I first visited Chiang Mai over 11 years ago, where I ran around doing all the common touristy things (you can revisit that trip here). Since then, I have returned to Chiang Mai more times than I can count, but not to be a tourist. I use it as a place to relax, eat fantastic vegan food, go hiking, and spend my days wandering aimlessly around the old town. This trip was no different.
As I was recovering from COVID-19, I wasn’t up for any strenuous adventures. The biggest decision I had to make each day was where I was going to eat lunch and dinner (breakfast was always a smoothie at the local juice bar). Between meals, I did my best to stay out of the harsh summer sun while catching up on reading and planning my next holiday. I managed to fit in several morning runs plus a couple of short hikes, but otherwise it was a fairly chilled out break.
The one tourist attraction I visited was the Sunday Walking Street, a nighttime market that I have loved exploring in the past. I thought it might be quiet this year as the world was slowly easing its COVID-19 restrictions, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Even before the sun had set the road was packed with locals and travellers alike, preventing me from moving any faster than a snail. It was infuriating, as I wasn’t in the market for the souvenirs that made up 90% of the stalls. My aim was to hit the street food, and the two main food sections were quite far from each other. It took an eternity, but I eventually managed to load my stomach up to bursting point with spinach cakes, dumplings, sushi rolls, spring rolls, noodles, noodles and more noodles. It was equal parts satisfying and agonising. I miss Thai food a lot.