When I first arrived in Chiang Mai, I coughed. It wasn’t the city that I had expected. The jungle that had once existed in this region had apparently been hacked back, replaced with asphalt and millions of tuk tuks and motorbikes. It’s not that Chiang Mai is a bad city to visit–in fact, quite the opposite is true since it’s the gateway to some incredible sites (hilltop temples and thick jungle) and activities (like playing with full-grown tigers and training elephants)–I was just expecting enchanted forest. Read more
To toot my own horn a bit, I can cook. I cook well. But the one dish that I love to eat, but always botch up in the kitchen is Pad Thai. Over the years, I’ve found at least fifty different recipes listing fifty different sets of ingredients. They’ve all been wrong. So when I came to Chiang Mai, Thailand, I knew that a cooking class was mandatory. Not only would I finally learn how to make Pad Thai, but I’d get my wife to increase her recipes by five. (Before our Thai cooking class, she knew zero recipes.)
Our tour guide released us from the back of the songthaew, those flatbed trucks converted into passenger vehicles. We had reached the first site on the tour, just outside the Thai city of Chiang Mai. Gone were the exhaust fumes of city traffic, replaced by a bucolic countryside overrun with buses, vans, and a flood of camera-snappers.
“This is the orchid farm and butterfly exhibit,” the guide said. “But there’s no butterfly that much. You can just drink some coffee at the cafe. We be about twenty minutes.” Read more
It was Sunday morning in Hong Kong and Ka Ho, a dim sum restaurant on Lok Ku Road, was packed, mostly with elderly locals who sipped bitter black tea and read their newspapers. There were a few hundred people inside, but my wife and I were the only two Westerners. Old Chinese women in red coats and red handkerchiefs wrapped around their heads pushed carts loaded with towers of steaming bamboo baskets or rattled past with stacked ceramic plates. Hidden inside the covered baskets were mysterious dumplings; the plates were loaded with noodles, greens, and croquettes.
The islands in the Gulf of Thailand are world famous and travelers flock to them in droves. Though activities for visitors are endless on Koh Tao and Koh Samui, one of the great features of the islands is its restful retreats. The question is: how does one escape the crowds and find the best accommodation?