Breakfast! I’m starving because, as I knew I would, I was dreaming about that Khao Soi Chicken all night! Luckily, not far from the hotel is a cute little bakery with a breakfast to satisfy even the hungriest of people. In fact, the breakfast consisted of so much food, that Erin and I needed two tables to put it all on! Juice, coffee, fresh bread with jam and butter, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, ham and salad. Whoa!
Just as well today is a free day and Hannah, Erin and I have decided to hire bikes to explore the old town and work off some of that breakfast. We hook ourselves up with some bikes from a bikeshop down the road and head for the Old Town. Here, there are lots of little alleyways with cool street art and funky cafes and the streets are relatively quiet to cycle around.
The Old City is still bounded by the remains of a 600 year old moat and fragments of the old city walls, which give it a unique atmosphere to explore. Many old cities in Thailand were walled, however Chiang Mai’s is one of the only ones remaining.
After cycling around for most of the morning, it’s time for a rest. So what better than to stop for a massage by ex-Prison Ladies. I must admit I was sceptical at first, but it had been a while since I’d ridden and a massage would be brilliant right about now, as well as offering a chance to get out of the heat.
Set up by a former director of Chiang Mai’s Women’s Prison, Lila Thai Massage provides employment opportunities for women that would otherwise find it hard to work elsewhere, with discrimination against former prisoners rife, as it is in most societies. Once the women leave prison, they are screened and put through an intensive training program. There are a couple of centres like this in town, so if you rock up at one and told that you have to wait, or they are full for the day, try another.
An hour’s worth of foot massage and reflexology under the cool of a circulating fan and I’m feeling good as new.
After lunch nearby with Hannah, I’ve had enough cycling for one day, my pants are sticking to me like glue and I need a shower. An afternoon nap may even be in store.
Dinner is back at Anusan, I wonder why? Cause we gotta try the Khao San Pork! And of course the mango and sticky rice, which is also a favourite of Chiang Mai. Verdict? The pork is good, but it’s winner, winner, chicken dinner! The mango is great, but I’m not a huge fan of putting it with rice. I was glad to give it a go though.
Now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for…Cabaret Night! This is where Chiang Mai’s prettiest ladies (or rather ladyboys) come to shine. The makeup is done to perfection and the costumes are fabulous. Girls parade the stage, belting out tunes from Arianna Grande, Rihanna, Gloria Gaynor and more. Some are better at lip-syncing than others but it’s a brilliant show full of colour and dazzle. Even the guys from the audience that get ‘dragged’ up on stage end up loving it. You definitely should not miss this if you are in town.