Category Archives: Thailand

PB Travels… Chiang Rai

Next stop – going to spend a few days in Chiang Rai, mainly to check out the White Temple and relax… even more. Chiang Rai will also be the gateway to my next destination – another first, Burma or Myanmar. Yay!

Where am I staying? 

Diamond Park Inn Hotel, literally 5 minute walk to the night market. Excellent location and there was even a nice pool. 

The room was nice and spacious, with the beds on a raised platform. Highly inconvenient as it meant clambering up and down every time you wanted something from the bed or left anything there. 


Ratings? 

  • Grubbiness factor: low. The room was really clean, what I didn’t like was the AC (desperately needed) which had a damp smell. Not nice.  
  • Bed: 6/10. Mainly because of that ledge, the pillows were lovely though. 
  • Shower: 8/10. Nice and powerful. Lots of toiletries – decent ones at that too. 

What did I eat?

The hotel breakfasts were the best so far (I’m in Thailand after all, they’ve being doing this tourist thing for long enough and it shows). Massive buffet spread with loads of food. 

I had some lovely supersweet pineapple and watermelon, followed by some veggies, rice, carrot and beetroot. Yes. For breakfast. And I would do it again. SO delicious. Next day? More or less the same, but I finally found a soya yoghurt in the.. wait for it.. local Tesco.. known here as Tesco Lotus. Delicious! Oh, and a green tea bag I found in my backpack from the plane. 


Lunches were at Cabbages and Condoms, an NGO set up to support family planning in Thailand, with all proceeds going to the cause.

One day I had the papaya salad – EXCELLENT, and another time I had the Tom Yum Hed. MORE EXCELLENT. I love love love Thai food. Nice to have good food again… This stuff was perfectly balanced – sweet, sour, salty, hot – all boxes had a big fat tick. Yumyumyum. Tipple of choice – a lime soda. This soda water is particularly bubbly, making it a really refreshing drink in this heat! And it is hot here (sorry London, muhahaha). 

Dinners? In the night market. There was a stage set up with singers and cabaret performances (read: ladyboys).

The food was, well, again, EXCELLENT. I went for a Thai Green Curry (known as Green Curry in these parts 😆) and oh my word.  Creamy, hot, flavourful – superb. The other night I went for a simple dish of stir fried veggies – even that was excellently done. 

What did I do? 

The White Temple is the must see attraction – just outside of Chiang Rai, on the way from Chiang Mai. Now. I usually don’t read up reviews or research most of the main attractions in a town as I feel it might be hyped up and then I expect too much. 

WELL. I’m going to hype this up. This temple is awesome. After seeing loads of red and gold temples in Laos, here is this white and silver temple. So impressive from the outside, and it seemingly looks like every other temple… until you step closer, and see the robot king.. or the depiction of hell and heaven (see all those hands reaching out for you? Hell). Fascinating. 

Sadly you’re not allowed to take photos in the main temple. But I will say this much – completely expect the unexpected. The walls are covered with the most amazing murals, featuring not only the Buddha, but also Marvel and DC Comic heroes (yes, you read right), to cartoon characters and political figures.  It is such an impressive space! 

There is also a small gallery and a larger exhibition featuring the works of the genius behind this temple. I LOVED both. His artwork is so insightful and expressive, absolutely loved it.  And there is shop at the end. Due to space, ongoing travel and fear of flattening issues, I only bought a few magnets, postcards and a small poster. BELIEVE THE HYPE! Go here!! 

What else did I do? Natural hot springs – one for boiling eggs (98 degrees C) and one for boiling feet (much cooler, thankfully). So dipping my feet into hot water in hot weather was actually a very soothing experience. Really enjoyable – another recommend, but only if you’re passing by. 

Obviously I went for more massages. I didn’t think I could have a bad massage in Thailand – but now I know you can. Avoid this place.  

I went there for a foot massage, which turned out to be one hour of a girl massaging the same spots on either side of my legs. Shockingly bad.  Thankfully redeemed by a SUPER Thai massage here – monmueng lana massage. My masseuse was an effeminate young lad – super tall and super skinny and super strong. I was howling in pain at the time, but I felt super great afterwards! Go massages!

I also checked out the night market – same same but different and I’m waning a bit to be honest. It is all the same – nothing stands out so will patiently wait until I like something. 

So Chiang Rai really surprised me. I was expecting it to be a boring place, but I enjoyed my time there. They even have a cat cafe (shudder), but each one to their own I suppose. 

Bye Bye Chiang Rai! 

PB Travels… Chiang Mai

So bye bye Laos, Hello Thailand. I wanted to check out northern Thailand – I’ve done Bangkok and the islands, but never gone this far up. I wanted a taster of Chiang Mai to see how different it is to the south. I’m pleased to say (in this case), it is same same but different. 

Where am I staying?

Park Hotel, a hotel with quite a few bells and whistles. Only downside? 7 minute tuk tuk ride or 1/2 hour walk.  It’s one of the nicer hotels I’m staying in.. and it also has a pool – which I didn’t get to use as I was too busy sightseeing.. priorities.. priorities.  

