flight was to depart at 09:05 so we needed to be there at about 07:30 since it was a domestic flight. Our domestic flight was leaving from Don Mueang Airport. I had heard a lot of complaints about this airport, but to be honest, I couldn’t see where the problem was. OK, it wasn’t in “town,” but it certainly wasn’t difficult to get to either, and within the hour, we were there.
It’s a small airport a bit like our Tegel Airport in Berlin. I quite liked it. Most importantly, Nok Air had included free WiFi as part of their services. That was grand!
The airport was clean and efficient and the flight was safe and sound. We ended up with some of the best seats: the emergency seats. Unfortunately, “The Tall Young Gentleman” had to swop seats with the man in front of us, as at 12 years old, he’s officially under-aged!
The seating space was great and we even got a small snack and a small container of water, which all came wrapped in a brown paper bag. In Europe, a budget airline gets you nadda, so that was a very pleasant surprise.
Our flight was only 1 hour and 10 minutes!
Our hotel host had told us that a taxi would cost between 150 and 200 Baht or $4.60 and $6.00, so we went straight to the official taxi stand. If you go to the official stand, there is less likelihood of getting scammed and losing your money, as well as the shirt on your back!
At the taxi stand, you get a ticket with the drivers’ details and it states that there is an extra fee of 50 Baht or $1.50 that you have to pay the driver, and off you go. Be sure to tell the driver to use the meter and make sure he uses it. Make sure that you also keep the ticket. Don’t give it to the driver. That’s very important. If you do, you could get a very unpleasant surprise later on!
Within 30 minutes, we were at our hotel. The taxi fare: 160 Baht or $5.00; including the tip!
And then we arrived at our home-stay or B & B – Tanita House. I loved Tanita House. It’s a family-run home that consists of a compound of chalet houses in the Thai style of traditional wooden houses, made of teak. The mother and owner – Khun Aor- lives there with her father, her sister, and her nephew. She was lovely, and so was her home.
Our chalet consisted of a double bed, and an extra bed for “The Tall Young Gentleman,” air-conditioning, a private toilet and bathroom, hot water, daily cleaning, our own private terrace, free WiFi, a computer on site, bacon and eggs in the morning, as well as a buffet breakfast, and as much iced-cold water, tea and coffee, as you wanted. Wow!
Again, the price does not even reflect the warm and wonderful service as it was just…
700 Baht or $21.00 per adult, and 600 Baht or $18.00 for the extra bed. Considering what you got. An absolute bargain. It was also near the river and as Chiang Mai is known as “The Rose of the North,” Tanita House is enormously enchanting, as a location within walking distance of the Ping river.
Tanita House was also filled with carvings and statues that you could also actually buy, and a fantastic cafe that had yummy creamy cake and healthy-looking fruits shakes.
Right! We did many lovely things in Chiang Mai and one of the things that Chiang Mai is most famous for, is its food. Thai food.
We had heard of the very famous Sunday Night Market and guess what, we had arrived on the Sunday so after getting directions, off we went. To search for food.
On the Yellow Brick Road.
With Dorothy and Toto.
Oh sorry. Wrong story!
Oh yes. We went to the Sunday Night Market which can be found within the old city gate or Tha Pae Gate not far from. You won’t believe this; but not far from the British pharmacy; Boots: The Chemists!
Let me tell you. This market is amazing!
Once you get within the old gates of the city, there’s a road that you have to cross and which is manned by soldiers. Once the traffic lights turn, you and the other mass of people, can cross the road. Safely, but a little quicker. Do you know what I mean? If you’ve been to any Asian country, you don’t want to wait too long. You hold your breath, and cross the road. Don’t run though.
They won’t be able to see you!
Anyway, the market is on a long road called Thapae Road. It’s just like an English High Street with lots of stalls and shops, musicians, and physically impaired singers on the side or middle of the street. BTW, on an English High Street, you won’t find the singers, but I digress LOL!
It was crowded yes, but sort of arranged too. It didn’t look confusing at all. And it was very safe. People were friendly milling around, and lots of people were smiling, and there were loads of children with their parents. Both local and foreign.
