It’s been a while since I updated the blog; I guess the laid back attitude here got the best of me. Arriving in Chiang Mai was a welcome relief after the stifling heat, pollution, extreme traffic congestion, and general manic intensity of Bangkok. Chiang Mai does have quite a bit of traffic (and in Thailand, apparently the pedestrian is always wrong), but the climate is a bit cooler here, the mountain air a bit cleaner, and things are way more relaxed.
The first two things I noticed about Chiang Mai: Buddhism and tourism. The presence of Buddhism here is striking, and very appealing to me. There are over 300 wats (Buddhist temples) here—each one exquisite—and you will often see orange-robed monks around the city. The tourism is not so appealing; around the old city there are zillions of banners advertising all kinds of tours and “adventures” involving zip lines and Segways and monkeys and elephants. And a steady stream of tourists (I’m counting myself of course) and tourist traps. Luckily, it’s easy to escape to neighborhoods where the tourist scene is scarce.
Many more Chiang Mai photos on the way.