Chiang Mai, Round 4!

It’s the fourth time I’ve been to Chiang Mai and though I know lots of people love it first time around, but for me, this city is a grower.

The first time I came here I hated it. It was over New Year (Western not Thai) and the city was overrun with tourists, drinking and setting off Chinese lanterns and fireworks in the street. It felt nothing like the chilled out city I’d heard about!

The more times I come though the more I like it. This time I planned to stay in Chiang Mai just a couple of nights but, through a combination of waiting for my Chinese & Vietnam visas, friends being here and a climbing competition that I was persuaded to enter, I was still here a week later!

I’ve stayed in different places each time I’ve stayed here, eaten in different places and met different people. Although I’m missing Maddy this time (and she is missed for sure) I am lucky to be here with climbing friends Sanne, Wes, Jacob and Carlos this time.

Thanks to Sanne, I have discovered the street market at the south east corner with the best sushi for only 5 baht (10p) a piece. It is amazing and a welcome change from the standard Thai menus tailored to western tastebuds.

After making your choices, you sit at small fold up tables on red, plastic stools to eat your food. As you eat you can watch sushi bring freshly made and replenished as fast as it is sold. It is fresh, delicious and I have eaten it all week (yes, I like it that much) and not once got sick!

I have swum, slacklined in the park, done yoga and gone to the local crag by motorbike a few  times. Though I have been here before, I had no idea how incredible the mountain is until this week.

It is virtually hollow inside and, if you don’t mind crawling through a narrow passageway carved into the rock, barely hip-height, then you will discover the most beautiful cave inside. There are two bolted routes inside and, though it is probably not the best route on the mountain, for me, the 6a here is my favourite. It  is not only a fun climb, but one of the most atmospheric climbs I have ever done, climbing up in semi darkness toward the opening of light in the roof above you. Stunning!

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