We very quickly came to enjoy our time in Thailand. Even though the Chiang Mai Metropolitan area has a population of close 1 million people it has a slower more appealing pace than what we initially thought we would experience. The people are so polite and respectful and always have a smile on, you can’t help but be happy.
Things are so inexpensive we were able to enjoy many classes that we might not have done if the price was higher. Whenever you approach a place (business, market, etc) the people are always smiling and so happy to have you there. The prices are great so you want to stay. We had the kids teeth cleaned – it was too booked for Steve and I. We also took a painting class from a wonderful artist in town. It was so much fun – we went 2 different days for an hour and a half. I don’t really see a future for any of us but it was a great, relaxing way to spend some time. We also had our share of massages. Massage is a huge part of Thai culture, everywhere you go people are getting massages. We took advantage of this on our first day in town and throughout our time there. Such an amazing luxury for such a great price, we couldn’t resist.
Something you often hear about in Asia but is hard to comprehend is the transportation. Throughout Chiang Mai there are loads of motorcycles, scooters filled with people and families – it’s not strange to find a family of 4 or more people on one scooter. We relied mostly on tuk-tuk’s and songthaews to get us around town. Our hotel was a bit out of the center of town and we usually paid about $3-$5 USD to get all 4 of us across town. The vehicles are called tuk-tuk’s because of the sound their motor makes. They are basically a motorcycle with a back seat that fits all 4 of us. Sonthaews are red pickup trucks with 2 rows in the back that are basically a shared taxi. Our first tuk tuk ride was a great experience – our hair in the wind driving through the city. By the end we were always looking for closed taxi’s. The amount of pollution in the air is a huge challenge and waiting at the stoplights is just miserable. Steve got to be an expert at haggling with the drivers – you can never take their first price – Steve hates haggling and often would get the price down and then when we would get off he would give them the original price they asked for. He’d say to me – “you don’t think that was worth another 65 more cents?”