It's our last night in Chiang Mai, our next stop after Bangkok. It's much busier than I expected, but it's still a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Our first day here we spent the day cooking and eating at the Thai Farm Cooking School. We started with a visit to Ruamchook Market -- I could have stayed here for hours gazing at (and tasting) the culinary offerings. Turns out the folks in Chiang Mai are huge fans of pork rinds among other fried delights, and they're sold in sizes ranging from a small sack to a bag the size of a large pillowcase. Next we were off to the farm for an orientation to Thai ingredients, many of which are grown on-site, and an all-day cooking lesson. Note to friends and family -- there will be some Thai dinners at my place in your future. If I can find all the ingredients, I"ll even make my own curry paste. This day was a major highlight of my trip, not surprisingly.
Today we spent more time in the countryside -- if I ever come back to this part of the world, I hope to spend much more time exploring the countryside, including hikes in the mountains and perhaps some cycling in some of the flatter regions. My favorite part of the day was a peaceful and relaxing ride down the Ping river on a bamboo raft, with a stunning mountain view in the distance. And now, we're off to seek out some khao soi for dinner -- the local specialty. Tomorrow we'll be heading to Doi Suthep before flying to Phuket and traveling to our final destination, an island called Koh Naka Yai.
It's looking more and more like you'll have to wait for the pictures. Don't worry -- they're worth it!