Tuesday, we awoke after a nice lay in due to being pretty tired from the elephant sanctuary trip! Once again, we opted for a nice chilled out day around the pool, shock! That evening, however, we decide to head to the night bazaar for a wander around! Chiang Mai itself was now starting to get very busy in preparation for the upcoming festival and the city looked very pretty with all the lanterns lining the streets. At the night bazaar, we grabbed a bite to eat which for me was a massive Turkish kebab plate! It was a little pricey but made a nice change to pork and rice which is what we have mainly been eating here. After eating we stumbled upon a part of the market called Ploen Ruedee night market where there were loads of quirky little bars and a staging area in the middle with a live band. We sat here and enjoyed the music for an hour or more and drunk a few Changs over the course of the evening. However rather than pay around 140 baht per beer we instead snuck some in from the local 7 eleven for 56 baht. There was a good atmosphere here and we enjoyed a sing along to the songs. When the time got to around 10.30pm we decided we fancied a little boggy back in Zoe which shuts at 12! So headed there for an hour to get a quick grove on. On the walk back home around 12.30am, we walked past a large collection of rubbish bins, at which point I was already giving them a wide birth but then saw a rather large rat running out from the bins! At this point, I shouted Rat and about 6 other massive rats ran out from the bin collection, at this point we all went running in opposite directions however Connor was a little too close and fully stepped on a massive rat. So, what with Fred stepping on one in KL and Connor in Chiang Mai that leaves me and Ollie yet to come face to face or should I say foot to body with the rodents.
The following day, now being Wednesday, we actually did something in Chiang Mai other than chill around the pool. We headed up to the large Buddhist temple which overlooks Chiang Mai called Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. We paid a Rengdan taxi which is basically a red pickup truck which can hold 8 people in the back to take us up and back down the mountain. The temple was pretty impressive, but the highlight was certainly the far-reaching views of Chiang Mai below. After wandering around the temple and the surrounding little village we headed back down into the city to enjoy the night’s festivities of the Loy Krathong festival.That evening was the opening night of the festival, so we headed to the Phae Gate but quickly left due to the large crowd and the fact the show that was due to commence didn’t really seem that interesting. Instead, we headed down to the Ping River where we brought some Krathongs and set them floating down the river. There were lots of people doing the same but the effect of all the Krathongs floating down the river was muted by the fact they quickly went out, so it wasn’t as stunning as it could have been as lots were floating down but with no candle alight. We, therefore, headed back to the hostel bar whereby I smashed 3 people in a row at pool before losing when I really shouldn’t have lost. Around 11/12 me and Fred headed to bed as we wanted to get up and go to a local gym we had seen. Connor and Ollie, however, carried on drinking and ended up rocking in around 5am in the morning having gone to a few underground clubs. The two of them even made friends with a deaf French guy staying at the hostel who is travelling on his own. Crazy respect for him doing that as that really takes some balls to do I’m sure. It’s nice to see it wasn’t holding him back.
Me and Fred awoke and left Ollie and Con firmly in bed. We headed to the gym and paid 100 baht to use the facilities. They really weren’t that great so I’m glad we only paid around £2 quid, but it was nice to do a bit of exercise other than using the resistance bands me and Fred have been using. We then headed to the pool for a refreshing dip where Connor had surfaced but Ollie was still in bed.
In the afternoon the hostel put on a Krathong making workshop with some of the local Thai ladies to help. It was a really interesting hour or so learning how to make the traditional floating flower displays that get set alight and then sent down the river. I was actually really pleased with how mine turned out and I think even some of the locals were shocked at how good mine looked when finished. Although I must admit I did have help from Conner and a very helpfully Thai lady. That evening we headed back out to the Ping river where most of the festivities were occurring. Safe to say it was absolutely mental. Everywhere was so busy but my god the night sky was such a spectacle with hundreds of airborne lanterns filling the sky. Photos of the scene really don’t do it justice and it really was an amazing sight. When we got to the river me, Fred and Ollie set off our floating Krathongs off down the river which we had made earlier in the day. Once we had done this we then made our way to the main bridge were the majority of lanterns were being set off. You would have thought it would be easy to purchase the lanterns seeing as so many were being sent into the sky, but we spent a good 20 minutes looking for somewhere to purchase them. We finally stumbled across a couple selling the lanterns a little way off the beaten track. I brought a small one and a medium size one, Ollie 2 small, Fred one medium and Connor one large one. We then also had to search somewhere to buy a lighter before finally making our way to the bridge to set them off. Now setting off the lanterns really wasn’t as easy as it would seem. They take a very long time for the air inside to get hot enough to carry them away, plus the string of lights across either side of the bridge laid waste to many a lantern before they even got going. Although there were a few scares when setting the lanterns off only 1 of the 6 got trapped on the string of lights, stopped there and then burned to a crisp. Unfortunately for the Everitt family, it was mine which I had inscribed the Everitt name onto haha! Can’t say I didn’t try to bring us some good luck but I guess it sums up that the only luck the Everitts get is the luck we make ourselves. My other lantern though went off without a hitch, so we will just have to say that one was dedicated to us as well! (sorry mum and dad I tried). After setting off the lanterns and enjoying the spectacle along with some fireworks we chose to head to Zoe in yellow for one final hour rave before returning to bed. Connor, Ollie and Fred then decided they wanted to walk back. I, on the other hand, couldn’t be bothered so paid the 100 baht to get a tuk tuk home and was back a good 40 minutes before the others.
This morning we made the 3-hour journey even further north to a place called Pai. Originally our plan was to go from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. However, we had heard so much good stuff about Pai that we changed our plans and will now spend a few days in Pai before heading to Chiang Rai for a few days before crossing into Laos. The bus journey was very twisty for the final few hours and I even felt a little sick. But I’m very glad we made the decision to come here as it is a beautiful place and I know we will have an amazing time here. More about what we got up to in Pai in the next blog though. Also, I have been meaning to say that I am using an app called Polarsteps to track the places we go via map format it’s a cool app and allows people to follow our trip around Asia in a more visual way. If you download the app and then follow this link it should allow you to follow my progress. Please let me know if this doesn’t work. I think it may even work simply using the internet.