After our resting time in Ko Samui we flew into Chiang Mai fighting fit and ready to get back into the busy backpacker game with a few things on our must do list: Thai cooking lesson, Thai boxing lesson and get a Thai massage. Anything else was to be an added bonus.
First stop though was the night food market for dinner where we were pleasantly surprised to be seranaded by a singer on a stage with his guitar whilst we happily tucked into our dishes.
Chang Mai is home to over 300 Buddhist temples so it’s no surprise that our next days walk consisted of looking at A LOT of temples. However, we did not bore of exploring them as each one seems to be competing with next; more and more decorations of gold and jewels or bigger and bigger Buddhas. Keeping up with the Joneses turned into keeping up with the atoners.
During our walk and on many leaflets and things to do forums we had seen numerous places advertising yoga classes. With it being so popular and for our fondness of all things excercise, we decided to add it to our list of things to do. That night, after finding a class which seemed welcoming of our level and price range we spent 2 hours stretching, breathing and channelling our “third eye”. We could probably do with a bit more practise at the stretching and could cut down on the giggling at the start (sorry yogis) but it was a good class – for our beginner level taste anyway.
The next day we had booked in for a whole days cooking class. The company picked us up early in the morning, gave us a briefing at the school, dressed us in aprons, classic Asian all weather hats and took us to the local market to show us what produce the Thais would choose to use when cooking.
The rest of the day consisted of making and eating 7 different courses each! We learnt how to make Thai favourites such as Pad Thai, Penang curry and sticky rice amongst loads others and were sent away with a little cookbook so we can re-create the delights at home. It was a fantastic day of wonderful food.
To punish ourselves for our fabulously gluttonous day we arranged to get picked up at 6:30am the next morning to get taken for a beating by some hard Thai men. We were put into the back van and driven to our destination. The arena we were in was pretty basic and consisted of a boxing ring with padded mats around it, a few bits of gym equipment and some dogs wondering around. Great, the rougher the better. If you haven’t guessed already, it was the morning of our Muay Thai boxing lesson. We were there for 2 hours, an intense warm up, pad work, and a mini circuit class definitely woke us up. The instructor was apparently an ex Olympic boxer, I’m not sure how true this claim was but we weren’t going to question him and from the look of us at the end my pride is going to say that he was.
Either way it was a good way to start the day, the guys running it were great teachers and really friendly.
The last item to tick off on our list was the Thai massage and what better day to get it than the afternoon after a boxing lesson? Luckily for us the Temple round the corner from our hostel had a massage area which offered an hours full body massage for the bargain price of 150 Baht each (£3.45) Apprehensive at first as we had heard that these massages can be brutal, but shouldn’t have been, it was a delightful end to a busy but fantastic few days in Chiang Mai
Overall Chiang Mai is a visitor’s dream. You can experience many of Thailand’s must do activities in the city or in the mountains around. It’s a great place to spend a few action packed days and enjoy what Thailand has to offer.
Travellers Tips and Recommendations
Sleep: We stayed at Luna Guesthouse 2, a lovely family run place in a great location within walking distance of most places of interest and good restaurants.
Do: There are many highly recommended cooking classes to choose from but we went for Asia Scenic Thai Cooking School they have an option to cook in thier class in the country side but already having seen a lot of that already we opted to stay in the city. The classes are small and there is plenty of space and time for everyone to enjoy and learn. Highly recommended this company, our teacher was called Sue who was fantastic.
Do: The yoga class we went to was at Mahassidha Yoga we dont have much to compare the quality with but the class gets 5 stars on Google and the instructor was also doing a live webinar at the time, surely no one tunes in to watch a bad yoga class(?)
Do: We used Por Silaphai Gym for our Muay Thai boxing lesson. We just had the 2 hour session but if it’s your thing they have an option to live there and train twice a day for however long you want.
Eat: There are so many places to get a decent bite to eat round Chang Mai and all of similar great quality. After all Thai food is the best! 😉 The street food night market at the south end of the city was our favourite.
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