Alright, I’m going to be a little biased here. I arrived to Chiang Mai when it is at its best, the New Year’s Festival called Songkran. If you’re in Thailand for this holiday, it is said that Chiang Mai is the place to be.
And I believe it.
The old city of Chiang Mai is surrounded by a moat. This moat is then used to refill countless and countless buckets and waterguns, which are then used to soak and re-soak every single person in the city. And I mean every single person. Businessmen, shopkeepers, mothers, infants, monks, even policemen are dripping water by 10 o’clock in the morning. I can’t imagine being anywhere else for this holiday!
It was an endless supply of water.
But more about the holiday later. I want to talk a little bit about the city. Or at least what I saw of it.
Most of the shops were closed. And by most, I mean at least 95% of them. Everyone was out “playing Songkran.” But I liked the way the city was structured. It was definitely walkable and I got to stroll down the Sunday Market (which was going on a Friday because of the massive amounts of people inundating the city, and I mean literally inundating) and was tempted to buy anything and everything once again.
It seemed like a pretty laid back place with a lot of character. My couchsurfing host showed me all of his favorite restaurants. And yes, he could only show me them, because their owners were out spraying people with hoses, but needless to say, I heard there were some good restaurants. And I’m sure there are a lot of great temples and museums to see there, but I was a little caught up.
So my first impressions of Chiang Mai are a little skewed. I thought the city was the greatest place on Earth, but I might have to revisit it away from all the mayhem.