Photo of the day: Khao Soi @ ข้าวซอยแม่สาย. Photo credit: Aaron.

We arrived at Chiang Mai at around 10am, which is more than one hour after its scheduled time but that’s ok with us since our check-in time for the Airbnb is after 10am anyway. We, by default, called an Uber but there wasn’t a shortage of taxis or songthaews wanting our business. The Ubers here operate differently than Bangkok, where the price to a trip are predetermined before the trip starts so you won’t have to worry about traffic or the driving taking long detours causing your costs to go up unexpectedly. That way I can truly just enjoy the ride. 

The hotels during this trip have been lovely but it was so nice to finally stay in a condo again and have more of a living space. We are staying in the Ninman area, slightly outside the old city, and apparently the chic part of town. One can easily appreciate the huge contrast here from the bustling Yaowarat of Bangkok. The weather is also a little cooler. After washing up and finally having the chance to upload a blog post, we were off to get some lunch. Aaron found a place close by (ข้าวซอยแม่สาย) for some good Khao Soi! On the way there we saw numerous nice cafes and condo buildings. I ordered the chicken (Gai) Khao Soi whereas Aaron had the pork one (Moo). Foursquare did not disappoint this time as it was delicious! I cannot get over the creamy curry combined with the crunchy and soft egg noodles. The chicken drumstick was also very tasty! I quickly finished my bowl and asked Aaron if he wanted another bowl. So we ordered another bowl to split between the two of us! It was a great start to our stay in Chiang Mai. 

We walked around some more and found an exchange place which did cash advances without a fee! This was a great alternative to taking out money from an ATM which would normally charge a 200 baht (~$8) fee per transaction, which we’ve been avoiding like the plague. So this is definitely the cheapest way to get money here in Thailand. Look for one of these exchange places likely connected to a bank. Don’t forget your original passport though! Photocopies are not sufficient.

We then went to a coffee shop called Ombra Cafe to do some trip planning for our time here in Chiang Mai. We narrowed it down to a few things and started shooting off emails. Aaron really wanted to visit an elephant sanctuary but the ones which actually treated the elephants ethically were all booked up. As a matter of fact, they were booked up till March or April! Some people even booked 18 months in advance to secure a spot! I guess we will have to wait till next time! We did manage to book a few other things though, but these we will talk about in the days to come! 

Thai Milk Tea @ Ombra Cafe.
Thai Milk Tea @ Ombra Cafe.

I then went home to rest while Aaron went to get some cash and picked up some groceries. Apparently the area in front of Huay Kaew Place turns into a food market at night! We already had dinner plans though but maybe we will go back another night to check out the street food.

For dinner, we wanted to go to Huen Phen in the old city, as recommended by Mark Wiens. It was a nice sit down restaurant with apparently good local food. When we arrived there was already a long line up but it moved quite quickly. We ordered the Northern Thai sausages, ribs, chicken curry, and young jackfruit salad. Overall, I was underwhelmed with the food here. The sausages felt dry (but maybe that’s a thing here since it was the same with the sausages I had the other day with my curry in Bangkok), the ribs were unremarkable, the curry was actually a watery soup (we even confirmed with our server and he said it is the curry) and the young jackfruit salad was tasty but not memorable. We originally planned to watch a movie but it was getting late and I wasn’t feeling too well, so that brings us to the end of our first day in Chiang Mai. 

“Chicken curry” ? @ Huen Phen. Photo credit: Aaron.
Ribs @ Huen Phen. Photo credit: Aaron.
Ribs @ Huen Phen. Photo credit: Aaron.
Northern Thai sausages @ Huen Phen. Photo credit: Aaron.
Northern Thai sausages @ Huen Phen. Photo credit: Aaron.
Young jackfruit salad @ Huen Phen. Photo credit: Aaron.
Young jackfruit salad @ Huen Phen. Photo credit: Aaron.

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