Saturday, June 16, 2012

Night Market

First full day in Thailand, and I’m already loving it. :) Everyone on the program seems really awesome and it’s interesting to hear about everyone’s background and why they chose Thailand. Today I walked around the main street outside our hostel (Suthep) and got my first look at the Chiang Mai University campus where I’ll be studying. It seems like a beautiful campus and all around Suthep are street vendors with handicrafts and strange and exotic food. I tried a couple chicken skewers (gao) and a Thai iced tea (cha yen) and can already tell that I’m going to be in heaven here.

A first glimpse at the CMU campus
After a busy day getting to know most of the other students in the program and trying to orient myself to the new city (which is much, much larger than I was expecting), we finished the day off with a trip to the Sunday night market, an outdoor bazaar with several street packed with locals, tourists, and every type of vendor you can imagine – from fresh fruits and vegetables, to bamboo weavings, to original carvings and paintings, to Nikes and Ray-Bans. There were also villagers from various hilltribes playing instruments I had never imagined, caricature artists, and live performers. It seemed like a huge festival or holiday, but Chiang Mai has markets like this every night.

I practiced my new Thai with some of the street vendors and got some awesome deals on a couple of shirts and souvenirs. As soon as the vendors see you trying to speak Thai, they smile and lower the price. :)

I knew things would be cheap in Thailand, but I had no idea just how far a dollar could go here. I could easily spend under $5 a day here. To put some prices in perspective, here are some common expenses:

  • Typical Thai breakfast (Thai omelette, rice, and iced tea or coffee): $1.50
  • Fresh mango, sticky rice, and coconut milk: $1
  • Noodle soup with egg and pork: $0.75
  • Smoothie with fresh, exotic fruits: $0.60
  • Local beer, 1L: $3
  • Scooter day rental: $5
  • Taxi across town: $0.65-$1
  • An hour-long massage: $4
  • T-shirt at the market: $3
  • Laundry, wash, dry, and iron service: $4

I love Thailand. :)

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