I HEART CHIANGMAI

This part follows my adventure in Krabi as mentioned in the previous post. I always call Chiangmai -Pra-ted Chiangmai (Country Chiangmai) as I have fallen in love with her charm since I was a little girl. I went to college there. I met my husband there. It is just simply the most romantic place one earth in my opinion. Thus, I think it’s about time that I write something nice about this place I call home.

I chose to be in Chiangmai during Songkarn (Thai New Year) when I was back in Thailand this time. Seriously, where else in Thailand would you rather be, if not Chiangmai. We pretty much christened the whole festival. I stayed at Ob-oon Homestay this time and it didn’t disappoint me. The place was artsy, unique, and warm as the name of the place suggests. The owners made my mom and I some rice porridge for breakfast (yes, after we went out for a walk and Goldilocks came in, get the joke?) and it was just right. The place was featured in the Thai version of Architectural Digest, Baanlaesuan, so you know that it’s pretty. Just saying.

Ob-oon

My mama bear and her porridge

Mama bear

Before I went to stay at Ob-oon, I also stayed at Nimman Resort. The place is extremely affordable (I paid 600 B/night on Agoda) and it was close to the hip and happening area in Chiangmai–Nimman Road or its complete name is Nimmanhaymin Road. There are gazillion of coffee shops in the area, so I guess walk around to your heart content. What I fall in love with is the two bookstores: The Booksmith and Totell bookstore. They are across the street from each other, so I recommend go to both places to get the taste of Thai literary circle. Yes, Thai people do have writing system and the language was invented in 1292. Having taught Thai to many foreigners for the past 8 years and having lived in the US for over 10 years, I do occasionally come across people who believe Thai people speak Chinese.

booksmithPhoto Credit: Booksmith Facebook page

Now one thing about Nimmanhaymin area, you need money to be there. I felt a bit like I was in New York when I was in the area. Perhaps, Nimman will be equivalent to Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Another area that is worth visiting is next to the Ping river around Naowarat bridge. I will not bore you with the usual Riverside restaurant or Goodview pub. My friend took me to this place Ran Khang Rhong Nang (ร้านข้างโรงหนัง), which served this following mouth savoring dishes.

chiangmai food

khang rhong nang

If you don’t get the decor there, it’s a retro style. All the merchandises in the store were antique.

Wawee coffeeWawee coffee next to the Ping river

I guess Chiangmai feels like home to me so I don’t feel like I took many pictures there. Anyway, my friend does, so here is a link to his pretty Chiangmai pictures. One area that I discovered (or rediscovered) this time is Trok Lao Joe (ตรอกเล้าโจ๊ว),which is in the Kao Luang or Warorot market area. The stores in this alley sell tribal textile products in wholesale price. In case Night Bazaar didn’t do you justice, ask to the locals for direction to this area.

All in all, I HEART CHIANGMAI.

I’m not giving you the estimate of my travel expense here. Keep in mind that Chiangmai does have the comfort of what Western culture has to offer, so you pay premium for it. Still, it’s still much cheaper than in Bangkok.

Railay, Krabi April 2013

I haven’t gone back to Thailand for ages, so I almost was looking at “MY” people from the anthropological point of view(i.e. as academics call it “the gaze).

I will be uploading more pictures from my trip when I get a chance =)

Railay, Krabi

I have heard of Railay beach in Krabi from many of my Thai students. Hence, when I got a chance to visit Thailand, I was sure to include this heaven on earth everyone was raving about in my travel plan. My sister and I immersely enjoyed our trip down to Krabi. We took an overnight tour from Bangkok on a VIP bus for 1,000 B and it was impressive. (You could fly there, but I was on a budget, so I chose to take a bus.) We left Bangkok at 7PM and got to Krabi around 6AM. We made it to Oa Nang pier and took a short boat ride to Railay (100 B/person for Thais and 200 B/person for farangs). Affordable food can be purchased from restaurants on the east side of Railay.

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We walked to Ow Phra Nang beach and the beach was incredible.

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Sunset, Railay West

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Snokelling with Sunset Tour

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I did internet reserach and found this Thai webpost on Railay’s Sunset Tour (the tour can also be purchased from Ow Nang Beach). The cost of the tour is 1,000 B and it runs from 2pm – 8pm with dinner included. The pictures in the post look much nicer than from my mediocre camera, so check out nice pictures there.

Tour guide–Sunset tour–Mr. Park

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more pictures from Sunset/snokelling tour

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Postcard worthy?

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I was on a budget so I chose an affordable place to stay with breakfast included at Phutawan Resort. The staff at the resort was really helpful and attentive. If you would rather stay at other places in Railay, the area is pretty small that they are all pretty much the same in my opinion. If you look up reviews from Phutawan, they’re not rated highly. Still, don’t you think people just want greater facility when they’re not willing to pay for it?  Phutawan is situated on the moutaineous area of Railay, so I don’t recommend getting drunk when you try to walk back to hotel. Other than a run-down bathroom underneath the breakfast area, I’m pretty satisfied with my stay at the hotel. Bathroom in our bangalow works just great, so just use that!

Our clean bangalow

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All in all, the whole trip with food, day tour (2,000 B for two persons), accomodation (3,500 B), and transportation (including boat rides and two round trip bus tickets from Bangkok) came to around 9,000 B for 3 full days and 2 nights in Railay and Krabi from Bangkok. We did go to fancy dinners and lunchs with cocktails with little umbrellas (Come on, any beach trip will not  complete with a drink with umbrella, right?). I don’t normally travel, but this trip was by far REALLY unforgettable.

Railay