Stranded in Chiang Rai (briefly)

We spent our first couple of days rushing around, as usual, buying stuff and riding around trying to find things that we need and cannot buy in Laos.  So on our third night, we were pretty exhausted and we were preparing to leave the following morning.  Dre wanted to visit the woodfired pizza place, and check out their oven as well as eat their pizza, so we went there for dinner.  A few minutes after we sat down, torrential rain started and within about an hour the whole street had flooded.  This isn’t too unusual for rainy season, so we didn’t think much of it and just waited til it eased a bit before we rode home.

But, the rain didn’t stop all night or all morning the next day so it meant that the streets were too flooded for us to leave Chiang Rai.  We didn’t mind too much, we got some time to relax and then when it cleared up in the afternoon spent some time riding around the non-flooded streets and outskirts of town seeing some cool temples that we hadn’t seen yet.

We saw some awesome views and also found another cool temple in the distance that we want to try and find next time we’re here.  Tim when you get here, we have heaps of cool things for you to ride to with us and see!  Tomorrow, if the rain holds off, we’ll head back to Luang Namtha.  Our photos are here.

Chiang Mai

View our location map in Chiang Mai

Our time in Chiang Mai has been really laid back and awesome so far.  One of the highlights has actually been (yes, most of you will think we’re crazy) going for our early morning runs – it has been such a fantastic way to start the day; running around a cobbled subdivision in the quiet back streets, breathing in the sweet smells from at least 10 different kinds of beautifully fragrant flowers around the streets, and watching the clear sky over mountains develop into mist and then clouds as the day begins to heat up and water evaporates off the forest and the 3-4 different kinds of flying squirrels jump/fly from tree to tree or powerline to powerline.  A really invigorating start to each morning!

We have mainly been visiting lots of temples, wandering around the streets, and eating good food – lets just clear one thing up – in light of our last post, we feel the need to say:  If you want good food during your Asian adventure, forget Penang, come to Chiang Mai!!!  We have been feasting on such awesome, healthy food that is just so much better than the fried selection on offer in Penang.  There is an awesome night market right across the road from where we are staying and there are so many different kinds of delicious salads and yummy curries that we are in heaven.  We spent a day up in the foothills of the himalayas at Doi Suthep temple, we unfortunately managed to choose the worst Songthaew driver in history and after 16kms of windy road (no straight bits, only endless corners), and diesel fumes being sucked into the converted-semi-enclosed-ute-tray we were both feeling so intensely car-sick that we had to sit in the forest for about half an hour and eat some rice to settle our stomachs.  Once we’d recovered though, we had a really pleasant time up  mountain and in the temple – we got blessed by the monks and rang all the bells each with a different tone.  The main stupa was actually covered in scaffolding, but that didn’t really detract from the overall experience as there were plenty of other things to see and a really good view over Chiang Mai and the surrounding area.  We also spent a day at Ban Tawai village and succumbed to temptation and bought a canvas painting.  (Which hopefully arrives in NZ in once piece as we have to send it to Karen’s parents as it’s too big to cart around with us.)

We have also been extremely lucky that the bungalow that we rented for the month is awesome – it can be a bit of a gamble booking online, even after reading reviews, so we are stoked that this place is like a super modern little apartment right beside a large quiet park, with fast internet, perfect for our month long stay in Chiang Mai.  Our photos of our adventures and mainly temples are here.