Friday, 30 September 2016

Arriving in Chiang Mai, Thailand

My dream has always been to travel the world - to see as many incredible places as I can. 

I love learning about different cultures, languages and meeting new people. So with my new sense of adventure, I took the plunge and booked flights to Thailand.

One of my best friends from my time at university, was travelling the world and just so happened to want to explore Thailand too. So it was the perfect excuse to catch up after over a year of separation!

After the longest journey,  I arrived in Chiang Mai which is in the North of Thailand and we headed to our hostel for the first 5 days.

We stayed at Oxotel and it suited us perfectly. It was pretty, comfy, and had a lovely boutique coffee shop/cafe underneath.

After some well deserved lunch and a shower, it was time to explore!

We had just left our hostel and I was already overwhelmed by some of the beautiful sights Chiang Mai had to offer.

Strolling along, trying to acclimatise to the heat, and taking in all the sights, we came across a bustling food market.

Lots of local Thai people selling all sorts of weird and wonderful food. Here's a tip - if you see a lot of locals eating there...tuck in! 

Just be prepared for the wafts of different smells all merged into is certainly an experience and not for the faint hearted!

These bananas were delicious, small enough to give you the best little boost of energy as they are about 10 times sweeter than what we get back in the UK.

We ended up in a lovely little boutique shop which was right up my street, and it just so happened it was also a restaurant too!

We decided to dip our toes into Thai cuisine by ordering a simple Tom Yum soup.

Do not let this photo fool you, I have never tasted such an incredible explosion of flavour in one bowl of soup! 

Soon it was time to head home as I was majorly feeling the jet lag, so we hailed a tuk tuk which quite literally whisked us home.

By morning, we were fresh faced and ready to start our day of temple exploring.

The cheapest and easiest way to get about is to hail down a red truck. It has an open back kitted out with benches - so once you have bartered your price...take what the driver suggests, half it, and barter your way up to a more reasonable price...jump in and you are ready to go!

Another great method of travel with the same bartering needed, is the tuk tuk. A tiny taxi with no sides,  great for sight seeing but hold on tight!!!

When we arrived at the first temple, we were greeted by old ladies trying to sell us birds to set free. The thing is, these birds are released and then caught again to be sold to some other tourist...beware!

Now, let me introduce you to Wat Chiang Man temple...built in 1297.

Before you have even entered you are blown away by the immaculate technicolor architecture and design.

A place of total serenity and beauty...there are few words to describe it. Also, due to the time of year we were visiting, we were lucky enough to pretty much have the place to ourselves!

Once you have finished marvelling the inside, you come out to the most enchanting garden.

You are faced with the most amazing structure - Chedi 'Chang' (which means elephant) Lom. Which is the oldest construction within the temple grounds, held up by 15 elephants.

The garden is carefully watched over by this happy chap.

and the lawn is home to the sweetest little elephant shaped shrubs...

You'll know if you have ever travelled in a pair, unless you are doing the 'selfie' thing, it is hard to get a photo of the two of you.

Luckily we met a lovely spanish family who were more than happy to step in as our photographers.

Our styling for the week - whatever we could pull out our suitcases that was light and airy in such a tropical climate.

From the buildings, statues and nature...there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Well, that's enough for now...more coming soon I promise!

Cat Xx

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