Travel: Chiangmai, Thailand 2011

I was clearing my archives when I found this previously-written post. Since Chiangmai isn’t as popular a destination compared with Bangkok, I thought I’d show some love to this little region. I went in 2011, June.

Warning: This is an extremely long post with a lot of photos.

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Now, anyone who knows me well enough should know that i’m a city girl. Give me shopping, eating, clubbing, and even subway-hopping. I’m so not, not a nature girl. Yet on my recent trip to Chiangmai for work, I was blown away by the awesomeness of Chiangmai. (Well, perhaps the awesome room had a huge part to play.).

A lovely fresh orchid given by the air stewardess on the plane

my first view of chiangmai from the chartered bus

view from the bus as we trundle towards the hotel

the hotel – Mandarin Oriental Hotel Dhara Devi! Aapparently it’s the most expensive in Chiangmai. It’s new but built to look old and rustic.

It’s so big that you need to call a buggy to pick you up from the room (and go to the lobby or restaurant)

The stairs leading to the lobby

We has arrived at the lobby!

On the buggy heading to my room. ( the doors at the left side of the picture are room doors)

Once you step in, this is what you see. Looks like a normal room, right? Actually I’m standing in the first foyer, which is what I call the “take-off shoe” area. Oh, and it’s for putting umbrellas too. See the little door on the right?

Here’s what’s inside the little white door on the right – My first toilet.

Yes, I thought I heard the staff wrongly when he said “first toilet”. I thought he meant “The first thing I see is the toilet?” Uh-uh. Nope. There was more than one toilet in my room (or rather, suite).

The corner sink in the first toilet.

Moving on into the second foyer. I call it the “dump your shopping after you have removed your shoes” area. This picture is of the right hand side of the second foyer.

A view of the first foyer from the second foyer. Pretty lights!

A view of the first and second foyer from the living room.

Moving into the living room area..

The sofa and lounge seat don’t look like much, but damn, they are sooooo comfy. and they can each accommodate one person, so I could easily have put up 2 gatecrashers in this room.

Tropical fruit on the living room table..

a personalised package with my room key, resort map, activities list, welcome letter, and a whole shitload of other things.

Moving around the living room. The door actually leads to my very own veranda (porch) with seats outside to chillax! It would have been a perfect smoking area / drinking spot.

peeping out of the veranda doors.

Woah.. I get my very own section of the garden and pond. My friends got the swimming pool which was awesome too, but I personally felt that there were too many people walking around.

On the right side of the veranda – the chairs for chillaxing. There’s nothing much on the left, just more space.

Retreating into the sanctity of the living room away from the crazy mozzie.

pretty lights in the living room!

little doors next to the tv lead to the bedroom

First view of the bed… Luxurious much?!

from the other side of the bed. giant sliding doors on the right of the picture lead to the bathroom.

little present on the bed for me (thai-style Lanna shirt)

Present on day 2 (every day there are new little presents!)

bedfront – tv and mini sound system

Oh, if you’re wondering how the hell I slept with 5 million pillows and cushions on the bed, fret not. There are actually staff members who come to your room to “turn down your bed”, meaning prep it ready for you to sleep. If I wasn’t such an avid reader of Enid Blyton when I was young, I’d never have known what this term meant.

They are so meticulous that they even notice what side of the bed you sleep on, and lay the floor mat there, the  type of pillows you use (the fluffy ones or the ones that sink), and the level of dimness you want your lights to be. AWESOME. (but could be borderline stalker-ish)

Enough about the bedroom. My favourite part of the entire suite/apartment (?) was the immensely huge bathroom.  It’s huge, huge, huge.

This is the view from the bedroom. on your left, there’re the sinks, toilet room (meaning only the toilet bowl is there). In the centre is the bathtub, and on the right, the bath area and (hidden from camera) is the walk-in wardrobe.

the sink area with two sinks. I could have die of bathroom happiness on the spot. There’s even a very considerately-placed toiletries basket in the middle.

the toiletries basket that holds everything you could possibly need.

my favourite item of the entire basket – the mozzie repellent. I used it every day and brought it everywhere I went. For 3 days after I got back to Singapore, my bag still smelled like mozzie repellent. But hey, it’s better than being bitten right?

This mirror is really useful for applying makeup!

moving on to the toilet room…

On the right side is the bath area. I like the fact that there’s a solid marble bench there. You can sit on it, prop your legs up to get a better scrub, or place your toiletries on it.  There’s even a rain shower (not in photos).

The toiletries! They look pretty but can be quite troublesome to use, especially when your hands are wet and slippery.

next to the bath area is the walk in wardrobe, with a full length mirror (and a weighing scale in front of it. demoralising much?!).

They even gave us two types of bathrobes.

a terry cloth bathrobe and a cotton bathrobe.

the right side of the walk-in wardrobe where you can put your luggage and hang out all your clothes.

My one camwhore shot of the trip

and… *drum roll* the bathtub that isn’t a bathtub. It’s my very in-room jacuzzi. Score!

There’s even a little stool for you to “ascend” into the jacuzzi.Those round things in the jacuzzi are jets. woah.

Wait, what’s this at the side?

It turns on the LED lights! OMG. Extremely frivolous but I totally love it!

Totally one of the top 3 best places I’ve stayed in my LIFE!It ties for top spot with Oakwood Residences in Seoul, Gangnam, which has the EXACT same room (apartment) layout as this one, but it’s more modern (ie steel, white, black, clean lines).

