Showing posts from February 10, 2008

Day 9: Rest day

Another beautiful day. We decided to take it easy, since the next day was the Elephant Nature Park. After a leisurely breakfast, we did some shopping along the main road. L bought some jewelry, which is big here, particularly silver

We had lunch at a really good Middle Eastern place called Jerusalem Falafel. It was a nice change of pace from Thai food, which is excellent, of course, but we felt like a break from it. I had the special, which was an excellent eggplant moussaka while L had an excellent chicken dish. The hummus and pita was really good as well. The pita was a lot thicker and breadier than we are used to, but it was really fresh and delicious. It was obviously homemade.

Didn't really do much else that day. Shopped a little more. I had another Cuban on the porch, and we had dinner at The Good View, one of the restaurants near the hotel. It was really good and did, indeed, have a good view.

Some random pics.

A cool Wat we visited in Chiang Mai. Probably more pic…

Day 8: Chiang Mai flower festival parade

We awoke to a beautiful day. Since it was the day for the famous Chiang Mai Flower Festival, we got a move on and got going pretty early. We walked down to Tha Phae Road, which leads into the main eastern gate into the old city, which I posted a picture of on yesterday's post.

This parade was so cool. It was already going on when we got there, but we still saw over two hours of it. It was so much like a parade in the US, and let so unlike one here as well. It was like ones here in that there were marching bands, all playing western songs I recognized, and there were flower floats, local groups. etc. However, it was also unlike one here in that there were no barricades, and we were right up on the parade. When something large, like a float, was coming through, guys with whistles would urge people back. Also, there were, of course, a lot of things you don't get in parades in the US, like all the people in traditional costumes and the guys carrying huge drums (one of my fa…

Day 7: Rain in Chiang Mai, The Night Baazar

It rained last night, and was still raining when we woke up this morning. After breakfast (which was delicious, as usual) I got on the computer in the lobby to look at the weather report and also to try to find a cigar store in Chiang Mai.

The weather report was not heartening. It was supposed to rain all day. We decided to go out anyway, since it was out first full day in the city. We waited until it slacked off a bit, then headed out. We didn't bring any rain gear, because it is not supposed to rain at this time of year in Thailand. Anyway, it really didn't matter; even had I brought my rain gear, it was too warm to wear it. I would rather be a little wet than hot and wet. I had my adventure hat, anyway, so no worries.

Anyway, we decided to walk to the old city, which is defined at the area inside the old moat. Our hotel is not even on the map that I just linked to, but, if you look at the scale, it is not huge. The area inside the moat is about a square mile, so it&#…

Day 6. Travel to Chiang Mai

This is the day we flew to Chiang Mai. We thought about taking an overnight train, but it's a 12 hour ride, and to maximize our time, we decided to just fly. We flew on a local budget airlines called Air Asia, and two round trip tickets cost us about $158, which was pretty good. To make it easier I booked our flight for around noon. After another breakfast at the hotel restaurant, we headed to the airport, which is a 45 minute ride from central Bangkok.

The new Bangkok airport, Suvarnabhumi (which, somehow, is pronounced Swan-a-poom) is really nice. The main terminal is, by some measures, the largest in the world, and it is indeed extremely huge. There were apparently some problems when it first opened, but it seemed to be operating smoothly every time we were there.

I even remembered to have the doorman at the hotel tell the taxi driver that we were flying domestic, so he took us to the correct area. By the way, an interesting thing; almost every building we went to had a do…

Day 5. The National Museum

We got up a little early, since we wanted to get the the Bangkok branch of the Thailand National Museum by 9:30 so we can take the weekly free English tour. It was raining on the way to the museum, and for a time while we were on the skytrain it was pouring. No matter, though, museums are perfect for rain days.

We did have a minor setback on the way there; we took the river taxi to a dock a little north of the one we took the last day, and got off on N10, or Tha (pier, in Thai) Phran Nok (see map here), in the hopes that we could take a cross-river ferry and get to Tha Prachan, or at least Tha Makarat, both of which are a good bit closer to the museum. Unfortunately, the cross-river ferry took us back to N9, or Tha Chang, so we had a bit of a walk to the museum. No big deal, though, as we got to walk along the Sanam Luang, which is a big open area adjacent to the Grand Palace where various ceremonies take place. It's pretty much the only large open area in the part of Bangkok…