Chiang Mai is one of those places when I am given an opportunity to visit, I always take it. And as the chaos of Tet preparations was ramping up, I happily boarded a plane out of the madness.
Our friend, Derrick, now calls ‘the Chiang’ his home. He loves it so much that he has two homes, one near his work in the countryside and one in the hipster area of Nimman.
Nimman is located northwest of the old city. It’s got a cool, chic vibe to it. So many artsy things to see, so many hip cafes to dine in and my favorite, so many coffee shops to sip home-roasted brews in!
But before we started exploring Nimman, we needed to see the rest of Chiang Mai, i.e. the old city, especially since this was Robb’s first visit. We rented bikes and went through the city’s brick walls. And then we left soon afterwards. Way too many backpackers and Chinese tourists for my liking.
We were on a mission in Chiang Mai. I needed to find a coat that will keep me warm and Robb needed a hat to keep his head warm. And thanks to the glorious Central Festival Mall, we got things done! And we were reminded that it was Lunar New Year. Happy Year of the Rooster!
I love Thai food! So when in Chiang Mai, we’ve been trying to eat as much as we can. It was a shock to our system, more so with me my bowels. But so many different flavors, so the sacrifice was good.
Once meeting up with Derrick, we decided to go to a very popular restaurant in Nimman called TongTemToh. Locals are willing to wait for an hour for the food. And if you like meat, this is the place to go. Northern Thailand specialties include sai ua la wan (Chiang Mai sausage) and Burmese pork curry (ok, not exactly Thai but still super yummy!).
After a belly full of Chiang Mai specialties, we hung out at a local drinking area. Each small bar had speakers blasting, making it difficult to listen but great to people watch!
We treated ourselves to a fancy brunch, Nimman style on Saturday at the Larder Cafe. Granted, our meals ended costing more than what we had spent the day before! But hummus and sun-dried tomatoes. Can’t really complain.
I love massages, especially in Southeast Asia. $6 for 60 minutes of beating by a Thai woman! And Derrick being a massage fanatic like me was always game.
We went out to see Derrick’s other home in the Hang Dong district of Chiang Mai. It is about 30 km from the old city and up through a winding road. Thanks to the wonderful drug, Dramamine, I survived the car ride but fell asleep immediately after arriving. It was nice to be in the middle of nowhere. But I can understand why Derrick keeps to homes too.
We said our goodbyes to Derrick after dining on jungle curry. We took a songthaew back to Chiang Mai.
We didn’t do much in Chiang Mai, but that’s OK. It was a good place to decompress and we’re very grateful to Derrick for letting us stay at his place.