Date: 19th November 2010
I arrived in Chiang Mai bus station at around 7am and took a taxi to get to Rux Thai Guesthouse which cost ฿80 (Rs. 118/$2.6/€1.8). Rux Thai is a place I stayed last year as well. It’s located just off Loi Kroh road, which is essentially Chiang Mai’s tourist-filled area with the Thapae Gate at one-end and Ping River at the other.
Since I was going to be spending 3 to 4 nights, they gave me a room I requested on the ground floor (because they don’t have a lift) for ฿450 as supposed to the rack rate of ฿490 (Rs. 700/$16/€11) — which includes Wi-Fi. No breakfast included, but they have a restaurant on the ground floor which offers a decent menu at reasonable prices.
American breakfast costs ฿90 (Rs.133/$3/€2)
After a hot shower, I took a nap as I barely got any sleep in the bus (as is the norm for me in any bus journey). I got up as it neared lunch time, unpacked and took out all the camera equipment I had bought.
Credit card abuse for 2010
Though I did test out the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens and the tripod before I purchased them, I didn’t get to play around with them as much as I wanted.
The tripod & ball head can easily handle the weight of the Canon 7D and the lens
My first shot with the Canon 70-200
I loaded the equipment into my backpack and left the room at around 2pm.
This is Loikroh Lane 1 Road
Other budget hotels on this lane are Centerplace Guesthouse, where you get single rooms starting from 200 baht onwards. Vipa House (the one with yellow board pictured above) is right next to Centerplace and is priced about the same as Rux Thai. (Maybe I should check out Vipa next time).
Though there was a cookery class near Rux Thai, I had already booked myself into another cooking class (which was one of the things I would be doing in Chiang Mai).
I crossed Loi Kroh road and walked pointlessly through the alleyways on the other side.
Lazing in the afternoon
Wat Saen Fang (‘wat’ is Thai for ‘temple’)
You can rent these
But the more sexy the bike looks, the more expensive they are to rent
I walked all the way around and got to Kotchasarn Road
I chose to eat lunch at the same cosy small eatery I ate at last year.
Run by a mother and daughter duo
It’s inexpensive and the food is good
Spicy prawns and calamari with rice, ฿40 (Rs. 60/$1.3/€1)
After lunch, I rented a moped from the travel agent in front of Vipa House and decided to go on a drive around Chiang Mai.
I highly doubt it
I parked on the other side to click a few photos
The poster (I’m guessing) was confirming that Loy Krathong celebrations were definitely November 20th to 22nd this year
Though, I did ask around to find out when exactly the release of the hundreds of lanterns at once was going to be. From research online, I did learn that the event was something that is held at some University grounds at a place called Mae Jo, but when I asked the people at Rux Thai, they weren’t sure about anything. (Communication is a bit of an issue in Thailand, despite how touristy this country is)
Chiang Mai gate
They had floats in the canals which children were riding and jumping off of
I got back on my bike and moved on
I planned to ride up Doi Suthep on the outskirts of the city, which wasn’t too far away. The route is quite simple really, plus I had done last year. Chiang Mai city isn’t as complex as say, Bangkok. As I got towards the road leading up to Doi Suthep hill, I stopped again to take photographs.
The name of this place? Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University (try saying that fast)
I wanted to drive up the hill as I loved the ride last year. I wasn’t planning to drive all the way up to the temple, just up until the last view point before the temple.
Stopped at a small temple on the way
There’s a small waterfall up here
Doi Suthep is very popular among speed cyclists
Bikers, cars, superbikes… you’ll see everybody enjoying the ride
This was my ride (฿200 for 24 hours)
It was starting to get dark
Panorama comprised of 10 shots
It was at this hairpin bend that the viewpoint was located.
You can’t actually see the sun set from this side
I set up the tripod because I knew I would be pitch dark soon.
It was a full moon
Shot at 200mm & cropped
As it neared 7pm, I packed up and left the viewpoint. I drove back down and this time, I took my jacket with me… because last year, I froze!
Once back in the city, I parked on the side when I saw some beautiful decorations in front of Saun Dok Gate .
I headed back to Loi Kroh road.
After parking the bike in front of the hotel, I stepped out again, this time choosing to go by foot.
Walked down Loi Kroh road
If you want your 5-star fix
At the end of Loi Kroh is Changklan road
Plenty of restaurants, hotels and stores here
I walked to Chiang Mai’s night bazaar
Plenty of good seafood restaurants here
The night market sells the usual gamut of clothing, accessories and home decor
I wasn’t hungry and wanted to know where all the major Yi Peng celebrations in Chiang Mai would be. I was told that the major gathering point would be along Ping River.
I walked away from the bustling crowds near the night market
I could already see lanterns in the sky
I ended up taking a turn back to a main road
To be frank, after 15 minutes of walking, I didn’t know where I was
Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & spa
Walked towards this big temple
I was bored of walking, so I went in
Devotees were slowly trickling in to the temple to float Krathongs
As I walked out, I saw a ‘roti’ vendor on the way out and decided to eat something as it was getting late.
‘Roti’ in Thailand is commonly referred to sweet pancake batter filled with banana and other fillings
As I walked back, I realized I took a much longer route as the temple itself was not to far from the night market.
I just needed to walk through the food court and come out the other end
I walked to the bridges over Ping River
Loi Krathong celebrations had already begun… for some
Firecrackers are very much a part of the celebrations
I went from one bridge to another
There are several bridges all along Ping River
Chiang Mai’s youth were all out to enjoy the festivities
Lined all along the streets snacking, singing and having a few beers with their friends
The banks of Ping river saw its share of revelers too
Moved to another bridge
No surprises there
Flowers, lots of flowers
The markets were still bustling at this time
Had to get down to ground level for a closer look
Switched to the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 lens for the next few shots
These are ‘krathongs’
The base is made using a thick slice of banana plant stem
The Frenchman in the above photo and I got talking, though I don’t remember how the conversation got started. Maybe I was wearing my ‘It’s Football, Not Soccer‘ t-shirt which has my website’s logo at the back and so he gave me his blog’s domain as well.
That is a *lot* of slain pigs
Paper lanterns on sale (prices ranges from ฿20 to ฿60 depending on size)
I called it a night after this and headed back to my room.
Can’t wait to see what the city has in store the next three days
I had my dinner from a rather nice joint on the same lane as Rux Thai. Lovely pork spring rolls and a can of beer (came to ฿200). I hit the sack early because I needed more sleep. Tomorrow was going to be any early morning, for I had to get ready to learn how to make Thai curry!
Next posts in this series:
Thailand 2010: Chiang Mai cooking class; Loi Krathong celebrations in Mae Jo, Sansai
Thailand 2010: Chiang Mai Loi Krathong celebrations; first Grand Parade
Thailand 2010: Chiang Mai Zoo (Day 4, Part 1)
Thailand 2010: Last day of Loi Krathong; Sunday Grand Parade (Day 4, Part 2)
Thailand 2010: Heading to Chiang Rai by bus, Wat Jedyod and Golden Clock Tower
Thailand 2010: Golden Triangle in Mae Sai; Chiang Rai’s White Temple (Wat Rong Khun)
Thailand 2010: Pattaya — Beach road, Viewpoint, Jomtien Beach, Walking Street
Thailand 2010: Back to Bangkok — Chinatown, Patpong, Platinum Mall and Chatuchak Market
Thailand 2010: Gurdwara Siri Guru Singh Sabha, Sampeng Market, JJ market (again)
Previous post in this series:
Thailand 2010: Arriving in Bangkok and preparing for Loi Krathong in Chiang Mai