Third installment of my CNX/BKK trip this holidays! It’s already 27th December here and looking at the date simply reminds me of how soon my hols are gonna be over T.T Totally not looking forward to the coming semester… Also received my results exactly a week ago and thankfully I did ok for the past semester (*phew*). One more semester before I leave for my exchange programme (hopefully I’ll get a spot in my first choice)! I also hope to get a DSLR before I leave for the one semester exchange programme because… FOOD! BUILDINGS! SIGHTSEEING! I really want a nice camera to capture those memories~
Okay so anyways. Back to Day 3…
Nap In Chiangmai (Hotel)
We shifted to a hotel closer to the old city, not super duper close (about 1km of walking from Tha Phae Gate). The hotels that are located within the Old City are considerably more expensive than those of similar scale and quality outside of the Old City, understandably because of the convenience and atmosphere there.
We chose Nap In Chiangmai (lazy to type the whole thing out, so just NIC)because it has a very prominent landmark almost next to it … Le Meridien Hotel Chiangmai. Lol. You might think that makes a really lame reason to stay in NIC, but for first timers like us, it really made our hotel a whole lot easier to locate.
NIC is just a really mini-hotel, I doubt they have more than 50 rooms in total, and just 4 stories tall – not easy to spot from a distance. Also, the road signs in Chiangmai aren’t exactly the easiest to read (especially at night). Having a visual reference of Le Meridien Hotel, which you can spot from a distance away due to the lighting and height of the building made it much easier to navigate ourselves back at night.
As I have mentioned, NIC is just a really small hotel. The lobby/reception desk of the hotel is strangely located on Level 2, so you will have to take the stairs right next to the 7-11 store on Level 1 (yes, 7-11 is just right below your hotel). Not very convenient for people like us carrying a huge luggage weighing close to 21kg.
- Convenient location, sufficiently close to Old City
- Relatively cheap
- Room is quite big (enough to accommodate 3 adults)
- 7-11 is just downstairs! (good for supper snacking)
- Poor staff attitude
- Milk tea/drinks at the lobby (complimentary) had already gone rancid, not sure if they replaced the drink after I left
- Room walls are super thin, you can hear the TV sounds from the room next door
- Staff don’t act on complaints (of ridiculously noisy neighbours) at all!!!
I’d rather walk a crazy long distance back to the hotel every night than stay in NIC again. Frankly speaking, IBIS Styles Hotel is a lot cheaper than NIC. And the service/recep/room is much better too. Since distance is the only issue, I think you can easily resolve this by taking those red truck taxis in and out of Old City.
Warorot is a must visit! It consists of individual stores selling many different things (ranging from dried goods to incense papers to food stalls). The air circulation/ventilation is surprisingly not too bad – I felt sufficiently cool in there lol. The market opens in the morning, but I think the best time to visit is about 11am Bangkok Time, since most stalls will be open and running by then. Any earlier and you risk having some stalls still closed/ not ready for business yet 😦
Also, I think the ground floor is the only floor that suits the tourists, since the floors above sell clothes, school uniforms and shoes – I guess not exactly the place you will imagine tourists shopping at.
Some of my recs at Warorot Market:
- Hor Mok (Thai Fish Custard)
- Khao Neeo Mamuang (Mango Sticky Rice)
- Sai Ua (Northen Style Sausages)
- Kao Kreab Pak Moa (Steamed Dessert with Salted Peanut Stuffings)
Hor Mok (Thai Fish Custard)
I got mine from this stall, by far the only one selling fish custard in the whole of Warorot Market. It was pretty hot when we bought it, perhaps because we went just in time for the stall opening.
Seasoned with Thai spices and curry, this Thai fish custard is easily one of the most memorable street food from this entire trip. It is served with a spoon – because this dish has the consistency of freshly made fish paste, holds together well and rich in gravy hidden all the way the bottom of the pandan leaf “case”. The fish custard also contains some cabbage, which I presume was stewed in the rich and tasty curry/spice gravy.
Price: Very affordable (duh), going at 20THB per piece. Trust me, one piece won’t be enough.
Location: Warorot Market, ground floor. It is pretty hard to give directions to this stall since I can barely locate myself in this market. You should see a drinks stall (with seats) and a couple of ladies making some rolled biscuits in the stall right in front of the drinks stall. Just look straight ahead at one of the stalls in front of this drinks stall and you’ll be able to find a man selling this, in a glass display cabinet.
