Saturday, May 11th to Wednesday the 15th
We arrived at Chiang Mai airport where Fran’s cousin, Steve Wyers and his wife Nissa, picked us up. They actually live southeast of the main city in San Kamphaeng in a lovely modern three bedroom four bath house in a secure “village” (subdivision) with their two dogs, Chester and Friday.
They graciously welcomed us and made us feel at home. These few days were quite laid back and we did a little sightseeing but mostly hung out with Steve and Nissa. We got laundry done, haircuts, and the like. Nissa fed us too well and as it was freaking hot (up to 40C) and humid we didn’t do a lot of walking.
We did enjoy an early morning trip to the Sankhampang hot springs where we boiled some eggs in the water, like we saw them do on The Amazing Race once, while we each soaked in our own private tub, in which you determine how hot you want the water temperature.
One morning we visited the old town area which was once surrounded by walls and saw the corner pieces that still remain and the rebuilt gates. The moat still surrounds the city. It’s quite scenic and, in cooler weather, would be an enjoyable place to stroll. We walked some but quickly reverted to driving around and through the old town multiple times
We enjoyed some Japanese food at Shabushi Restaurant where plates of food travel by your table via conveyor belt and you choose whatever you like to boil in different broths in your pots on your table. Sushi and tempura were also available on aide tables. We also ventured out to try local Thai noodle soup another day. We checked out the night market which was rather quiet and not all stalls were filled as it was a Buddhist holiday. You could not purchase alcohol that day.
On our last morning they took us up into the hills to Doi Suthep Temple for views over the city but it was rather cloudy so that was not great. Doug and Steve climbed the 300 steps while Fran and Nissa opted for the funicular.
Chiang Mai is surrounded by mountains like Salt Lake City, and it too suffers from an “inversion” at certain times of the year. It is very green and there are many ex pats living here. Medical care here is good and the cost of living is low. They have cooler winters than most other cities in Thailand (down the 11 or 12C) which Nissa claims is “too cold”
Fran somehow picked up a cough upon arrival so sleeping for both of us was elusive. By the time we left Chiang Mai, congestion had joined her cough.