The sun is still shining in Chiang Mai!

DAY 3 (14.01.17)
I was so excited for today as we were heading out of the old city and into the near by national park to see the famous hill top temple: Doi Suthep. Louise, myself and three other girls ( all of whom we met the night before in the hostel bar…cliché, we know🙄) walked to catch a red truck up the mountain. After my first experience bartering we were all sat in the back of the red truck proud of the deal we had bagged ourselves and excited with what we were going to see. The drive to the top took around 30 minutes, 80% of which was windy mountain driving (those with less hardy stomachs may not have faired so well). Once at the top we were faced with a huge set of stairs leading up to the main temple. The stair case was decorated with ornate dragon statues and pretty patterned tiles in green, gold and white. We climbed up the stairs and hunted for a map so we could navigate the temple. This is when one of our three new friends showed me a photo and said “This is the temple I really want to see!”. However, because I’d done some prior research, I recognised the temple and had to break the news to her that we weren’t going to see that temple. The temple they thought they were coming to see was another 2 hours away!!! They sucked up the bad news and we continued on. Inside the temple was a huge, all gold centre piece surrounded by other, similarly all gold smaller statues. Many people were walking in circles around the centre piece as a sort of pilgrimage. Not only was the temple stunning but the views out over Chiang Mai were gorgeous. We could see across the whole of the city, framed by the pure blue sky.

After we had finished seeing what the temple and its surroundings had to offer, we were keen to make our way to a waterfall I had also read about. Communicating our desire to see a waterfall proved difficult, so I again negotiated with a kind Thai man to be our translator, a few minutes later all five of us were on our way down the mountain to the water fall. At the entrance to the waterfall we had another round of, this time, full team bartering which meant we all entered the park as “children”. This was a push as we were all over 18, two of whom were 25! We hiked the 3km up hill where we found a map and sign. The map seemed to show the only route to the waterfall was through the forest, and we were so keen to see it that we laced up our shoes, applied ample bug spray and set off. The scenery throughout the hike was stunning, information signs showed us types of vanilla and vine we’d never seen before, all of which were fascinating. Sections of the path were obstructed by trees or made more difficult by super steep sets of stairs. The sign at the bottom did however warn that the trail wasn’t for the elderly or those with injuries. We walked for an hour and finally we reached the water fall! It was stunning, the fresh water was dropping down into a shallow pool, deep enough to paddle but never above knee height. We cooled off and relaxed for some time as it was so stunning and different to anything we had seen in the city!

We were back in the city by 4pm and we had not eaten anything so we were hunting for a place to eat. We found a small place where all the food was freshly cooked so we filled our bellies and quenched our thirsts before heading back to the hostel for a chilled night in.

DAY 4 (15.01.17)
Louise and I had a much needed lazy day. We woke up naturally and headed straight to the park. We relaxed in the sun and took in the surroundings. Our new friends joined us at the park but they had to catch a bus so we said our goodbyes before heading out to grab some lunch. We went to a cafe called Reform Kafe, serving vegetarian and vegan food. It was so calm there and even had a pool to cool my feet off in. The laid back nature of the staff here meant we were able to sit for a couple of hours which was nice, it meant we could relax and enjoy the peace.

Every Sunday night there is market on the main road in Chiang Mai, so naturally we were keen to head there for the evening. From people we had spoken to we gathered that the market got really busy later on so we opted for going earlier and therefore being able to move freely (well relatively freely anyway..!). Stalls lined the street selling hand made goods, street food and clothing. Some of the stalls were very similar so you had to keep an eye out for the price to ensure you got the best deal. That being said we only bought some dried mango, a waffle and a cheap pair of sandals but it’s more about the atmosphere right?! We scoped out as many stalls as we could handle before heading home to prep our things ready to head to the Elephant Nature Park the next day.

Our last days in Chiang Mai were amazing, we loved it and can’t wait to spend a w more nights here after the Elephant Nature Park!

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