Stepping out of the room

Day 1 – we went to the sunday night market. It was a long, long, long straight street selling so many things. Our grand plan was:

  • Go forth using the left-side lane
  • KIV whatever we wanted to buy
  • Come down the right-side lane and buy everything.

FAIL. The street seemed to go on for kilometres and there were side lanes too. There was just too much to eat and see.

children, the bus is here!

A very obviously-labelled bus so that we wouldn’t miss it or get on the wrong bus

these are the cutest things ever. they’re nightlights / aroma burners. It utilises the heat generated by the bulb to burn the aroma oil at the top.

yummy food!

a super cute coffee van/truck with someone insude preparing your coffee!

another super cute truck-store, but this one’s selling ice cream.

There was a huge crowd around this stall and something smelled really good, so I simply had to poke my head into the crowd to find out what was going on.

Seemingly plain hand-mixed beehoon, bean sprouts and fried flour

Good lord. It was the most delicious beehon I’ve ever eaten in my life, and for just S$0.80. There’s an explosion of flavours in your mouth – spicy, sour, sweet, salty, crunchy, juicy. OMG.

Moving on to more food.

rocking it street-style

And once again, the seemingly-plain food deceives me. This is the most delicious beef noodles I’ve ever eaten. And with free flow veggies.

I didn’t have much time to take more photos cos we were too busy eating, shopping, and then weaving through the crowds like salmons swimming upstream to rush back to the bus on time.

To another place to eat – apparently, this is some really famous fishball noodle place.

old school style condiments

old school style coke bottle

And… at the risk of sounding like a broken record, here are the most delicious fishball noodles I’ve ever eaten.

I’m drooling now even as I blog about it. Basically, every ingredient in the noodle is some variant of fish cake / fish ball.

After all that eating, we went back to the hotel. While waiting for the buggy to come pick us up from the lobby, we ventured into the bar, which was called Horn Bar.

Wow, that’s like the stuff of every vampire’s nightmare. Imagine if one sneezes and the resulting force propels himself backwards, straight into a waiting horn that could stake him. shudder.  I wouldn’t go there alone.

We decide to ditch the buggy and walk back to our rooms. Check out the gorgeous night scenery and pool.

Getting to work on Day 2

Day 2 started with the press conference, and then a trip to the Borsang Umbrella factory and the temples where we could use the Panasonic Lumix GF3 and G3 cameras to take photos.  Here are the new cameras that were launched- I love the pink and the red!

Arriving at the Umbrella Factory – all photos from here on are taken by the GF3 and G3. The resolution might not be good though, cos I’ve had to resize them from the giant DSLR sizes of 5MB per photo.

raw materials for the umbrellas – bamboos! nope, no pandas in sight.

The staff breaking / slicing up the bamboo for various parts of the brolly.

the uncle carving the main stem of the brolly

assembling the many sticks for the brolly frame

tying the frame together with string

 

testing the frame to see if it works (ie the opening and closing motion you use for the brolly)

Fixing the main “stem” of the brolly to the frame

The factory-style production line

glueing on the paper/cloth part which will be painted later

brollies drying in the sun

dried brollies sent off to the painters

the tools of their trade..

Not only do they paint brollies, they paint mobile phones and fans too!

the finished products~

wandering around the factory..

and a last shot before we’re bundled off to the temples

Day 2: The Temples

The temples are breathtakingly beautiful!

receiving blessings from the monk

bringing a lotus flower to pray for blessings

i think this buddha is made of jade (or some other precious materials). Probably explains why he had to be under shelter unlike the other gold ones…

you have to let the cup of water run down this sculpture… also praying for blessings

check out the beautiful details of the roof

Look , a giant silver elepant!

Nah I’m just kidding. It’s a super tiny and adorable silver elephant sculpture.

the super beautiful view from where the temples were – at the top of the mountains. I think the air felt fresher.

the long, long flight of steps down / up. totally reminds me of the scene from kungfu panda.

on the way down, look at what we saw! Such a cute bunch of children dressed in traditional hillside / countryside folk tribal outfits. They’re totally tourist “traps” – gotta pay to take photos with them, but what’s a dollar? tsk.

Next, we were bundled off to some traditional village to check out their art & crafts.

A lil boy playing with coconut husks

these are handmade! so pretty right?!

making little folded animals – you can take one home!

traditional “fighting” – it was a show

she looks so sweet doing the floral arrangements

this scene totally reminds me of Little Nonya, even though I haven’t watched a single episode of it.

the ladies making little delicacies and snacks that guests could eat

her hair’s formidable.. like marge simpson. the guys called her “carrot girl” cos she was carving a carrot.

\

More fruit carvings

moving on.. to a traditional field / fishing village… IN our hotel grounds. It’s amazing. you never have to leave the hotel to be entertained.

harvesting the padi…

fishing…

cooking / grilling..

yes, there’s even a cow/ ox there. It was us silly tourists who put the hat on the cow.

Day 3: Gala dinner

Not many photos from the dinner as my cameras both ran out of juice.

the pretty ladies (whom we later realised were recycled from the art & craft village)

the very manly performance.

performances by the twice/ thrice-recycled pretty ladies.

andddd that’s all folks! I was bundled back to Singapore the next day. Was supposed to go for an elephant ride through the forest but I had to come back earlier.

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