Simply Can’t Resist Another Few Days in Chiang Mai
Saying goodbye to Pai was tough. We enjoyed our six night stay in Pai so much that we were hesitant to book our bus tickets back to Chiang Mai. Although, the time had come and we knew we should get back to Chiang Mai so that we could make our way to our next destination; the lesser known South-East Asian country of Laos.
Arriving back in Chiang Mai was refreshing to say the least. We had left Chiang Mai with the thoughts that we wouldn’t be making it back there as we had originally planned to enter Laos from the north. As usual plans changed and we decided that we would cross an alternative border in to Laos. It would take quite a few hours of bus travel in order to get there, but we were ready for the challenge. After arriving back at Arcade Bus Station in Chiang Mai we booked our tickets to Udon Thani. From Udon Thani we would need to switch buses and get to Nong Khai which is the border town of Thailand and Laos. Boy was this going to be quite the journey.
After purchasing our tickets two days ahead we headed back to our favorite area in Chiang Mai (Loi Kroh Rd). We booked into a place that we had been previously interested in the last time we were here. The Wild Orchid Guesthouse – 400 baht/night ($13 USD) is located on Loi Kroh Road two steps from an excellent restaurant (Chiang Mai Saloon), a Muy Thai boxing arena, the Kelare Tourist Market, and enough massage parlors to keep you pampered for the next few years. The rooms were clean, the bed was comfortable, the staff was pleasant, and the A/C was freezing. Can’t forget to mention that our room had cable TV and free Wi-Fi all included in the price.
Liz was on a mission to catch some rays so we headed down to the Centara Duangtawan Hotel which we had passed on many occasions while strolling down Loi Kroh Road. This time we stopped in to find out if non-guests could use the pool and fitness center for a fee and we found out that for 400 baht/day non-guests could purchase a fitness center/pool pass at Centara. Quite expensive if you ask me, but Liz was feigning to exercise and sunbathe for the day so she jumped on the opportunity and enjoyed her day of sun and fun in Chiang Mai. I eventually joined her at the pool a little later by just walking through the doors, heading up to the 4th floor and acting like I was supposed to be there. It was as easy as that!
Speaking of the Centara Hotel, I should mention that this place is an absolute steal at 1020 baht/night (roughly $33 USD) for a superior room. If you’re in the mood to splurge a little bit while in Chiang Mai, this would be the place to spend the dough in my opinion. Unfortunately we didn’t inquire about prices until the day before we were leaving otherwise we would have definitely booked a night or two there. Just getting a room for the night would be worth it considering the pool and the views from the rooftop were absolutely incredible.
Over the course of the next few nights we pretty much just strolled around town, ate at my favorite restaurant The Chiang Mai Saloon (highly recommended), and we even splurged one evening at a restaurant called Chez Marco. I went with the Spaghetti Cabonara and it was the best Spaghetti Cabonara that I’ve ever had. Liz enjoyed the appetizer special; Salmon Avocado Cake, and loved her meal of Pasta with Grilled Zucchini, Eggplant and Roasted Red Peppers. The total bill came to 660 baht ($21.44 USD) which included an appetizer, two big entrees, a glass of Reisling Wine, and a soda. Pricey for backpackers? Yes. Quite expensive for Thailand? Yes. Worth the money? 100 percent.