We'd allowed extra time to get to the airport, as we'd seen plenty of traffic jams in the past week in Bangkok. No traffic jams today, and we arrived at the airport 4 hours early! It was too early to check in for our flight, so we relaxed for a couple of hours. Great people watching at the airport!
Check in was quick, and getting through security was even quicker! That was a little surprising to us, as we'd noticed a lot of security in Bangkok. At shopping centers and the subway there are airport type metal detectors, with bag checks at every entrance, and we noticed a heavy police presence in the Sky Train stations also. We assumed there would be heavy security with multiple checks at the airport, too.
After zipping right through security, we headed to our gate. We sat in some nice comfy chairs and waited to board. And waited, and waited.........our flight was delayed over an hour. We were flying with Nok Air, a budget Thai airline, and our one way tickets from Bangkok to Chiang Mai flight were only $35 each. Other than the delay it was a fine one hour flight, and we landed in Chiang Mai about 3:20 pm.
A very short wait for our luggage, an easy 10 minute ride to our hotel ($4) at here we are at the Parasol Inn!
Hmmmm...this is not the Ritz, for sure! But it was a bargain, at less than $45 a night, breakfast included. Check in quick and easy, the young lady at the front desk was sweet and welcoming. She escorted us up several flights of winding stairs to the the 3rd floor, apologizing for no elevator. Oh well, maybe the stairs will burn off some of those Thai beers and mojitos we're drinking!
Here's the pretty door to our room:
We hear some loud music and see many people gathered on the streets. It's a parade--they must have known we were coming, what a nice welcome! The parade started with several flag carriers:
And then several novice monks:
And after the lovely dancing ladies came some young men playing drums and dancing. They were really rockin' out, and obviously enjoying themselves:
they were followed by two very official looking gentlemen on a truck, we're pretty sure that sign says "Welcome to Chiang Mai Dave and Di" (but my Thai might be rusty??)
How lucky are we? Great timing. We did ask a couple of locals what the parade was for, and couldn't quite get a definitive answer. Maybe something about that monk having ascended to the 3rd level?? Regardless of the reason, it was a lovely and fun surprise.
After our parade, we settled into the Terrace Bar at our little hotel and enjoyed a nice cold Sing Ha beer.
We then roamed around the neighborhood, exploring a several block area, and looking for a likely spot for dinner. We chose a small restaurant right around the corner from us. We settled in, ordered a beer and a mojito. We were joined by a friend, he was in the lantern right on our table!
We had a nice, refreshing green papaya salad:
Tomorow in Charming Chiang Mai: A trip to the Warowot Market and explore a few temples.