Trip Start Jan 25, 2013
25Trip End Apr 11, 2013
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Chiang Mai is a city of 174,000 people. The old part of the city is surrounded by a moat that actually has water in it! The old city is where our hotel is, with only a walk of about 100m to one of the main shopping/dining/drinking streets. The streets are narrow and congested with traffic of all kinds, and made narrower by the street vendors hawking their goods, but it is a great place to explore by walking. The old city has a lot of temples, which are usually walled and are in well manicured areas. We found them very interesting, as well as providing a bit of a respite from the heat and traffic
We arrived at the beginning of the Flower Festival, but due to our schedule, we caught only a portion of it. What we saw was really impressive. Beautiful flowers of all kinds, and bonsai's that had price tags of $10,000 US! Along with this, every evening, there were young ethnic dancers performing on a stage set up along the moat. And of course, there were the food stalls! I swear that I am personally responsible for giving at least two vendors the money to permanently retire! They get me every time as the food is delicious! Damn pot stickers and spring rolls with Pad Thai and crab cakes thrown in, a feast, and not expensive!
On Sundays from about 5:00pm until 10:00pm they transform the main street into a walking street, which provides the local, as well as the outlying ethnic groups to set up their booths and sell handmade items of all sorts. There is some nice work on display.
We stayed in Chiang Mai for 6 days and it could have been longer. The relaxed atmosphere compared to Bangkok was really easy to take, but it was time to move on.