Had a semi relaxing day today with a Thai Cooking Class. Loads of fun making 6 different meals, and it turns out that Thai food is not too complex to make.
There is an element of shock when you go to cook your first wok fried dish and create a great big ball of fire. Takes a bit of getting use to. I suggest anyone to try cooking classes, and the steady flow of eating throughout the day if quite enjoyable!
For those interested, the class we went to was held by Pad Thai Cookery School and the instructors name was Meow (like a cat).
Had a day off from tours today to relax and check out Chiang Mai itself. Spent most of the day in Central Airport Plaza, which is the largest shopping centre in Chiang Mai. Not a bad place, and the food court in the basement was awesome. Plenty of food to pick at and enjoy.
The quality of the goods at the small stalls were also better than those you pay out in the Night and Sunday Markets. The price is a little more expensive, but you get what you pay for.
Spent the rest of the day at the Night Market and got myself a fish massage and thai massage. Relaxing day overall (apart from a Tuk Tuk driver that got lost and made a 5min trip turn into 45mins).
The tour I booked for this day was the Golden Triangle. This is perhaps one of the longest tours spent on the road (about 6 hours of driving all up).
On the way, you will pass a hotspring which is too hot to bath in or touch (90C). You will pass a White Temple, which is still currently underconstruction. The interior of the White Temple has to be seen to believed. It is a work of art! The wax replica of a Monk is also amazingly real… Unfortuantely, no photos are allowed inside the temple for copyright reasons.
The centrepiece of the tour is going to a location called the Golden Triangle. This is where 3 Countries meet around a small island in the Mekong River (Laos, Burma, Thailand). The small island is unclaimed land, and it use to be the drop off point for Opium back in the days. Part of the tour will take you on a cruise around this location, and take you over to Laos. You will be allowed to walk on Laos land for a small fee and you will collect a stamp (no longer stamped into your passport).
On the long drive home, you will probably drop past the Long Neck Village. These are refugees for Yemen that have been granted land to live on by Thailand authorities.
The tour I booked for this day was called Elephant Riding and Bamboo Rafting. It is listed on the top 10 list of things to do in Chiang Mai. You will find that this list is fairly typical across all hotels and tour companies.
For us, we went to a Orchid and Butterfly farm first. Beautiful coloured orchids were on display that take many years to grow. The butterflies at this location were also amazing in colour.
Next stop was the Elephant riding. These are magnificent creatures. The package also includes riding on a wagon with two bulls pulling you along. The Elephant show was next where they got the elephants to perform all sorts of tricks and you were able to feed and take photos with them. The highlight was the ability for one elephant (named “Suda”) to paint a very realistic drawing!
As it was a Sunday, we went to the Sunday Market. This is huge in comparison to just the Night Markets. Make sure you book your stay in Chiang Mai over a Sunday to experience this.