May 25, 2018
We arrived in Chiang Mai and we were happy to see how nice the Suirwongse hotel was, especially after the homestays in Kalasin. Since we had never been to Chiang Mai, we were not sure what to expect. Other people had told us nothing but good things about the city, but we had to see it for ourselves to fully understand why it is such a loved destination in Thailand.
Once we got settled in our hotel rooms, we headed straight to the night bazaar. We immediately noticed the differences between Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Even though there was a lot happening at the night bazaar, Chiang Mai felt less overwhelming than Bangkok. There’s plenty of things to do in the night bazaar, such as getting a traditional Thai massages, eating street food, and dancing at the local clubs. As for us, we saw a fish pedicure station and had to do that as our first activity in Chiang Mai. Following that, we got street food (some were braver than others and ate a scorpion) and then finished off the night at a club in the center of the bazaar.
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May 26, 2018
After an entertaining first night in Chiang Mai, we woke up early the next day and headed to the Hmong Village, which is in the mountains above the city. We were told to take Dramamine and expect a windy road, but we had no idea how bad it was actually going to be. There were many students who experienced getting carsick for the first time that day. However, it was worth the drive because of the culture we got to be immersed in. The views from the village were breathtakingly beautiful, including many colorful flowers and a waterfall. Some students decided to spend time shopping, while others continued to explore the area. It was a unique experience to be able to see another aspect of the city that we had not yet seen.
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After this, we traveled down the mountain to a popular temple, Wat Prathat Doi Suthep. This temple was different compared to the other temples we had visited in the past. It was much more crowded with tourists, but also the level of detail in the temple was greater. There was a lot of gold coloring and intricate art used throughout the entire area. We were amazed at the view of Chiang Mai from the top of the temple as well.
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To wrap up the first part of our Chiang Mai visit, many of us decided to go to the Saturday Night Market. It had a much different atmosphere than the Night Bazaar. Since it is only put on one night a week, it seemed to be much more crowded than anything we had seen the night before. Everyone found a lot of gifts there to bring home (and maybe some stuff for themselves as well). In the middle of our shopping excursion it started to pour rain, so we headed over to Nimman, another part of the city, to get some yummy Kao Soy. This was a unique dish that none of us students had ever tried before, but we were sure happy that we did. This was a wonderful way to conclude our first couple nights in Chiang Mai.