Here’s a summary of my Day 2 in Chiangmai:
Breakfast at Ibis Hotel – Exploring Nimmanhaeminda district – Maya Lifestyle Mall – Convenience store dinner.
Breakfast at Ibis Hotel
Breakfast was ok in terms of the spread and taste, but there wasn’t much variation in the dishes served during the 2 days I stayed there. Cereals became my staple at the buffet counter – I’ll have at least 2 servings of them every morning. (◡‿◡✿)
They also have a salad bar, but it didn’t look too appetizing because there were houseflies guarding those veggies and the sauces were slightly cross-contaminated with other sauces…
Maya Lifestyle Mall
Maya Lifestyle Mall is the newest and largest mall you can find in the whole of Chiangmai, probably the most accessible one as well. During the day, it’s almost like a ghost town – very few customers, stores are largely empty (at least from the Ground floor up).
Stores there are just largely the same few that you can find in most malls – sportswear shops, makeup, skincare, some jewellery/accessories. Of course there are also some boutique clothes stores there, but limited in designs and choices. Chiangmai is seriously not the place for you to enjoy retail therapy, guys… (╯︵╰,)
The basement floor is slightly more interesting (at least for me). There is a fairly large Rimpings Supermarket, one of the largest supermarts you will be able to find in Chiangmai. They offer a good variety of local and northern thai specialties like sauces, marinades, special produce coffee and tea leaves. Prices here are comparable to most other supermarts in Bangkok, so I wouldn’t consider this pretty supermarket a marked-up touristy place.
If you are into home cooking, do remember to get some Northern Thai spices and pastes here because the variety in Chiangmai is really much greater (compared to Bangkok, which is not in the Northern Thai region)! Very very afforable, about SGD1.00 per sauce pack.
“Koh Kae” is also another store you should visit at the basement of Maya mall. They specialise in peanuts and they come in all sorts of flavours (wasabi, coffee, tom yum, chicken, original etc). The largest can of peanuts cost about 60THB, slightly above SGD2.00 but still worth the buy 🙂
Eateries are located on the top and basement floors of the mall. The top floor has a couple of restaurants and stalls, while the basement floor has a food court. You can check both out, but I find the basement floor has a greater variety of food. Price-wise, it’s also cheaper at the basement level!
The picture you see above is the Crispy Pork Yellow Curry (60THB) of the stall at the extreme end of the food court. Very well flavoured and the portion was generous as well.
In general, I do find Maya Lifestyle Mall a good place to enjoy the aircon (take a break from the insanely dry and hot Chiangmai weather) and spend any extra time. The only issue is that this mall might be out of the way for most people, since you do find that a large amount of hotels are concentrated in the Old City district and the fringe areas around it. It is still possible to walk in to this mall from the Old City – take the Chang Phueak Gate and move diagonally up (on the Chiangmai map) and you will definitely see the mall after 20 minutes of walking.
(I’ll embed the map I used, marked with the places I visited marked out in a later post!!!)
Exploring Nimmanhaeminda District
The most hilarious disappointment of all time in Chiangmai I guess?
We went to Chiangmai with the idea that Nimman will be a hipster area (that’s what the other online reviews mentioned), young people frequent that area, things are new, lots of cafes, a stark contrast to the older buildings/architecture in the Old City. Boy, we were so wrong XD
We had almost zero luck on the day of visit, because it was some special celebration/ day in Chiangmai so most shops were either closed or opened only for a few hours. This area in general is not what I would define “hipster-ish” hahaha. The shops were sparse along the many Nimmanhaeminda Roads / Soi (Lanes) – it appeared to be more of private housing in development + really old and big houses + some cafes + no pavements (just walking on the roads) + tiny backpacker hotels here and there. (=ω=;)
Despite the boring-ness from the sparseness of shops and cafes in Nimman, I do really love this store. They sell a seriously wide assortment of ceramics, ranging from candles and incense holders to plates and cups, and even soap bottles! Prices are quite ok, 50THB onwards, and a perfect place to get some unique souvenirs home. (Elephant sauce dishes there are super cuteeeeee! (≧ω≦)
If you do ever want to check out the Nimman area, Think Park should definitely be on your list. This artsy place is just opposite Maya Lifestyle Mall (take the main entrance), very prominent because of the sheer amount of people compared to the surrounding area. At the point of visit, they were having some art bazaar where people sold handmade stuff, some clothes and had mini-cafes.
Convenience Store Dinner
Because we were so bored and decided to head back to the hotel and get some rest hahaha. Instant noodles are crazy cheap there (~15THB per cup) so we just grabbed them without thinking too much lol. And since I tried all of them I’m gonna do a short review here XD
Rice Vermicelli Clear Soup MAMA Brand:
Peppery taste, and even though it says that this isn’t hot, it’s still a little hot from the heap of pepper powder in the soup base. Vermicelli didn’t turn out too nice, because it was all limp and slightly sticky from soaking in the soup (texture wasn’t ideal).
Tom Yum Shrimp Noodles MAMA Brand:
Everything you would expect from the perfect cup of tom yum instant noodles. Nicely flavoured soup base, spicy with a tang of spicy and sourness, very fragrant. Of course it’s nowhere near the actual Tom Yum Kung you get at an eatery/restaurant, but still… it’s good.
Tom Saab Noodles MAMA Brand:
All of you non-spicy food lovers should stay far, far away from this thing. Because if I found it spicy, its probably too much for you guys XD. I love spicy food btw. But this thing was just too overpowering. All I tasted was just: chilli, chilli, chilli, *cough cough cough*, some herbs that I can’t figure out, chilli, chilli, chilli. You can actually smell the spiciness from a distance.
Minced Pork Noodles MAMA Brand:
Good for the non-spicy food lovers, the pepper taste here is manageable and the clear soup base if pretty tasty.
And that was the end of my Day 2 in Chiangmai 🙂
I’m thinking of collating the resources I made/found on a separate post… Probably once I finish up the next 8 posts (for the next 8 days)!