Thursday, January 28th, 2016
We scoped the room as we ate our free breakfast of eggs, toast and noodles with the other hotel patrons, and we were quick to realize that we were the only Caucasians in the room. Given Thailand’s reputation for being touristy, I took this as a good sign. We booked another night, but would have to switch rooms, so we ditched our luggage in the lobby before exploring Chiang Mai’s Nimman district.
The heat is real in Thailand! That’s saying something when we’re actually in the north where it’s supposed to have cooler temperatures. I was starting to question if 30 was too early for menopause to kick in with all these hot flashes. Otherwise, the Nimman neighborhood was a fun place to be. There were a lot of weird and goofy statues along the sidewalk and the businesses were just beginning to open up for the day.
After reading about it in an article on the plane, I was on a mission. I was in search of a cat cafe! I thought I had found one with a giant cat statue out front called the “Lo-Cal Cafe.” It wasn’t a cat cafe, however it had the best damn iced green tea ever!
We had some bathroom adventures along the way. The cafe we visited, as well as several other businesses nearby had bathrooms available, but you had to locate it in the smaller building in the back. Also, the toilet paper was located by the sink, instead of in the stalls.
Our arms would slowly get bruised during our trip. We’d notice all throughout Southeast Asia that there were a lot of classic Volkswagen Beetles, or “Punch Buggies,” as I called them growing up. Trevor usually found them first. Lucky me.
Eventually we’d locate the cat cafe, “Catmosphere” and I was overjoyed! Sadly, most of the cats were busy napping during our visit, but it brought a smile to this crazy cat lady’s face nonetheless.
We’d turn around to return to the Nimman neighborhood and we’d end up making another bathroom break. Once again, the game was to locate the restrooms. We wandered around a shopping mall until we found one. When I got there, there wasn’t any toilet paper. I awkwardly asked locals as they walked in and out if they had any, and one lady was kind enough to hand me some from her purse. Thai people are beyond friendly!
There are many temples (or wats) in Thailand, but our first one was called Wat Phrasingh where I’d get schooled by a billboard on Buddha etiquette; for example:
- It’s disrespectful to buy a buddha head or any merchandise with his image (including tattoos).
- Any image or symbol of Buddha must be placed higher than the waist and should not be used strictly for decoration.
We got our second taste of Thai heat when we grabbed curry at “The Drunken Noodle”. Despite the name, we wouldn’t be drinking any beer as of yet. No alcohol is allowed to be served until 5 pm.
After swapping hotel rooms, and once it was appropriately timed, we’d head back out to get a beer at Kamrai Shop, a beer and wine store where you can purchase your alcohol of choice, then enjoy it on the patio as you people watch. The bars and restaurants were finally opening up for the evening, so we went to “OMG!! 2 Nimman Chiang Mai”. I’d enjoy a Mai Thai as I sang 90’s hits and watched a young waitress evidently pining over some douchebag at the bar.
Finding vegetarian food wasn’t as easy as we expected, but we were stoked to stumble across “The Salad Concept” which had an amazing build-your-own option for salads and wraps. Delicious!
We had been walking around all day, so we decided to get a nightcap at “Year Garage” for more people watching and some modern Thai tunes. So far, Chiang Mai seems like a super livable city.
Jump Back to Part 1: Mumbai to Chiang Mai
Jump Ahead to Part 3: Bird People, 7-11’s & Massaman Curry