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Traditional Architecture
Traditional Architecture

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai was the Thailand we were looking for, and the Thailand that we've fallen in love with.

The funny thing is, once we found Thailand in Chiang Mai, we were able to more easily find it in Bangkok. 

Apparently, you need to be saturated, before you can recognized the subtleties.

But you can't get saturated here.
No matter how many temples I visited (a lot), how much great architecture I saw (I am a HUGE fan of Thai architecture), or how much Thai food I ate, I couldn't get enough.

Chiang Mai delivers on all the promises that the tourist brochures make about Thailand.

Elephants in the jungle. Monks in saffron robes. Buddhas, Buddhas, and more Buddhas. Smiling people. Colorful Hill Tribe lifestyles. Delicate arts. Exotic dances.
Can't get enough...

So, we've returned and returned again to Thailand.

Hill Tribe Girl
Hill Tribe Girl

Jom and Wan acted as our guides to the splendors of Chiang Mai.

They taught us about Thai Buddhism, about 'lady boys' (Thailand's transvestites), Thai marriage, and more.

Jom and Wan
Angie and I try, but can't compete with the Thai smiles of Jom and Wan

We went to tons of temples, saw handicrafts made, learned about Thai life, rode elephants, ate the flavorful northern cuisine, visited a few hill tribes, enjoyed Thai massage, and, best of all.....

Angie needs beads
Angie needs beads

Marveled at the night market.

It's easily the best night market I've ever seen. Handicrafts abound, and knock-off clothes of every type. It's massive. The prices are right. Somewhere, there will be something you want. You can imagine how we reacted, being there during Christmas season. ("my dad will love this, my mom needs that, etc..")

In addition, there are free dances every night on the stage, and a huge food court with a saliva-inducing choice of Thai foods.

As you travel around Thailand, you will see a lot of these little houses.

The Thai people believe that spirits live in the earth. If you build a house, the spirits will move into your house. This is, apparently, not a good thing.

So, you must build a spirit house. This house will be positioned such that it never falls in the shadow of your new house. It should also be nicer than your house, to attract the spirit. With blessings or daily offerings, the spirit will be happy and content. And so will you.

Cool concept, I think!

Thai Spirit House