Wanders
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The Land of a Thousand Smiles — Chiang Mai, Thailand (Day 1)

In the 9 weeks that we’re in India, we’ve received one 4-day weekend off to travel and/or relax and of course, I chose travel (which relaxes me) so it all worked out.

there are countless thai massage parlors in chiang mai, but here's one we found right by one of the local outdoor markets

there are countless thai massage parlors in chiang mai, but here’s one we found right by one of the local outdoor markets

I was joined by 5 other co-workers for a jam-packed weekend of culture, delicious foods, wild personalities, and gut-wrenching adventure..literally!

We arrived Saturday morning, July 26 to the Chiang Mai airport and immediately went to our hostel, the Green Tulip House, where were we greeted by our super enthusiastic host, Stella. Our day was supposed to be a very casual, laid-back day — starting with a traditional Thai massage, then a trip to up to Wat Doi Suithep, and ending with a 7 course Thai dinner cooking class.

i had the grilled looking stick. tastes a lot like nem nứơng!

i had the grilled looking stick. tastes a lot like nem nứơng!

My first Thai massage was in Bangkok, January 2013, and I’ve been missing them since! Thai massages are a bit different from other massages, as the masseur or masseuse will use his or her whole body in massaging yours. They’ll massage you with their feet, elbows, forearms, and even knees — sounds bizarre, and it’ll most likely leave you sore, but I promise it’ll end up loosening up your whole body afterwards.

freebirds!

freebirds!

After our massage, Stella arranged for a tuk tuk truck to take us up to Wat Doi Suithep, the most famous temple at the highest point of Chiang Mai. After 300 steps to the top, we wandered around the temples and sampled some of the yummy street foods! (To enter the temple, foreigners were supposed to pay an entrance fee, but as Stella told us not to pay, we just walked around to the back entrance. I doubt there’s an official fee at all.)

I tried grilled pork on a stick and fried bananas, while my friends tried chocolate waffles on a stick and fried coconut pancakes. None of it made us sick, and all of it was delicious — a pleasant change from our culinary experience in India.

We also bought some birds to free.. which was a weird concept for me, but it was quite rewarding to let them go. Apparently, it’s good luck.

banana filled waffle sticks.. yum!

banana filled waffle sticks.. yum!

Anyway, after taking some pictures of the view/temple/market, we headed back to our hostel to  get ready to be picked up for our cooking classes with Basil Cookery School, which I’ll detail in my next post.

Overall, our first day in Chiang Mai was great, and a welcomed change of pace. Unlike Bangalore and the other Indian cities we’ve visited, Chiang Mai had lanes, very clear traffic rules, minimal honking, and everyone was generally very, very kind. I guess they don’t call it The Land of a Thousand Smiles for no reason.

some candles inside the doi suithep temple - my attempt at an artistic shot.

some candles inside the doi suithep temple – my attempt at an artistic shot.

Not to say Thailand is better than India, I just found it to remind me a bit more of home somehow. I almost found myself feeling a bit guilty to be so glad to leave India for a while, but I think the important take away for me on our Chiang Mai trip was that it’s okay to help yourself and okay to know that you need a break.

Working in India is very different from anything I’ve experienced in the States. I missed home, I missed my family, I missed familiar foods; the culture shock was rough. I knew I needed a break, and I’m so glad that Chiang Mai was able to provide that for me. I didn’t have to feel guilty. I was just doing what I needed to do for me.

 

 

a three person thai tuktuk. super cheap, and super convenient! the drivers are so nice (:

a three person thai tuktuk. super cheap, and super convenient! the drivers are so nice (: also, our main mode of transportation.

So stay tuned for my post about our cooking classes! Thanks for reading! Comment below if you’d like (:

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kimmi loves that you've perused her blog! feel free to let her know what you liked (or maybe didn't like) about her posts. she hopes you've found her posts helpful in some way, shape or form. she also hopes that in sharing her growth through wanders, ponders, eats, and reads, you'll be inspired or nudged to travel more, reflect more, eat more and read more -- all things she holds near and dear to her heart. happy reading!

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