Chiang Mai was a change of pace from Bangkok. Clearly a hub for tourists, there were a range of restaurants selling Thai dishes, but we also saw adverts for Mexican, American and Japanese food. There were travellers of all kinds here; groups of older folk in their hiking gear and sturdy shoes, the ‘I’ve found myself’ hippy types embracing dreaded hair and hemp clothes, there were middle aged men with Thai partners, gap year uni students with their ankle bracelets and elephant trousers, traditional flip flop wearing backpackers, and the regular folk on a normal two week holiday. Oh, and plenty of Chinese tourists too.
Our hotel was nice, it had retro TV’s littered about as decoration and our room had a decent shower you could accurately control the temperature of. It suffered from poor drainage; short but sweet then. There is no perfect shower in this part of the world, but you can always get by.
We headed out for a late breakfast and found a recommended place with a German theme. We spent a lot but received a great deal of food for our money. So much avocado though.
We didn’t get much sleep on the night train so we spent the day chilling out and snoozing in the room, utilising the WiFi to book our next set of adventures.
We ventured to the night bazaar as the sun went down but people were still setting up their stalls. A lot of the individual areas were closed. We had no idea if they would be open at all, being it was Sunday. There were several places serving food so we enjoyed some sweet and sour chicken. For just a small stall that was little more than a large picture menu with a serving window, it was really good food.
We rounded off the evening by heading back to the hotel to meet our tour guide. We had arranged for him to take us to the local cabaret show (read Ladyboy’s). He walked us right back to the area where we had just eaten but in the time taken, the whole place had come to life. The stalls were open and the Ladyboy’s were out drumming up business for their show. We paid around £9 each which included a drink and wandered around the market for a time as we were too early to be seated. The market was quiet and we grew concerned that we would be the only ones to attend.
It wasn’t a full house but there were plenty of people to provide adequate atmosphere. The stage was humble but well endowed (pun intended) with lighting. In front of us were bench seats occupied by an excited Japanese group and we sat at the end of a row of high stools and tables.
The show was highly entertaining. The performers regularly left the stage to ‘interact’ with the audience. A Japanese man’s face in the front row was an easy target for the girls to present various body parts to. A German guy just behind us also got dragged up onto stage and received a comedic lap dance that earned him a free beer for being a good sport. His girlfriend was laughing so hard she struggled to film it on her phone.
The show and the drinks were a little expensive and tipping his highly encouraged but the show had us laughing and cringing in just the right mix that we didn’t mind at all. Afterwards, we retired for the evening, once I had removed the lipstick from my forehead. I was not exempt from the ‘interactions’ either. I’d highly recommend the show if you’re ever in the town. The performers take great pride in what they do.
An adventure to Chiang Rai and beyond awaits you here.