enedwards

enedwards

I have been traveling long-term, mostly abroad, with my husband since August 2016. We've driven across the U.S. on a road trip from California to New York and have traveled overland through Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Thailand, Greece, and Cyprus thus far. We love sharing our experiences with others, as independent travelers on an adventure of a lifetime!

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The day starts off with getting picked up at your accommodation (if within a certain vicinity of the school's location) and a trip to a small, local market. At the market, a representative from the school explains various ingredients used in traditional Thai cooking and purchases those that are needed for the day. Each participant gets to select six dishes to make and receives a cookbook with all of the recipes (not just the ones you select, but all those offered by the school) at the end of the day. In my experience, the cooking vs. eating times were paced well, and the materials for each dish were set up by their cooking staff just before we learned how to make them. It was well-organized and the teachers were both knowledgeable and entertaining. There were only seven of us in the morning class group (which actually lasts several hours and spans into the early afternoon); I thought it was a nice, small amount of people to participate in this with. Overall, I highly recommend this cooking school and experience to those wanting to learn how to make (and also eat!) some traditional Thai cuisine!

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This Saturday night-only street market is located in the Old City. It is definitely worth walking through, but it is very busy; there were times where I had to strategically plan my steps to get through shoulder-to-shoulder stretches of people, although there are also areas that are less congested. I enjoyed looking at many unique crafts and trinkets; I picked up some very inexpensive souvenirs that didn't lack in quality, nor did they appear to be the same items multiple vendors were selling. The market actually extends beyond its main street; it was so big that I didn't even see all of it. There are also street food vendors, in case you're hungry while browsing.

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This modern shopping mall is SIX stories high! It has a couple of fitness facilities (an upscale gym and a boxing gym), a movie theater, massage/spa services, and a grocery store (which is pricey by Thai standards, but convenient if you are staying nearby). There are a plethora of restaurants to choose from within it as well, mostly on the 4th floor and the basement floor (where the grocery store is also located). The 4th floor restaurants feature local Thai and international (mostly Asian) cuisine; there is a section in the center of it called "Food Lanna" that gives the feel of a street food atmosphere, but in the comfort of air conditioning and indoor dining amenities. On certain weeknights (Wednesday-Friday, while my husband and I were in Chiang Mai for a week), there is a night market outside of its main entrances, as well as in an area across the street from it surrounding the businesses there, where many vendors sell crafts and food and there is live music. This place was my refuge from the hot, humid heat of the day and I frequented it often while in Chiang Mai!

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Well… I would have loved Khao San Road as an 18-year-old embarking upon college and the party scene, but, I'm 30, married, don't like crowds, and am in bed at a reasonable hour. :) I knew this street was a popular place for backpackers, and that it would provide sensory overload with lights, music, smells, and more at night. It was a sight to see walking through it at night, which is all I really wanted to do there. There were tons of bars, restaurants, street vendors, and people hanging out. I walked through it again in the morning, and there wasn't much going on; it was actually pretty quiet and many businesses were closed, cleaning up from the night before, or just opening for the day. It definitely has a touristy vibe to it. If you're looking for a cultural immersion type of experience, this isn't the place for it.

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This complex is made up of dozens of old temples and statues which blend seamlessly into the vines and trees around them. This place is eminently tranquil and only some monks were here (no other tourists). Evidently, the temple was once a busy waystation for worshippers making the trek up the mountain from Chiang Mai to the much larger Doi Suthep temple. Eventually, a road was built to Doi Suthep and hence Wat Pha Lat was converted into a monk’s residence.

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