Chiang Mai is renowned for its outstanding handicrafts, silk, silver, wood, ceramic, arts and crafts and they were to be found and seen everywhere. Lovely exquisite pieces and fantastic works of art. After looking around and chatting with the old men quartet, we found the Sunday Night Market.
Oh. My. God.
Thai food is going to kill you!
There was loads and loads and loads of food everywhere and most of them didn’t cost more than 20-30 Baht or 60-90 cents. Some food items even cost as little as 7 Baht or 21 cents! It’s no wonder that young travellers and entrepreneurs from industrial countries end up in Chiang Mai. It’s cheap, and enormously easy to settle down there. It’s the Berlin of Asia!
We had kebab sticks, sticky chicken in a plastic bag of sweet, spicy sauce, thinly shredded vegetables, freshly squeezed mulberry juice, squid, sushi, steamed dumplings, spicy balls of meat, quail eggs fried in noodle things, wan tons, tofu and pork rolls, fresh fruit in cups, birds nest, egg custard in banana leaf, corn-on-the-cob, Thai pumpkin, fresh crab, sausages on a stick, spicy fried chicken wings, fried quail eggs, sticky rice, waffles, crunchy insects, and foot massages!
Actually, I didn’t have that. I just can’t see myself having a massage in public. Foot or otherwise.
I’m sorry! I like my comforts.
And the sellers were very generous. they didn’t mind us taking photographs although we made sure to buy items from them, and each and every seller was prepared to take your garbage and rubbish from you as there were no dustbins. You just handed your chopsticks, plastic plate, or bag, to a seller and they would put it in their dustbin barrel.
I thought that was ingenious idea!
The market was full of locals all buying and eating their evening meal. I heard that it was cheaper to eat out than to cook and I can say, I love it. I have allergies and for me, the market is more resourceful as I can actually see what goes inside my food!
We loved the food so much that we decided to learn how to make it ourselves! To see what and how we did, check my blog next week!
For more information about the lovely chalet, please contact: Tanita House. I made my booking via Hostelworld.com but it’s always wise to check around.
For more information about the Bangkok – Chiang Mai domestic flight, please contact: Nok Air.
This article is not sponsored and all opinions and all the above yummy delightful Thai food, are my very own!
I have so much to share with you so for the month of September only, I will be writing about our adventures in Thailand, Indonesia, and Qatar and at the same time, keeping you posted as to the fantastic things going on in my wonderful city of Berlin.
STRICTLY STAND UP – The English Comedy Night is going to take place on 10.09.14 at the Quatsch Comedy Club in Berlin.
November 9th, 2014, marks the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Events are taking place all over the city until then.
September is going to be a beautiful month.
Have you been to a food market? Have you had quail eggs ? What is your favourite Thai nosh?
See you in Berlin.
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The Tanita house looks pretty awesome! And the price sounds great, especially with the breakfast thrown in. I can see why this place is considered the Berlin of Asia. Sounds like you had a great time, and it’s so cool that your son gets to see different parts of the world! 🙂
Thank you so much kemkem! Tanita House was wonderful. The location, the chalet, the price. Truely great! We had an awesome time and yes, “The Tall Young Gentleman” is a lucky boy. ‘Hopefully, he’ll be a chip off my old block LOL. He did say that he was going back to Bangkok. For def. And Italy. So, I’ll consider it a promise!
Thank you very much for including a link to my post. I sure hope that train route is safer now. We sure miss Thailand and reading your post has me itching to get back as soon as possible.
You’re very welcome Samuel! I hope so too as I read your blog post in January and I thought, hmmm! There was another post that you wrote in which you mentioned Nok Air too, so that has been very useful! 🙂
I miss Thailand too. In fact, I miss all of Asia and hope to get back there in 2015 if possible. The TransSiberian comes to mind…!
Mmmmh…Asia Asia..I think one needs to spend like three months there…lol! I love the continent too, and I’ve only been to four countries, I think there’s lots to explore!
Thanks @africanagirl! You’re so right. You do need a bit of time to truely explore the secrets of South-East Asia. When I first went out there in 1999 (Yikes), I spent 6 months. However, not everyone can be so lucky so the holiday trip that we just took, was more than satisfactory in just a month. You know school, house, and cat beckon LOL!
