March 13, 2011
Senne’s Summary: We flew into Chiang Mai, stayed in a beautiful hotel, walked around the old city, got a massage and checked out the Sunday Market.
We flew from Bangkok to Chiang Mai (we had heard you could take a night train… but why would we when you can fly for about $50?!? We’re princesses, remember?) Before we landed we had to circle around the airport for 30 minutes because there was a VIP on the ground. You must be pretty darn important to stop planes from landing!
When we arrived at the airport the hotel staff was waiting for us. Not just the regular one person, but THREE people. We didn’t realize we were in for the royal service 🙂 I chose a hotel which is well below my nightly hotel budget… but is medium expensive by Chiang Mai standards. Apparently, this level of hotel entitles you to very very attentive service. (Since we’re princesses we are quite fond of this :)) We booked on Agoda, which seemed to have pretty competitive prices for Asian hotels, also you built up loyalty points which you could use towards other hotels. The hotel we stayed at is the Sirilanna Hotel.
When we arrive they won’t even let us touch our bags, sit us down in the beautiful lobby and bring us some chilled guava juice. (Yay! The welcome drinks are back… it’s been a few months since we’ve had a welcome drink!) After we filled out the paperwork they walked us up to our room, where our bags were already waiting for us. The hotel is beautiful. It only has 18 rooms (I think) and it kind of feels like you are living in someone’s (very beautiful) house. When we enter our room we are very thrilled. The room is gorgeous.
I took lots of pictures to show you, because we were very impressed with the room. There is a big comfortable bed, a nice balcony, floor to ceiling windows, a teak vaulted ceiling and a very big bathroom with a two person Jacuzzi tub and separate shower.
It’s nice to have a little luxury now and then 🙂 I am so glad we weren’t lured in by the super cheap hotels… Chiang Mai is clearly a place where your dollar (or baht) goes a LONG way!
After marveling at our room, we headed out for a little walk and some dinner. When we exited the front of the hotel it started pouring rain so we opted for the restaurant that was right across the street from the hotel 🙂
Since it was raining, we decided to just go back to our hotel and enjoy the room for the evening. At about 9:00 we heard the sound of fireworks. When we looked out the window we realized we would be able to watch the show from our window. It was, of course, beautiful. I LOVE fireworks! There would be a big set, which I would think was the grand finale… so I’d go sit down to watch TV with Steve… and then another round of fireworks would start. The fireworks actually went on for 45 minutes! It turns out, that this was not your typical firework display in Chiang Mai. It was a special event where a Japanese Firework Specialist and World Champion was hired to put on the show. It was a great welcome to Chiang Mai.
The next morning we headed down for breakfast not knowing what to expect. The breakfast experiences have been greatly varied over the last 8 months. We of course are usually happy no matter what… after all someone’s giving us breakfast 🙂 This breakfast is amazing. You get to choose from a menu, but it seems they will bring you everything if you want it. Once again, the service is very attentive.
While we are eating breakfast we talk to the very nice lady at the tour desk who gives us some great recommendations and has very good prices (compared to what we’ve already researched online). So we book a cooking class for tomorrow, and then a private car tour for Tuesday. The tour goes when we want and where we want (four places, rather than two) for the same price as a bus tour!
We decide to spend the day walking around and exploring Chiang Mai. It’s really hazy/smoky outside and I’m not really sure if it’s because of pollution or some other reason. Even though it’s not bright and sunny it is still very hot! Yesterday when we arrived it was about 34 degrees!
We walked around the perimeter of the old town. The old town is surrounded by a moat, and used to have a big wall around it. You can see remnants of the brick wall at certain points. We saw a lot of beautiful temples on our walk, but didn’t go in because we weren’t dressed appropriately (shorts have to cover the Ka-Nees, as a lady at our hotel told us) 🙂
After perhaps a little bit too much walking, we went back to the hotel to rest my silly broken toe. After a reasonable rest, we went out for lunch at a very pretty restaurant that ended up having great Pad Thai. I was wishing we had our camera with us to take pictures of the restaurant, as it was really very beautiful. Steve promised me we could come back to take pictures (and for the yummy food).
After lunch we decided to get a massage… the lure was just too strong I couldn’t resist. Steve got the foot massage, and I opted for the back, neck and shoulder massage. We tried to communicate with them not to touch my foot… but they didn’t seem to understand what we were saying, and it doesn’t matter what kind of massage you’re getting they always want to do a little on your feet. I managed to come out relatively unscathed. The massages were good, but definitely not the best we’ve had. If we decide to go for another one, we’ll try one of the other bajillion massage places around Chiang Mai 🙂
After lunch, we head back for another rest. Lucky our hotel is right in the thick of things… so it’s easy to go back for a rest 🙂
Later that night we head out to check out the Sunday Market. It starts around 5 PM. It ends up being on a street we walked on earlier in the day… you wouldn’t even recognize it as the same street. It was packed with vendors, food stalls and massage chairs. There are lots of Thai people in the market, and Steve predicts that if kids have any money for their weekly allowance that this is probably where they spend it. Stuff is really cheap! We don’t really see anything we want, but enjoy looking at the stuff and watching people.