My first impression of Chiang Mai couldn't be more opposite to that of Bangkok. The streets were lined with beautiful bars and restaurants. There was an air of calm (well as calm as Thailand gets!) created by loads of space and the people were very helpful. We couldn't get far without people coming over to talk to us to give some advice or just to have a chat. We had dinner and a few drinks later Tom had managed to persuade me it would be a good idea to hire mopeds the next day!
The next day after even more persuasion we hooked up with Ian, who we met on the train and hired mopeds for the day. Tom did all the driving. I just dug my fingers into his sides and hung on. I was actaully really cool. I felt much more in touch with what was going on around me and it was good to get a taster of how the Thai people do it. They found the sight of us pretty hillarious - 3 white westerners in fetching Skid-Lids wobbling along the streets, trying to fit in! It was pretty chaotic at times driving through the town with hundreds of other pro - mopeders weaving in and out. We took the bikes to a stunning temple high in the hills overlooking Chiang Mai. Then we continued on into the hills to visit a hill tribe village. It was a great day, but I was pleased to have my feet back on dry land by the end of it.
The next day we spent doing a Thai cookery class. First we went to a local market with our little baskets to but the ingredients for the day. Then it was back to the kitchen to cook. Basically it was a step by step demonstration which we followed. i dont think we could have messed up if we tried but we learnt a lot. We cooked 7 dishes within the space of about 5 hrs and we ate them all!!! The food was great and we got a recipe book so we can cook you guys Thai when we get home.
There is always an occasion here in Chiang Mai for a market. There is at least one on every night and they are absolutely awesome. We spent hours each night wondering down the endless stall-lined streets. There were so many beautiful handicrafts to buy, for someone like me it was heaven! Even tho by the last night we had seen most of the stuff on offer it was still great to wonder around anyway and soak up the atmosphere. This was when the town came to life and hours just passed. We liked it so much we're coming back when Lou (sister) comes out to join us and that'll be near the end so ill know if I have any money left to spend.