This morning we took advantage of our jet lag and headed out early. Doi Suthep is Chiang Mai’s most famous temple; they say if you don’t visit Doi Suthep you don’t visit Chiang Mai. We arranged a taxi to pick us up at 0515 for the 45 minute drive up the mountain so we could make it for sunrise. We arrived and didn’t really know what to expect but were greated by two dragons at the entrance. The roosters were crowing but it was still dark as we began our ascent up the 300 stairs. At the top we took off our shoes, wandered in and was greeted by the amazing pagoda. We turned and found the monks chanting their morning ritual. We sat in back and soaked in the amazing engery; then, all of a sudden they stopped turned around and now we were apart it. We knelt, bowed and wai’d. It was moving, special, and an experience. When it was finished we made our way around then out to the overlook for sunrise. We sat perched over the city at almost 1700 meters and watched as the sun came up. What an incredible experience that we are thankful to have had.
Our plan was to head up to the King’s palace an wander around but it was still early and not yet open for entry, so we headed back for breakfast. We didn’t have much of a plan at that point, thinking we may need a nap. At breakfast we decided to take advantage of the famous Chaing Mai spa’s. Chad, never having a spa experience didn’t really know what to expect; I was glad he agreed to go. I wanted everything on the menu but choose a foot scrub, oil massage package but added the traditional thai massage. Three blissful hours! I felt like a whole new person, Chad just felt sore. Well worth it but I’m not sure Chad will ever indulge in another Thai Massage, guess that means more for me.
Since we headed to the spa in liue of a nap we made it back just in time to get cleaned up for our cooking class at Siam Rice. We were picked up in the red taxi and made the rounds to collect the rest of our fellow classmates. In addition to us, there were two young men almost our age traveling Asia for a couple of weeks and 4 college students on a volunteer trip. Being the oldest of the group and considering everyone was American, it wasn’t exactly what I expected but not entirely surprising. Our first stop was the market where we were introduced to the ingredients and wandered around. Siam Rice is hosted at “Nancy’s” house where the family welcomed us in. We all choose four dishes that we wanted to prepare and enjoy; we picked hot and sour soup / hot and creamy soup, drunken noodles / fried glass noodles, cashew chicken / chicken ginger, and of course curry – Green curry and Chad braved the most spicy of them all the Jungle Curry. We were stuffed and in awe that we each did so well to produce such a tasty meal. I hope we can do it when we get home. The Jungle Curry was so spicy, by the way, Chad had about three bites before passing it around the table testing who else was man enough to try it. I proud to say no one else made it past one bite.
We were exhausted but wanted to get the souveniers we spied at night market so we were full steam ahead – well half (or quarter) steam. We made the round, shared a bit of ice cream and it was time to call it. We still had Friday to explore the old city square and it’s many temples before heading south so we needed to rest up.