My room was lovely albeit a bit blingy, no complaints though, 2 big double beds and loads of space…


Ratings:

  • Grubbiness factor: non existent, thank you very much. 
  • Shower: 7/10. Hot water, decent pressure, but stubborn shower head which meant me manoeuvring more than it. 
  • Bed: 8/10. Lovely and comfy. What I will say about this room is that it was a mission to find a power socket! There was only one and if I wanted others I had to unplug TVs and lamps! 

What did I eat? 

Breakfasts again were included in the hotel, a massive buffet breakfast, a good thing if you are an omni. Not so good if you’re me. 

Saying that though they had a great fruit spread, so overdosed on that, but once again, my PB came in handy and their bread was fresh and very tasty. MMM. 

I did have to open the emergency rations one morning and have this chia seed pudding – still had some left over from the last set of travels. With some chopped banana, alongside a cup of green tea.. it was excellent. I also thought I’d be daring and try the congee with various toppings – salted tofu, picked pumpkin, peanuts. The congee itself was fine – really simple, but the toppings. Oh no no. Not for me. Not that early in the morning.

They had these cheesy mugs, all with cheesy messages – a great idea, if you’re a pubescent teenage girl. 

Lunch one day was at Vegan Heaven. Convenient location as it was down the road from one of the nicest temples I visited earlier in the day. 100% vegan, lots of options including mock meats (which I am staying away from). What I was most happiest about was having an iced coffee – with coconut milk. I also ordered a red curry – massive portion, packed with flavour, soft tofu and yummy veggies.  Only gripe? The rice wasn’t as fresh as it could be. I also got a pineapple kombucha to go – homemade and super refreshing as I was walking around in the heat. The vegan brownie that I bought was inconveniently forgotten in the hotel fridge when I checked out (arrrgh!) so can’t tell you about that – other than it looked super moist. 

No more lunches – only water, it was baking and I was waaay too hot to eat! Dinners were at lovely restaurants. One night was at the Riverside restaurant – beautiful outdoor space, menu like a book. 

Even though it was hot, I wanted a nice cup of tea, and got it in the form of an oolong. Delicious. I also went for a Tom Kha Hed – coconut soup with mushrooms. Not too hot but oh my word. How amazing was it. Full of herbs and spices, hint of chilli, creamy, hot, I could have had this every day. It came with rice, which in my option was a waste – I was happy to gorge on the soup. 

Dinner the next night was at The Whole Earth. Stunning restaurant with a sparkly outside space – it was really beautiful. I ordered the Pad Thai sans egg. Pimped with more lime and chilli – m m m. I could have licked the plate. And to go with it – a zingy lemongrass soda. I also had the opportunity to order dessert. 

I say opportunity because there was something other than fruit (boring) or ice cream (no can do) on the menu. Mango sticky rice. One of my favourite desserts, I even learnt how to cook it when I was down in Phuket a couple of years ago. Sweet creamy rice with sweet creamy coconut – perfect marriage of flavours – and they were so generous with the mango, had to give most of it away! I ate all the rice though. Good thing I like rice – I prefer it to bread/chapatis and can eat it for every meal if required. And I have been. Haha.

Snacks? Mainly fresh mango, and iced coffees with coconut milk now I knew that was an option. Perfect. 

Snacks I did not indulge in were a big sheet (hehe), okra crisps or even dried bamboo caterpillars. Whoa! 

What did I do?

Temples! I’m not templed out yet – however I think I will be by the end of this trip, so I got myself a red taxi to Chedi Luang (30 baht – so easy to get around), one of the main temples in the in old city. For some of them I had to pay – like this one (40 baht) and for others – freeee. I then walked to the teak temple next door – Wat Pan Tao, until I found my way to Wat Phra Singh – my favourite temple in the area. I just loved the feel of this place – busy yet calm, lots of open space, beautiful gardens, quiet spots, the cleanest tourist toilets in Thailand.. you know, it all adds up! I also wandered to tha three kings statue, it was well, a statue. Very beautiful flowers in the square though! I know there are lots of temples, but I was really happy with the ones I visited. 


Other than walking to a temple, getting out of the sun, cooling down, walking to the next temple, I also did what I love best. Yes. Massages. I had a super 2 hour foot and Thai massage at Chai Massage – hooooooo yeah. Go here. Clean, bright, calming, cheap – all boxes ticked. 

I also visited night market – biggest in Thailand. What I really liked about this place is they didn’t hound you, and the prices were pretty reasonable. I didn’t spend long here, it was pretty mad and to be honest once I got a few tops for the fam, I was out of there. 

What I preferred was the morning market – more enjoyable and so much more to see! Including colourful Thai desserts and a giant bowl of sticky rice with toppings for breakfast. Nice! 

So all in all, I really enjoyed Chiang Mai – food, people and massages all lovely.. what more could I ask for!