Chiang Mai

We had some time before our afternoon flight to Chiang Mai on Tuesday, so we had another crack at visiting Wat Saket, theTemple of the Golden Mount. We checked out of our hotel and took our bags with us – one of the nice things about travelling light is that we can just take everything with us not leave it in hotels and have to collect it later. We hopped on another canal boat down to the Wat, but I wasn’t feeling very energetic so stayed with the bags while Greg walked to the top. He said it was ‘good’, but wasn’t enthusiastic enough to make me feel like I should do it.  Back on another canal boat to the Skytrain line that connects with the Airport rail line. There’s a quirky restaurant called Hungry Nerds near Ratchathewi station. They serve salads, grilled meats, chips and all the wait-staff wear over-sized glasses. That confused me for a while because I kept thinking every waitress was ‘ours’ until I realised they were all bespectacled!

The airport train was very easy and it took far less time and cost a fraction of the taxi we caught when we arrived in Bkk. Lesson learnt – next time catch the train! We had allowed ourselves several hours, which meant a long wait at the airport, but rather that than miss a plane! The VietJet flight was fine and we used Grab again to get us to our apartment.

We’re staying in a 1-bedroom apartment in the Astra Condo complex, a very modern 2-building, 16-floor, 589 unit project that only opened last year. There are at least 3 floors of car parking and 2 of them are still being completed. We’re on the 6th floor and there’s a pool, gym, sauna and steam room on the 16th floor. The Shangri-La Hotel is next door. We found this place on Airbnb and you can see photos and more about it here

The apartment has a kitchen and washing machine, but while I may have had intentions of cooking here, the most I’ve done is pour yoghurt over my morning muesli! There are so many great food choices here that struggling with a small saucepan, tiny frypan and very few utensils seems pointless. The washing machine is handy though.

We haven’t done anything super-exciting in the 3 days we’ve been here. Walked a lot, eaten a lot, swum in the pool. There’s a (push)bike sharing scheme here and Greg took one for a spin a couple of days ago. Sam & Brianna gave us some recommendations – we couldn’t find the original Roti stall on Wednesday evening, but found one in the night bazaar. Yesterday we walked a 7km round trip to SP Chicken in Old Chiang Mai for rotisserie chicken, green papaya salad, stir fried vegies & rice and it was delicious. Last night we went back to the Night Bazaar to an outdoor food court full of stands offering what I think of as ‘the next generation of street food’ –  Greg had a burger and ‘handcut fries’ which were slices rather than chips … so they could be shallow-fried in a wok rather than deep-fried. I had steamed prawn dumplings and a steamed bun filled with marinated chicken, with a coconut drink made of young coconut flesh, coconut water, coconut milk and ice. It was all delicious and I’m sure we’ll go back there again and try something different next time.

I like to follow fashion – not clothes, makeup, jewellery or interior design – and probably maybe more accurately termed ‘food fads’. In the Western world, it’s all about fermenting at the moment … sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables, sourdough breads, yoghurt and other fermented dairy products and fermented drinks including kefir and kombucha. It’s not a ‘thing’ in Thailand at all – here they are putting ‘fibre’ and ‘collagen’ in everything from drinks to foods to skincare products. But wait! Yesterday on our walk back from SP Chicken, we detoured to have a look at the An Teak Hotel, where Sam and Brianna like to stay when they’re in Chiang Mai. And what did we see advertised at the hotel’s cafe but Kombucha! Unfortunately the cafe was closed so we couldn’t try some, but the truly delicious irony here is that Sam works for Mojo, a Willunga-based company that makes Kombucha!

Traveling light with 2 x 7kg bags
astra condos
the Astra condos
the roof pool on the astra
Shared Mobike for riding around Chiang Mai

Getting Roti from a street seller in the Chiang Mai night markets


SP Chicken
the whole chicken meal at SP Chicken
Dumplings at Ploen Ruedee food market
Kombucha at the restaurant of Ann-teak

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