Our second stop in Thailand was in Chiang Mai. The hotel was just north of the old city square down a little side street that was quiet the evening we arrived. In the morning though, the place was a hive of activity with dozens of stalls set up on the sidewalk with fresh produce, and cooked food vendors. I picked up a big bunch of fruit that saw us through a couple of days for less than $3 CDN. We got quite good at conversions with $1 Canadian dollars = ฿30 Thai Bhat. Food really is quite inexpensive here and so much of the produce is very fresh. Dragon fruit almost everywhere, pineapple, coconuts… you name it. A 750ml bottle of beer for ฿50. Even a healthy sushi feed for the three of us was only about $25.
The hotel room was beautifully decorated but had a whole end glass wall through to the toilet and shower area. While it had strategically positioned frosting it still felt a little weird dealing with the day’s processed meals in view of everyone else in the room. The place had a nice pool and we had the whole place to ourselves as I don’t think there were any other guests at all in the hotel. It is low season at the end of September so the crowds were much smaller than usual apparently.
We booked a cooking class at Basil Cooking which was great fun. They picked us up at the hotel, then another young couple from England and we were off to the market. Our guide told us about some of the vegetables, spices, herbs, and rice we would be using. After some time to poke around on our own, we were off to Basils for the class. They prepared just enough for the class to move smoothly and for us to make several things and cleaned up after us too so we could sit and eat our creations. Everyone was impressed with the end product and we shared amongst ourselves to sample a little of everything. We came away with a cookbook of everything we made and some motivation to try some of the more interesting things we see in the grocery store produce section.
I did plan on getting some clothes made in Chiang Mai and we were swept up again in a whirlwind tour by tuktuk which included the tailor’s visit. I like to think we got a good deal and I don’t know how much it would have cost back in Canada to have everything I’m getting made to my measurements, but I’m not unhappy with the experience. They’re good salespeople and everyone seems to have a “promotion” just for us, just for today, ordered by the King himself. Went for measurements and to select design and fabrics, then back in the evening for a fitting. The rest will be shipped to Canada for us when we arrive, if all goes well. Fingers crossed.