Chang Mai is amazing, the people are lovely, it is full of culture and great food, its a decently big city and yet has a very small feel to it. We loved it.
We got there in the morning and spent around 1 hour finding a good deal on a room and ended up at Nats Guest House. Decent accommodations for a good price. We than went a gorged on food considering we hadnt eaten any real food in over 12 hours. After that we spent most of the day walking around the city and checking out some sites and of course, eating the entire time. We really enjoyed the city as it has lots of shops, restaurants and tons of interesting people to meet along the way. We signed up for a Thai cooking course for the next day and were very excited for it.
The next day we got up early and were picked up at our hostel. We went to the cooking location in the city but unfortunately someone had burned part of the kitchen days before so (blessing in disguise) we had to go and cook at their brand new location on their organic farm (which normally costs $20 extra per person). First we got a tour of the local thai market where they showed us how to pick the correct rice, freshest veggies, and gave us some time to walk around. Soon after, we hopped in a van for a 20 minute ride and arrived at a beautiful countryside organic farm. We took a tour and quickly got to cooking. We each got to pick 7 meals to make so Lila and I did the obvious and chose different meals so we could share 14. We learned to cook pad thai, pad seyou (sp?), spring rolls, papaya salad, sticky rice and mango, fried bananas, red curry, panang curry, and 2 types of soup among a few other things. It was an amazing experience and our teacher was amazing. He taught, helped, and was hilarious the whole day. Whenever he asked how spicy we wanted it, he would say "how sexy do you want it"... apparently in Thailand, the spicier, the sexier.
We finished our class, went for some food, witnessed an awful looking but not too bad car/motorbike crash that made lila lose her appetite for dinner, went for a couple of drinks and went to bed early because we had to get up early for our tour of the tallest mountain in Thailand... longest sentence ever? run on? maybe.
We got picked up in our luxury minibus and headed for our tour of don inthanon national park which contains don inthanon, the tallest peak in Thailand. We started at a gorgeous waterfall in the park where our guide told us about a closed path to the top of the falls. it was closed because a drunk Thai man slipped on some rocks and went straight down the falls... and i can assume it didn't end well since its about a 100 foot drop straight down.. from there we visited a tribal village and toured their farm and watch them hand making scarves. After this we saw another gorgeous waterfall and went to lunch which was included in the tour. We got SOOO much food- soup, fried veggies, curry, rice, and fruit. We got our own separate food from the group since we are vegetarian and could hardly finish. After lunch we headed to the top of don inthanon and the view was... well, cloudy. Very cloudy. I guess it typically has an amazing view but we were literally in the clouds and could see nothing further than 20 feet away. Fortunately it was one of the most beautiful places weve been. The forest was protected and has never been touched and it was amazingly gorgeous, cant wait to show you pictures! We took a 45 minute tour around the area and headed to another village and the king and queen pagodas which were erected to give the king, queen, and country of thailand good luck... they were gorgeous from what we could see through the fog. The tour ended up being better than we could have thought and we thanked our guide profusely. We got dropped off at the market where we bought the 3 levels of spanish rosetta stone for not $1000 dollars, not $500... but $5. Thanks Thailand for not having copyright laws. We bought this in a mall, not the street, but a legitimate mall. Beautiful.
We stumbled our hungry selves through the rain to a mexican place where we gorged since we had waited so long for dinenr. Afterwards the weather was awful so we bought the movie "Happy, Thank You, More Please" on lilas iphone and watched it before bed.
We got up the next morning and hopped on our bus to Pai, which was 3 hours later than expected. This bus ride was different than all the others in one particular way. It went 50 km faster than all the other buses. 125km/hr was a speed we saw a decent amount... which isnt good when you are driving through small country winding roads.
Lila almost puked... Close one.
We arrived in Pai and kissed the ground and were so happy to be alive. With a group of new friends we met on the bus we headed out to search for a new home.
Tonight is our last night in Pai and we are going out for a drink with our friends before we head south to krabi tomorrow for tons of climbing and beach time!
We had an amazing time here touring waterfalls and taking a 2 day rafting trip which was one of the highlights of our trip.. more to come on all our adventures here soon!
Hope you are all doing well, this trip is going too fast but were having such a great time.
With love from Pai,