With 7 hours to kill in the Kuwait airport, now is as good a time as any to finally blog about the mountains, Wats and food of Thailand's northwest (warning: khao soi features prominently).  From a week exploring the lovable city of Chiang Mai, to the awe-inspiring, stunning creatures at Tiger Kingdom, to a ridiculously improvised Mae Hong Son Loop, there was no shortage of new, interesting things to see and do.

Despite having a full week in Chiang Mai, we quickly learnt that there is just no shortage of spelunking to do. Within the old city, dozens of gilded Wats sparkle in the afternoon sun. Together, they whisper the history of the city and its changing rulers: you can find temples in each of Lanna, Burmese and even Sri Lanken -styles, each more lavishly adorned than the last. There is fantastic food aplenty, with my newest obsession (the rich, delicious and spicy khao soi) in a starring role, especially at the bustling night market food stalls. Renting a motorbike is the most efficient way to get the most out of the 2nd most visited city in Thailand, at at $5 a day (with discounts for longer term rentals) you'd be crazy not to troll around and explore. Outside the Old City are several markets teeming with people and interesting, reasonably priced things to buy. From the Andusan night bazaar (on Chang Khlan Road), to the sprawling, never-ending Sunday Walking Street on Rachadamnoen road starting at Tha Phae Gate, to the daily Warorot Market at the Ping River, there is a dizzying array of weavings from the northern tribes, food, drink and clothing on offer. If you want something more upscale, the Airport Center Plaza is a huge mall on the outskirts of the city, with all the western shops of Kuala Lumpur's KLCC mall and a matching slew of restaurants. In short: what's not to love about Chiang Mai? Steeped in culture, food for the ages, tons of classes (ranging from cooking, to muay thai to Thai language lessons) and all easily navigable, even for the directionally disabled (like me). I definitely plan on heading back.

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  • Jodi Ettenberg

    Born in Montreal, Canada, Jodi Ettenberg is a former new media and technology lawyer who quit her job after 5+ years of working…

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