I managed to sleep on the train for a few hours, but the motion and noise meant that everyone arrived at Chiang Mai at 8.30am a bit ragged. Fortunately, our rooms at the People Place Hotel were ready and we were able to shower, rest and get some breakfast straight away. Harold and I had a fried rice with egg – aka nasi goreng in Malay.
The Warorot Market, Chiang Mai’s main market for locals, was terrific. Pork is a focus of the food here (not so much in Kanchanaburi) and the spicy pork sausage (sai ua) was a revelation. A lady selling sweet dumplings chatted with me – she spends a lot of time in Adelaide.
Lunch of khnom jeen noodles, hand-made rice noodles served in a selection of colours.
Soon organised and guided most of us to Wat That Doi Suthep, situated on the mountain overlooking the city. We visited in the evening, climbing 306 steps from the car park to the temple – to hear the monks’ nightly chanting. This was an optional activity and a sign of Soon’s passion and commitment to her guiding role. She said that if we didn’t visit this site we had not truly been to Chiang Mai.
Back in town she took us for dinner to a restaurant in the centre of the old city. While a Thai restaurant in all senses of the term, the cooking was textbook Cantonese and a pleasant break from the constant spice of true Thai food. Red Chinese lanterns hanging outside the restaurant were a clear giveaway to its nature.