Mystery meat on a stick is one of my absolute favorite street foods! I ate so many variations while I was living in China, but this was well before I had a smartphone to take photos. The food looks amazing (even that scary fish!)- I hope you ate your fill!
Thanks Jenna! Yeah, I’d have to say that this is the first time that I’ve actually had “mystery” meat on a stick ‘cos I felt that somehow I could trust it. Not so in India, Vietnam or Hong Kong LOL! I’m so glad that I had my iPhone to use ‘cos my normal camera felt too obstructive.
P.S. The fish was actually quite alright.
P.P.S. Ummm. We certainly ate more than our fill!
Not trusting the mystery meat is half the fun! 🙂
So true. I had porcupine once. And snake.
Tasted like chicken!
OMG – I love Tanita House! Andrew and I stayed there in August 2013 when my parents came out to visit us; it was a splurge for us because we’d normally spend less on accommodation but it was worth it! The breakfast was the best I’ve had in Thailand and the owner drove us to the best station for free, she’s so nice. I also absolutely love Chiang Mai, it’s my fave place in Thailand and somewhere I dream of living! We used to stuff our faces at the night market and spend less than £5! I was also dubious about street massage when I first went to Thailand but I grew to love it 🙂 Those Nok Air prices are insanely good – we’ve only ever used the bus or train and were subject to the delays you mention in 2013 due to derailments.
Thanks so much Amy! You stayed at Tamita House too. That is so awesome!
Aor is a wonderful lady, and so filled with Thai warmth and spirit. It was a pleasure living there as we stayed there for close to two weeks! I’d been to Thailand before of course, but this was my 1st time in Chiang Mai and I could see why travellers were flocking there. My boy is 12 right now, but I’d feel enormously comfortable, if he wanted to do a Gap Year with his mate, and said that he wanted to spend some time in Chiang Mai. I’d definitely let him go LOL!
P.S. Wow! I hope you weren’t delayed too much when you took the train. I like using trains on the Asian continent (except for India. Horrible!), but the Nok Air prices were out of this world and I’d be a fool to ignore them! 🙂
Lovely post, beautiful pics…I will go to Chiang Mai when I return to Thailand..missed going there..and from your post, it’s not too expensive by air..:-)
I have nominated you for the Very Inspiring blogger award! You deserve it babes! Here’s the link: http://africanahgirl.com/2014/09/13/very-inspiring-blogger-award
Awwww! Thank you so much @africanagirl. That’s awfully sweet of you. I accept but will have to cover the award some time later in the year, if that’s alright. 🙂 Yep! Chiang Mai should not be missed if you’re in the region, and it really is budget-friendly if you’re flying or even if you’re taking the train LOL!
You deserve it babes…take the time to respond, there’s too much on any bloggers plate..:-) I look forward to visiting Chiang Mai when I do get to Asia!
Thanks so much! Chiang Mai rules!
Such a lovely pictures of Thailand, good suggestion on Nok Air it’s costy 🙂 And also thanx for following too. Greetings from Marina.
Thanks so much Marina! Thailand is a very beautiful place. No doubt about it. I’m so glad that I was able to find and use Nok Air. I couldn’t believe how budget-conscious and cheap, it was.
P.S. It’s a pleasure to follow you. I’m highly interested in Bulgaria. 🙂
I went crazy with food on my last day in Bangkok – street buffet lunch, coconut cake, fried chicken, pomegranate juice, veggie rolls. It was all so cheap and delicious, so I just stuffed myself as much as I could before having to leave. I’ve yet to make it up to Chiang Mai, but shall do so when I’m next in Thailand for sure.
Thanks so much Tom! I know that you too recently came back from Bangkok. Isn’t it just a marvellous place? And the food. Yum! Yum! Yum! Do visit Chiang Mai when next you go to Thailand as it’s such an awesome place LOL!
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I cant decide if that bird airplane is scary or funny.