Khao Neeo Mamuang (Mango Sticky Rice)
We were recommended by a local to try out this stall! As he waited to collect his 2 packs of Mango stick rice takeaway, in (broken) English he told us “Try! (points to the mega bowl of sticky rice) Good! Aroi! (thumbs up)”
Lol. After such strong recommendations given by him, we felt inclined to try it out. Turns out, it was really not bad at all! My favourite part of this mango sticky rice, and probably what sets it apart from other mango sticky rice is the rice crispies that were tossed at the top, after adding in a liberal amount of sweetened coconut milk. It is a nice addition to the usual kind of mango sticky rice that I have eaten (in Bangkok) – the overall texture is much better! (a nice contrast to the fragrant and sticky rice) You can also taste fragrance of pandan leaves which were cooked together with the sticky rice, so I must say that quite a lot of effort was put into preparing this delightful dessert 😉
They also sell other desserts:
Price: 50THB, about the average price you will see for mango sticky rice. Comes with a large handful of sticky rice, half a mango – pretty reasonable isn’t it? 🙂
Location: Warorot Market, ground floor. This is on the inside of the market, just the lane next to the one which is selling incense paper/prayer offerings. You will prominently see a pile of mangoes and a large basin with sticky rice at her stall!
Sai Ua (Northern Style Sausages)
A must try in Chiangmai. It is a northern Thai specialty, so I doubt there is a better place to try this other than at the place of its origin! I like my Sai Ua very herb-y and rich in spice, and spicy as well! Although I much preferred the one at the Sunday Market (can’t remember which stall), I would say this stall at Warorot Market is worth trying as well. It’s less spicy and a little less herb-y, which might suit some of your preferences better 🙂
Price: It’s by weight, I’m not too sure how much it costs per kg. You can get the store keeper to cut the loooooooong coil of sausage to your desired length. I think I paid about 50THB for mine (size was longer than my palm).
Location: Warorot Market, ground floor. This stall will be the easiest to spot among all the others, simply because of the amount of people queuing up. You will be surprised to find the number of locals doing their grocery shopping at this stall (they also sell curried dishes, other meats etc)! It’s located in the inside of the market again, where you find stalls packed into grid like lanes.
Kreab Pak Moa (Steamed Dessert with Salted Peanut Stuffings)
One of my favourites in the entire Warorot Market!!! This dessert is made from rice flour mixture, steamed on a piece of damp cloth. The mixture is also coloured with ingredients such as morning glory (gives the blue pigment) for the blue skinned ones. Salted crushed peanuts fillings are then added to the steamed rice skin while hot and folded into the shape of a dumpling. It comes in three colours (which all taste the same): white, green and blue. A box will usually consist of 3 of each colour, unless of course she runs out of a particular colour.
The best part about this is definitely how the crushed peanuts wrapped in the surprisingly thin rice skin combines with the fried garlic to give a wonderfully fragrant dessert. If the store keeper forgets to top your box with a bunch of chopped fried garlic, ASK FOR IT. The plain ones aren’t even as close in the overall flavour as the ones with the topping.
Price: 20THB for one box (of 9 pieces), super afforable snack to munch on as you explore the mini-food paradise called Warorot Market.
Location: Warorot Market, ground floor. Using the mango sticky rice stall as a reference point, this stall should be located just right down the lane (the mango sticky rice stall is closer to the centre of the market, while this steamed dessert stall is in the direction towards the outside of the market).
Phew, I wrote more than I expected for Warorot Market. Tomlumyai Market is just right opposite Warorot Market, so if you have the time you could always cross the road and visit this as well. Warorot Market has much more offerings for the tourist than Tomlumyai, simply because the latter is catered for locals who are buying their groceries (legitimate groceries I mean… like vegetables, fresh and alive fishes/seafood among others).
There are also some stalls selling cooked food such as noodles and rice (with seats available). Never tried them, but the environment is not the most pleasant to eat in – wet floors, dimly lit interior, air circulation was not too good as well. Anyways, if anyone does give it a try, do let me know!
Lert Ros Restaurant
If you havent already realised, restaurants in Chiangmai aren’t the kind of restaurants you see in malls or in more developed countries. Here, restaurants are about the same as eateries – non-airconditioned, interior design is minimal, usually with metal tables and chairs.
HEYYY! Don’t get put off by that imagery yet. Because the food here is SUPER GOOD, prepared on the spot (right before you, depending on your seat), and very affordable!!!
We ordered these dishes:
No regrets on our choices of dishes, because all of them were soooooo good. I really loved the “wok hei” of the stir-fried dish (translation: that super good taste from food that has been stir fried with a very well heated wok, strong fire and a good control of that fire).
Side-note: I think this restaurant is run by a family, and all the stall are very friendly! They have english translations on the menu and the young lady (I presumed to be daughter of the owners) speaks some english as well! The uncle doing most of the cooking on the outside/shop front is also very friendly, allowing us to take some pictures as he was cooking and thanking us so many times as we left the restaurant. 🙂
Location: It’s really near Tha Phae Gate. Make a right turn into the small lane when you see The Coffee Club. Keep walking for about 3 minutes and you should spot this restaurant!
Price: Most dishes cost about 70THB, with the exception of seafood and soups. Very very affordable.
And that was Day 3!