Sunday, October 30, 2016

Teahouse and Temples in Chiang Mai

Friday was our first day in Chiang Mai and we slept in a little later than we normally would, as little Charlotte woke up many times the previous night. It sounded like she was having nightmares in her sleep, poor little love.
Anyway, we all woke up starving, so we headed to Warorot day market hoping to find some food there. We did find a small food court under the market, where we had chicken with big flat noodles, and pad thai in an omelette. The big noodles were so silky in texture, I don't think I have ever eaten anything like them before but it seems to be very popular here.

In the Warorot Market you can buy anything from colourful lanterns, to clothes,  backpacks, dried fruits and snacks. Oh, and you can also buy live frogs and eels. Anyone care for a fresh frog dinner?

After exploring the market for a little while, we made our way to the old city of Chiang Mai, which lies inside the ancient city walls. On our walk to the old city, we noticed a beautiful teahouse with a pretty garden in the back, so we stopped to have a pot of green tea and some cake. Charlotte was having a little nap in her stroller, so it was quite peaceful for about 30 minutes! Haha

There are over 300 Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai, and while we're certainly not trying to visit them all, we will definitely stop and visit ones that we find interesting. The first temple we visited today was Wat Buppharam. It was a very peaceful temple, with hardly anyone around. Just as we were about to leave, an elderly monk ushered us into a room and signaled for us to kneel down on the floor as he first performed a blessing on Charlotte, wrapping a woven cotton bracelet around her wrist, and then did the same for me. Charlotte didn't know what to think and she was quite unimpressed haha! It was a rather interesting experience, one that I didn't know what to expect going in to it. So now Charlotte and I have both received a Buddhist blessing for our travels.

Finally we entered into the walled old city, where we stumbled upon Wat Phan Tao. Outside the temple there are hundreds of colourful yellow flags which caught my eye. Inside the main temple building stands a giant golden buddha statue, to the left of which are beautiful golden flags hanging from the ceiling. My favourite thing about all of the temples we have visited in Thailand has been how colourful and magical they have been. Gold is usually only a colour we associate with wealth and riches, yet it is used liberally here in the temples. It is very beautiful to look at.

Around the corner from Wat Phan Tao,  we stopped to have some thai curry, and fried vegetables and tofu for lunch.  Of course we also shared a Chang beer to refresh us in the heat.

We were very nearby to another temple which we were recommended to see, which was Wat Chedi Luang. There you can see the remains of one part of the temple, built of bricks,  and guarded by stone carved serpents. The assembly hall next to the ruins is quite impressive,  with crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and glittering gold chairs and statues inside.
There is another small building next to this which contains a city pillar to protect the city of Chiang Mai. For some reason, I didn't stop to read why, only men were allowed in here, so Nathan took pictures inside for me.

Soon after this, we headed back to our guesthouse so that Charlotte could have a nap. We then went out to get dinner and take a look around some of the night markets. There are so many markets and stalls in Chiang Mai, it almost feels like one never ending market! You could definitely blow your budget on shopping up here.

The last couple of days we have taken it easy, waking up late and not trying to do too much in one day. It's never fun trying to squeeze too much into the day with a little baby, especially one who doesn't want to nap, like today! We have just extended our stay in Chiang Mai actually,  because we have enjoyed our time here so far as it is a very relaxed city. We would like to go to the zoo and aquarium, and there is an elephant sanctuary nearby that I would love to visit. Plus there's about 297 odd more temples for us to visit! Haha

Thanks for reading,
Hannah xx

Friday, October 28, 2016

Dusit Zoo

Wednesday was our last day in Bangkok, and we spent most of the day at Dusit Zoo. We took a quick taxi ride there in the morning after breakfast.
The zoo is quite large, and the area is very lush green and beautiful. There is even a large pond in the middle of the zoo which you can hire a paddle boat to paddle around on. It's not a very modern zoo, but the animal enclosures were big and spacious and nicely laid out.

It is Thailand's oldest zoo, opened in 1938. There were many animals for us to see, from tigers, to bears, reptiles and tortoises, giraffes, birds, and elephants. That's just to name a few.
Nathan really liked the reptile exhibits and I was really impressed with the signage there, it was very informative and factual.

Charlotte managed to have a couple of naps while we were there, but when she was awake she really liked seeing the flamingoes.

We ate lunch at the food court there, which served good cheap food. However, there are plenty of spots to stop and have a picnic, so this would have been nice also.

At 300 baht (about $9) for two adults, and Charlotte was free, it was a very good day out.
The only downside to our visit there was getting caught in a monsoon at the end of our visit. Luckily there was a shelter we could hide under until it passed.

After visiting the zoo we walked to Khao San Road, the popular backpacking street in Bangkok. It's a very touristy road with a lot of shops, stalls and cheap backpacker hotels. When in Bangkok, do as the tourists do and walk along Khao San Road ;)

Unfortunately,  by the time we wanted to take a taxi
back to our hostel it was again peak traffic time and the roads were crazy! We walked for a good while hoping to catch a taxi that was free, but no such luck. Eventually we just hopped into a cafe, had a bite to eat and waited for the traffic to die down a little. Sometimes you've just got to accept that things will never go to plan, and just take a step back and relax a little.  We made it back to the hostel a little later than we had planned, but instead of going out somewhere to eat, Nathan instead went out into the rain and brought us back some dinner while I put Charlotte to bed. As the saying goes, all is well that ends well :)

I hope you enjoyed reading :)
Hannah xx