I am definitely on board with the bright textiles – i feel like I’d buy a LOT of bright things in Thailand. Not so sure about the street food though, if only because it doesnt look all that sanitary…
LOL Thanks Anna! I’d go with scarily funny. 🙂 Bright textiles are all the rage for summmer, not so much winter, but I think I can still pull it off…!
Anna, I’m not going to lie, sanitary doesn’t come into it…. The trick is to find the place that has a lot of people coming in and out as that means that the food is freshly cooked and isn’t left standing…! Or street food in the market rather than on a smoggy roadside, as it’s cooked and prepared right in front of you. Also, I must say that I have found Thailand to be much cleaner than other Asian countries that I’ve been to. The streets were swept, the toilets were everywhere and clean. Especially in the temples and shopping malls. I was amazed. And all without “a donation” or fee.
If only India would follow suit!!
Yeah…. this is why I stick to Europe :))))))
Great post! My husband and I are moving to Chiang Mai for the short term (about 3-6 mths, depending on what we can rent, visas etc) in mid October. I eat a vegan diet and he has a very Canadian diet of meat, meat and more meat. So I’m trying to learn a few phrases about what I can’t eat before we leave… and just telling myself that mistakes will happen and there’s not much I can do about it aside from get another meal to eat. 🙂
Thanks so much Jessica! So many young people from the Northern Hemisphere have moved to Chiang Mai. And with good reason. It’s a great place. Easy to live, to move around, it’s clean, it’s cheap, the people are lovely, and it’s pretty safe.
There’s a wide variety of food that you can eat, as markets are everywhere. You’ll have a blast learning about the new ingredients and flavours. To be on the safe side, I’d recommend a cookery class so that you’re more informed as per what things are, and what’s inside them. It was at my cookery school that I found that I could never have any of the Thai soups or Mango and Sticky rice, as they all use coconuts as their main ingredient. I’m allergic to all nuts, and that goes for peanuts too so no satay or peanut trimmings!
If you need any help or advice about anything, I’ll be more than happy to help. 🙂
Yes, we’ve been trying to reassure my parents that it’s safe and clean and generally lovely in Chiang Mai. I had friends who lived in Bangkok during the coup a few years ago, and couldn’t leave my house. So they do associate Thailand generally with Bangkok (which I think I was guilty of doing until we researched Chiang Mai).
And that is a fantastic idea on the cooking class. I’m Australian and Thai food is probably one of our more popular cuisines, and yet I’m ashamed to say I am a bit ignorant when it comes to cooking Thai dishes! Was it difficult having a nut allergy in SE Asia? When I think of food from that area I always think of satays or curries with coconut!
And thank you so much, that’s so kind of you. 🙂
Chiang Mai is pretty safe. It’s in the North of Thailand and far from the political upheavals of anywhere else LOL. They’re pretty relaxed up there. Must be all the mountain wind…! Yes, as an Australian I guess Thai and Indonesian food is to you as Indian food is to us Brits! Don’t worry about not being able to cook, that’s waht cookery schools are for. 🙂
So to your question: Was it difficult having a nut allergy in SE Asia? There was A LOT of coconut stuff so I didn’t have any of the soups and very little sauce ‘cos of the peanuts. It was fine and let’s just say that I’m not too shy to ask questions, as it concerns my personal health and well-being. It was just the same as if I were in Germany. I’m a teacher by profession and I constantly get gifts of home-made cakes and biscuits and I can’t eat half of them as they always contain nuts or chocolate. I always ask with a lovely smile so people don’t get too offended. 🙂 🙂
P.S. Always a pleasure. 🙂
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I am SOOOO missing Thailand right now 😉
Me toooooooooo! 🙂
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I love Thai food and sometimes I go to the markets just to eat:) My favorite Thai food is all the hot & spicy salads. I just can’t get enough of them.
Thanks Mitzie Mee! I hear ya! Thai food is just so yum! 🙂
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You have to pick ONE Thai dish. What is it?
I think I would choose the quail eggs fried in noodle things. I’m weird like that because I’m allergic to nuts you see. And anything with coconuts, banana, or chocolate, is never going to touch my lips ‘cos I don’t like them lol!
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Cool post! Reminded me of my time there. Thanks for you sharing!
Thank you so much. Thai food is marvellous! 😀
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