It was strange taking such short flights on our journey to Chiang mai. Our first flight was one hour, with a 2 hour stop in Bangkok before catching another one hour flight. During our stop over we went to a pastry shop where the pastries were made right in front of you.
Afterwards on our way to the boarding gate we stopped at a tourist company offering elephant days out. We found a two day package which included a trek, washing elephants and white water rafting. It was cheaper than others we had seen online. We managed to quickly book it but had to run to make our next flight.
We were excited to have a few days in one place because the last few places we had been were short stays and involved lots of travelling. When we arrived at the hostel we went straight to get our washing done. We then headed out to find some lunch. The old town was very close to our hostel. It is surrounded by a small canal. We only had to cross the canal to get inside.
We were feeling very tired and groggy that day, the lack of exercise was getting to us. We managed to find a good gym using our 'maps.me' app. As I was running to the gym my body was definitely resisting as I struggled to run at my normal pace. The gym was amazing, based on the 7th floor you could look out of the glass and see the whole of Chiang mai. We were definitely going to come back here.
By the time we got back it was dark and a group was forming at the reception of the hostel about to start a pub crawl. We quickly showered and headed out to find food. We were told to try the street food at the stalls across the road. Our meals were 50 bhatt each (1 pound!). We made it back just in time to join the pub crawl and we followed the crowd to the first place which was a karaoke bar. The woman singing was very good, she not only played western music but she also made them her own by remixing them. It was happy hour and we all bought mojitos. We also got talked into trying the shot that the hostel promoted called 'black cock'. It was a horrible concoction of spirits. We chatted to a couple of German guys and a couple from Australia. I asked one of the guys who worked at the hostel where he was from and he said that he didn't feel like he had a home as he had been travelling so long. The next bar was a reggae bar which was one of many bars along that street. Lots of the bars had people spilling out of them dancing. We quickly moved on to try one of the louder bars and got straight on the dancefloor.
Later we followed a few people we had met to a club because all the bars close quite early, around 1 o clock. The outside of the club called 'spicy' looked closed but then we found a side entrance down an alleyway. We had to pay to get in but the actual club was good with a decent sized dance floor. However we didn't like the atmosphere in the club that much. There was a weird mix of people there with many western guys hooking up with Thai women.
The next day we went to the Chiang mai Grand Canyon. In order to get there you have to wave down a red van and negotiate a price. The driver would then wait for you while you were there. The canyon was really different to places we had swan on the trip already. It was a quarry filled with water so the water was 32 metres deep. It had rafts in the middle of it. But also people were jumping into it from all levels. There was one particularly high part where people were taking their time at the top to gear themselves up for the jump. My approach was not to think too much about it and just go and jump. It was exhilarating and refreshing swimming in the waters.
After a couple of hours we went back in the van. We wanted to explore more of Chiang mai so we went straight to the old town. We found some really interesting shops selling art, ceramics, home made cards, leather merchandise and lots of elephant related ornaments and jewellery. We bought many of our presents in these places. We enjoyed the shopping here not just because of the unique purchases but the people selling their products weren't nearly as pushy as those in Bangkok. Later on we found a night market based around a temple. It was a great atmosphere with few tourists and lots of locals. We were very tired by this point and headed back for an early night before our elephant trek began the next day.