Chiang Mai is Wonderful


Playing with Pidgeons
Originally uploaded by inqurious
We arrived in Chiang Mai, the center of the mountainous northern region of Thailand, and found it a much calmer and charming place than expected. The city is full of little lanes and pretty houses. There was a law passed that restricted the height of the buildings within a certain proximity to the old city center (surrounded by a moat), and it keeps the place feeling like a nice mountain town.

As with a lot of Thailand now, the low season is here for tourism so we mostly see empty bars and guesthouses wherever we go. It almost makes one feel a little sad. But I came from a seasonal resort town, and I can understand the boom-and-bust feel of this kind of economy.

We also met some genuinely friendly and chatty locals yesterday evening. We went out to the night market and tried some local wines (really interesting stuff -- I'm bringing back some ginseng wine). The woman running the shop sat down and chatted with us as we had our glasses. Pretty soon her sister came over and we were chatting about where in Chiang Mai we had made it to, showing photos we had taken, and getting recommendations. They were a wonderful couple of women, and not a scam in sight.

Chiang Mai is far more interesting than Bangkok so far, and it's not until tomorrow that the fun is supposed to start when we go zip-lining through the jungle and then whitewater rafting the day after.

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