Because it is much further north, the weather is cooler and not as humid which was a welcome change after the brutal heat in Cambodia.
We stayed in a charming hotel called Raeming Lodge. Located near one of the gates to the old city, it was within walking distance of many of the city's attractions.
The hotel surrounded an atrium that featured gardens, water displays and a seating area for the restaurant that was attached to the hotel.
The entry to our room had a set up we haven't seen before. First we had to enter through these double doors...
...which then took us into a small entry and up to the door to the room. I kept thinking this must have been what it was like in the old days when there were walls and gates surrounding the city.
We booked a suite for this trip and the extra room was something we really appreciated.
View of Chiang Mai from our balcony:
After settling in a bit, we took a walk around the neighborhood.
As a jewelry designer, I was very excited to see that there was a Hill Tribes silver store next door to our hotel! Hill Tribes silver is renowned in the jewelry world for the skill and beauty found in the beads and components that the hill people produce.
I spent more than I had budgeted for this stash, but no regrets except I wish I could have bought more!
Part of the moat that once protected the old city; it is now a gathering place for people to feed the pigeons, sit and watch the world go by or to visit with friends:
Our walk found us at one of the gates that guarded the old part of Chiang Mai. Built nearly 700 years ago, the old city was a square surrounded by a wall, which has massive gates on all four sides, and was further protected by a moat (pictured above). Tha Pae gate is on the eastern side, faces the river Ping and was the main gate into the city. The other gates are Chiang Mai Gate to the south, Suan Dok to the west and Chiang Puerk to the north. The moat today, which once kept raiding invaders out, is now an attraction with spraying fountains which are lit up at night.
When shutting the gates these large wheels follow the track until the gates are securely closed.
After completing our walking tour of day one in Chiang Mai, it was time to return to our hotel and get ready for dinner. I was not expecting to see such a beautiful sunset from our little balcony. It was something we came to enjoy and look forward to during our time in this charming city.
The following morning we continued our exploration of Chiang Mai starting with breakfast. Fresh squeezed orange juice started the meal. Have you ever seen such orange orange juice? We think it must have to do with the type of orange grown here.
Chicken noodle soup Thai style - it was hearty and delicious!
Our walk took us along the Mai Ping River which runs through the city and provides much of the countryside with water for rice patties, gardens and crops. It is known as the Lifeline of the Province.
We had dinner at one of the many restaurants along the river and on our way back stopped at the famous Bus Bar. This is an old double decker bus that has been converted; the bus is not functional except for holding band equipment. It is more of a landmark for the location which has outside seating next to the river.
After leaving the Bus Bar, we stopped at the night market on our way back to the hotel. It is a huge street market like many others found in Asia. What made this one special to me was that, unlike so many of the markets that carry mostly t-shirts and cheap souvenirs, this one had many vendors producing and selling native and local arts and crafts. At several of the booths, we were able to watch the craftspeople creating their items which was very interesting and enjoyable to see.
Chaing Mai at dusk...
...and another spectacular sunset from our balcony.
Next stop - a trip to the Elephant Nature Park that rescues injured, abused and neglected elephants who will live out the rest of their days at this sanctuary receiving the best of care and attention. The park is about an hour north of Chiang Mai. Stay tuned!