After a few days of getting settled in Chiang Mai we decided that today it was time to have our first night market experience.
So far we have spent lots of time out during the day soaking up the sun and then retreating to our apartment at night to get some work done. We’ve walked up and down the main road to town at least once a day since we arrived but today was the first time we have seen it in the dark.
It looks like a completely different place!
When we first arrived we were doubting our decision to stay outside of the town centre as it didn’t seem like there was much going on in our quiet residential street, but today we realised that it only comes to life after dark.
Shops that are normally closed are now filled with locals. There are carts all over the place selling food that smells amazing and we even discovered a mall (with KFC!) that we’ve never noticed before. There are plenty of bars and restaurants heaving with locals which indicate that the food is good and the hotels along the road look beautiful when lit up.
There are loads of tuk tuks and songthaews parked along the road waiting to take people into town but there’s so much going on down here that we really don’t need to venture far for a good night out. This apartment is getting better by the second.
Tonight though was all about visiting Anusarn night market. We stumbled upon it yesterday afternoon when everything was closed and made a mental note to stop by to check it out. It’s immediate draw is the Irish bar at the entrance which screamed “home” and was closed when we passed yesterday. For this reason, we made a beeline for it as soon as we hit the market, and we were not disappointed.
Oddly, O’Malley’s the Irish bar is staffed entirely by Thai locals, though I imagine the owner is Irish as the inside is very authentic. From the moment we stepped inside we felt like we were back home in London (yes, we drink too much) and seeing all the English people inside drinking Magners, playing pool, eating fish and chips and rocking out to Maroon 5 was a really nice surprise! We’re really enjoying being in Thailand but it’s so nice to know that home isn’t so far away after all.
Food and drink is pretty expensive at O’Malley’s, our two drinks were £7.40, and this is quite different to the local stuff we’ve been drinking up to now which costs around £1 for two drinks, but it’s worth it for the imported taste of home. We didn’t eat there as we wanted to eat market food but I can see us returning for food soon!
Oh hello, Cider!
We stayed for one drink and by this point I was dying to get out to the market as from my seat at the glorious bar I could see that it was really livening up.
In comparison to the market we went to yesterday (the Sunday walking market) Anusarn is pretty small but it still has plenty of stalls selling everything from cheap clothing to jewellery and there’s even some fair style games to play.
One great thing about Thailand that has come as a big surprise is that the locals never pressure you to buy anything. After visiting other countries and being hounded to buy things we expected the same here but we’ve come to learn that the Thai are pretty shy. Apparently they don’t like to be embarrassed and because of this they go out of their way to avoid embarrassing others and so even if you do opt to get into a haggling war, they’ll talk quietly and try not to draw attention to the both of you. It makes visiting the markets here so much nicer which is great because there are so many markets to visit and they’re a huge part of the culture here.
In the end we bought a couple of trinkets and then did what we do best, hit the food stalls. We bought vegetable spring rolls, spicy chicken and Thai noodles plus two drinks (iced coffee and a mango smoothie) and this became our most expensive meal yet at BHT 210 / £4.20. Next time I’m ordering from the Indian stall across the street – chicken vindaloo and garlic naan for £1.50 is calling my name!
It’ll have to wait a few days though – tomorrow we are going to a Thai cooking class and will be dining on the spoils of the 10 dishes we are making for days. I’ll be sure to write all about it so you can see just how bad my cooking is, even after a lesson! 🙂