Veering a little off course, from the usual where I usually compile my trip in a single post, I am going to be breaking up my 12 days in Thailand into a city series.
This year, I followed M and his mum back to her hometown of Chiangmai, the neighbouring cities and then to Bangkok.
It’s my second time back in Chiangmai after my 1st visit in 2017, going back to Chiangmai with M and his mum then.
Currently, the only direct flight to Chiangmai was via Scoot and the journey to Chiang Mai from Singapore took 2hr 55min. As it was nearing Christmas, the crew was playing games (think Bingo and kids drawing competition) with the passengers. As with most Scoot ride, the crew were high energy, professional and definitely made the ride enjoyable.
As I was slated to join M and his mum only a week after them, my promise to them was that I would join them wherever they are (they were on a city tour around Chiangmai and Chiangrai). On my arrival daye, they were at Mae Hong Son and I had to make good my promise. Bu to get to Mae Hong Son, there were only 2 options.
- Either via a 6 hours van ride (250baht)
- Or via a 45mins plane right (1900baht++).
I opted for the plane option and had about 4 hours to kill between my next flight.
A few days before flying off, I was playing “Pocket World 3D” and came across Nimman Road. As per the description, I am a sucker for anything “Art” so I decided to spend my stopover exploring the area.
Khao Soy Nimman
I was having a little Khao Soi craving as the last time I had it was 2 years ago in Chiangmai. I came across Khao Soy Nimman while googling for “ Khao Soi in Nimman” (yes, it’s that simple) and it came highly recommended and was featured even in the Michelin Guide.
I reached around late 11am-ish and the restaurant was about 60% full. The wait staffs were aloof and less than willing to help. When I approached them for help with seating, they just keep forwarding me to another staff until someone pointed a seat to me. But thankfully, because I came pretty early, I didn’t have to wait for a table.
I ordered the Khao Soi Super Bowl(179 baht) consisting of a chicken drumstick, octopus leg, prawn, sausage and a single roast pork piece.
The gravy for this variation was thick and the noodle was al dente. The chicken was tender and the prawn was properly done. The roast pork was good but disappointing with only a single piece. The octopus was hard to chew and the sausage had a questionable texture. Overall, the meal was okay but tiring as the texture of the noodles require a little extra effort and by the half of the bowl, I was already getting sick of the overly rich flavour of the broth. Truth to be told, I have had better Khao Soi.
I came by the D.I.Y Market on the way to One Nimman. Rather then walking the whole stretch of street, crossing through the market was a lot more convenient.
Although the signs were that they are open from 12pm to 10pm daily. When I reached around 12.30pm, most of the stalls were still closed or in the midst of setting up. The items being sold at the market were very much similar to the typical ones found at most night markets. Nothing to rave about.
If there is a single “must-go” in Chiangmai city, I highly recommend One Nimman. Located at the famous Nimmanhaemin Road, come here for a one-stop – cafes, restaurants, jewellers, art gallery, barbers, and boutiques. Housed under the Italian-inspired architecture, One Nimman probably resonates with a European city more than Chiangmai but somehow, everything fits in perfectly.
If not for my flight, I would have spent more hours going to each and every shop. From the tea store at the entrance to the two-level beauty store, there is literally something for everyone.
Being only on the first day of my trip, I was careful to not overspend or anything especially since most of the items around One Nimman is boutique-priced, but I could not resist getting some earrings from Fairy Tales.
In One Nimman, there is a food court area call One Market. The food court offers all kind of cuisine – traditional Thai to the Instagram-friendly desserts, a durian cafe and also food stalls selling international cuisines such as sushi and ramen.
While I enjoyed my time at One Nimman very much, just a little heads-up, the Nimman area seems to be catered for the China tourists. Most of the shops have Chinese-speaking staff and I noticed tour buses dropping off Chinese passengers as well. Advisable to come before 12pm if you want to be able to enjoy some serenity.
I was on the way to Maya, the futuristic shopping mall of Chiangmai but I came across thinkpark that was just right across. Opened by the daughter of the Thai Brand Oishi, thinkpark brings prominent Thai brand coupled with indie shops under one area.
As I was there around 1pm, there was barely anyone but on the bright side, most of the shops were already open for business.
I like that the vibe of the area and how the ideas of giving opportunities to the budding designers by letting them come together. Most of the shops sell items that are one of its kind but the pricing can be really expensive. Food option wise, I felt that thinkpark too, catered mainly to Chinese tourists with options such as mala hotpot and a few other Chinese restaurants.
One day before we left for Bangkok, we came back to Chiangmai again to stay for the night. This time, as with the previous time we came 2 years back, we stayed near the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar area.
M’s dad booked us the rooms at the Star Hotel for the night. We reached early and the hotel allowed us to check-in 10mins before the usual check-in time. At one glance, the room was pristine but if we get into details, there was cobweb trickling down in the bathroom, one of the towels (M used it without realising) had black stains on it and the remote control was missing from the room…
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
Despite it being a weekday, the night bazaar was still bustling with activities. We had dinner at one of the more centralised restaurants and it was expensive and horrible.
After dinner, we walked around the area a bit. I bought a pair of maroon socks from the vendor right outside Starbucks. I wore it when I was in Chiangrai for the first time before washing and the dye came off and stained my sole and the insides of my air force 1 red. FML.
On the bright side, I am glad I did not dump it into my washing machine as of yet. If not all of my clothing would have had been dyed.
M and I went for a massage (and I did a manicure too), we went opposite Duangtawan hotel to see if (M says) “Your favourite crepe guy” is still there. And lo and behold. He really was still here. LOLS. We had a short convo and I have to say, after 2 years, his crepe is still pretty
crappy creppy but he is still cute. ><
In Thai, Jok means Porridge but don’t worry if you are not a porridge person. Other then porridge, the menu at Jok Sompet had rice, noodles, dim sums and many other varieties of mains.
I was telling some kind of pun joke to M about “what kind of jok(e) is this? you sompet (so bad)” and Sompet herself was passing by me and she went “what?”. LOLS. The jok turned on me.
The food was served pretty fast and the crowd cleared pretty quick too. We came around 8.30am and did not have to wait for a seat.
The menu is available in Thai, English and Chinese bu the ordering chit is in Thai only. So M’s mum did what a Thai will do and order the food with the staff directly. LOLS.
The congee/porridge at Jok Sompet was a lot finer than the version I am used to and they added A LOT of ginger into the porridge. The dim sums were of alright standard but M found some to be quite good. Like the mushroom with minced meat and the crab meat siew mai.
Overall, I enjoyed Chiangmai city very much. I found the people of Chiangmai a lot friendlier and polite compared to Bangkok. Can’t wait to be back again and meanwhile, please stick around as I continue updating the series!
Till then again,