There is an enthusiastic and growing coffee culture in Chiang Mai. It wasn’t always this way. I was told it had started years ago, when a large number of farmers in the region switched over to coffee as a cash crop instead of poppies. Also, the laid-back atmosphere of the city lends itself well to sitting around sipping a cup of coffee in a café. The large number of foreign tourists and expats probably helps a lot too.
I’d often start my day at one of the many local coffee shops you can find all over town. I must say they make a pretty good cup of joe.
Having had my fill of temples from the first few days of sightseeing, I decided to visit the Chiang Mai Historical Museum as a change of pace.
The museum is fairly small and you can get through it in 30 minutes. It covers the history of the region all the way back to the Lanna Kingdom. Lanna was one of four main Kingdoms that would eventually unify to form the Kingdom of Siam, the predecessor to modern day Thailand. It wasn’t until 1932 that the name was officially changed to Thailand.
The museum sits on an old section of the city wall which you can look at on the ground floor of the building. It was an interesting tour and I learned a few things, but not something that would make it to the top of any must see list.
I stop for a meal at a great little Thai restaurant near my hotel that had become my go to place for dinner. The food was good and the prices were cheap. I’d get a meal and a big beer for around $6 USD.
Khao Soi is the local and most famous dish in Chiang Mai. It is a coconut milk based curry with chicken and two types of noodles. I gave it a try and though I wasn’t quite sure how to tackle the crispy noodles sticking out of the bowl, I managed and thought it was quite delicious. Penang curry is still my favorite, but this was really good.
I need to get some laundry done and the hotel recommends the place next door. I’m a little confused at first as the shop next door rents motorbikes and sells tours. Apparently, they do laundry too. I drop off my clothes to be picked up the next day, washed, ironed, and folded all for $7 USD. I love Thailand.
I spend the rest of the day walking around the city taking in the local scene.
It’s a common sight to see monks of various ages walking around town. Most Thai’s will spend some time during their life living in a temple as a monk. Some do it for just a short while, others years, and some devote their whole life to it. There doesn’t seem to be an age restriction as you will even see children in monks robes and shaved heads walking around town.
I stop to take a few photos of the moats surrounding the city and the small wooden pedestrian bridges that cross over them.