Escape to Chiang Mai

Travelling in times of covid is tricky as you’ll know if you have been abroad in the last 12 months. Thailand is not easy at the best of times. It took a full day of booking flights and insurance before you could apply for a visa and permission to travel. Booked tests in the UK and hotel for quarantine in Bangkok. Lots of paperwork to do but not impossible

We flew to Doha and then to Bangkok. Getting off the plane the heat haze bounced off the concrete prickling the skin. Different aromas and food smells pervading our nostrils, my tastebuds were twitching in eager anticipation. We’ve arrived. You have to wear a mask everywhere now, it’s still the ‘land of smiles’ but now ‘smiley eyes’ Even the customs guy said ‘welcome’ We were picked up and taken to our quarantine hotel. The traffic in Bangkok is really crazy like a 70’s video game glad I wasn’t driving..we passed the PCR test and stayed in a nice hotel.

The high rise hotel on the right has a swimming pool sticking out of the side, aargh

We jumped on the sky train the next day to the airport and back to Chiang Mai. Woo hoo.

Little has changed in our small Thai village, things here are fluid anyway but luckily all our favourite places and friends have survived. First things first, iced coffee and food glorious food.

Curry puffs, yum. Filled with chicken or taro. Flaky pastry to die for 20p
Beef khao soy. Soft and crispy noodles succulent beef spicy soup with pickled veggies on the side 90p
Tom yam soup. Egg noodles, bean sprouts and chicken or crispy pork. Heavenly

Hotels and condos are all much cheaper some 50% less than they were 2 years ago but that will change as it gets busier. Our hotel is now £125 a month, free coffee and bananas, linen changed and room cleaned weekly. The only problem was a new steak restaurant had opened and they thought that angle grinding, welding and hitting metal at 2-4 in the morning was ok as they were moving in. They are also part of a band who also practiced from 2-5am and they got very drunk and very loud. We decided we couldn’t stay any longer. The owners were devastated as we were but no one would say anything to them. It’s the Thai way, they don’t like or do confrontation so sadly we had no choice, we hadn’t slept properly for 10 days and I was starting to get into full on killer mode! On the plus side we moved to the other side of the village and are now in 3* luxury and exploring new places. It’s £56 a week, not quite blown the budget…

View of Doi Suthep from our balcony

We have rented a new motorbike it works out at £2.25 a day we bought new helmets as the ones the rental company supplied fitted like a bucket on a stick! Now we’re ready to rumble.

Wat Umong, just 10 minutes out of the city, dates back to the 13th Century and consists of a range of old ruins, meditation tunnels and a large unpainted stupa. The temple complex also has a monastery so there are always monks walking almost gliding around, circling the stupa in prayer. It’s the most peaceful and tranquil of places, with a huge shimmering lake set in a forest full of chirruping birds and wildlife. Bliss.

Catfish in the lake, a bit freaky!

We have walked the monks trail to our favourite forest temple half way up the mountain, Doi Suthep which overlooks the city, it’s called Wat Palad. It takes about an hour to walk up. When we first found the ‘secret’ temple 8 years ago it was slightly rundown and overgrown and lovely for it. It’s now had a lot of work done and for me it’s losing its charm. As we were leaving about 8 tour buses arrived, can’t really call it the ‘secret temple’ anymore…things change, progress apparently!

Monk’s trail path
These statues at the entrance have vanished off site

The walking markets are quiet, great for us but not the stall holders.

Also visited Jing Jai farmers market.

The temple we visit in the mountains is completed and looks fabulous.

We have done our favourite tour on the motorbike drinking in the Thai sounds and life just cruising around the mountain. We bought sweet oranges off the roadside vendors 60p a kilo which are now in season and we are absolutely delighted to be back.

Happy New Year or as they would say here ‘sawadee pe mi’ 🙏

6 thoughts on “Escape to Chiang Mai

  1. Thank god you are sending these again ….have the time of your lives . You are missing nothing here ,it’s broken . Hugs 🤗 for your journey xxx

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Great to hear things are going well and thanks for sharing your travels it’s very up lifting. Keep the blogs coming please and take care.

    Sandra xx


  3. Wonderful photos and great blog, as always – it’s such a colourful place. We’re enjoying your holiday from our armchairs – feeling the warmth, imagining the aroma’s from all that lovely food and the peace surrounding the temples (although i did put earplugs in with all the noise coming from your first hotel – I’m surprised you lasted 10 days! lol). Looking forward to hearing and seeing more. Take care, enjoy xx

    Liked by 1 person

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