Chiang Mai

We had plans to sightsee in Chiang Mai today. We had breakfast. I saw a mouse dart from under one table to another. That was it for me eating at our hotel. We got dressed and tried to hail a tuk tuk outside of our hotel. We went through three drivers before we haggled a decent price to the mountain temple and a few other temples. Quick note: Denali told me later this was actually the tuk tuk driver we had the night before that over charged us for a ride to the night bazaar. I was under the impression we were going to visit the mountain temple, Doi Suthep, first. But I was wrong. That should have been my first clue. First we stopped at the silver temple. Come to find out I cannot go inside, no women allowed. But from what I can glimpse, the inside is more beautiful that the outside. Denali went inside and took pictures for me. The silverwork was incredible inside and out.

We went to several other temples, two on our list, the others were not. Our driver kept passing a huge temple but he couldn’t find the foreigner entrance, so he gave up and drove to another temple.

We approached a mediocre temple and at this point we just wanted to go to Doi Suthep. So we told the driver and we started up the mountain. We got half way up the mountain and stopped at a check point. We waited for a few minutes. Our driver came back and said tuk tuks can’t go up. Which he should have known, another clue. So he tried to find us a bigger tuk tuk that was allowed up. They were a big red truck. The first man our driver found was 300 baht. Our driver said that would be on top of what we were going to pay him for the day. I said absolutely not. We weren’t paying him his full price because he said he could take us up the mountain and that’s not what he was doing. He got mad and tried to haggle but in the end he looked for a cheaper ride. It took him a while to understand we weren’t paying him the full price. He took us to a communal red truck that would take us up and back for 80 baht a person. We say ok but he wasn’t getting 190 baht plus whatever it cost to get home from the red truck stop. He was livid. But I wasn’t having it. Eventually we came to a price which I then lowered to the nearest hundred for wasting our time. He was so irate but he took the money and left. Then we waited for more people to show up. The red truck needs ten people and only eight were waiting. So we waited. I was even more livid when I realized the driver didn’t take us to two of the temples that were on my list.
Two more people arrived and we were herded into the truck, only to wait some more. For no good reason. They squeeze ten people in the back and two in the front seat, next to the driver. We drove half way up the mountain and then the driver stopped the truck and asked everyone to pay for the ride up. It was so weird. Five minutes later we arrived at Doi Suthep. We grabbed some water from local sellers and made out made our up the stairs to the first gate.

Then we tackled the 300+ stairs to the top. That was a challenge but the railings were two giant tiled dragons so they distracted me. We made it up to the top and drank a bunch of water. Took off our shoes and walked up more steps into main courtyard. It was glorious and gold. People were everywhere and it was hot.

We walked around and found a shady spot to people watch. Then we got some ice cream and made the trek back down. We realized how much cooler it was in the mountains as we drove back down into the town.

We were dropped off at the night market location. It was so different in the day. Every day they put up and take down the stalls for the sellers. At this point, people were putting the stalls back together. Denali chose the lunch place again. He chose an American style restaurant, again. The food was good and so were the drinks.

The owner was there and was giving an interview to a magazine about his restaurant and his inspirations. It was interesting to hear until they started taking pictures and it was annoying because we were trying to eat. We got a tuk tuk to our hotel and just relaxed.

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