We couldn’t decide whether we should rent a car or stick to taxis, walking or tuk-tuks to get around. After spending two nights in Bangkok the idea of navigating the city in a rental car, or rental anything, didn’t seem as liberating as it originally sounded. We arrived in Chiang Mai still trying to comprehend the amount of mopeds we had seen gliding through traffic in Bangkok. It was impressive, there were mopeds everywhere, like, EVERYWHERE. And there were moped drivers in suits, in slippers, entire families on mopeds, mopeds carrying T.V.s, printers, groceries, furniture and more! And still, I’m sure that only scratches the surface.
Now, we live in Honolulu, which is ranked one of the top 10 cities with the worst traffic, and we’ve driven in different parts of Mexico so it’s not like we haven’t seen craziness on the road. But this!? The never-ending amount of zooming, zipping and all around mad driving skills between mopeds and cars had us in awe. We were convinced we should focus on enjoying our trip without the distraction of having to learn to drive on the left side of the road and/or among fearless moped drivers, which I have mad respect for.
But then we arrived in Chiang Mai. The drive from the airport to our hotel was only about ten minutes, all the time we needed to fall in love with the city. Before we finished unpacking we forgot about our traffic trauma in Bangkok and decided that we absolutely needed to rent a moped.
I tried convincing the husband that I needed my own moped because of the future motorcycle gang I plan to join one day, “it’ll be another thing I can add to my street credit resume” I told him. Eventually though I realized my love-at-first-sight with Chiang Mai would distract me from keeping my hands on the wheel, or rather handle bars, while driving around the city. The next morning we picked up our moped only minutes away from our hotel. I said good-bye to my expectations of having a good hair day, put on my helmet, slung my camera bag across my chest and tightly wrapped my arms around Eddie. “You ready?” he’d ask before taking off. I’d kiss his left shoulder blade and double tap his thigh with my right hand, “let’s do this” I’d say. “Just please don’t crash, I have my camera with me, and also I’M precious cargo so please be care…oh and on second thought, I should have gotten my own moped….blah blah blah…”
And so we explored Chiang Mai on our moped. Me ohh-ing and awe-ing at every corner and Eddie navigating the streets like a pro (except for that one time he turned on the wrong side of the road and that one time we almost fell off our moped after making a sharp right turn and also that one time we ran out of gas). All street credit talk aside, we truly enjoyed riding around in our moped and exploring the healthy eats around the beautiful city.
The amount of restaurants, roadside shops and food carts were never ending, it was amazing! There were so many healthy-vegetarian-vegan friendly options in Chiang Mai that we would need months to be able to explore them all. Thai cooking focuses on of fresh ingredients, fat from coconut milk, raw fruit and lots of vegetables, it’s definitely possible to eat healthy/clean/vegan in Thailand, especially Chiang Mai, so I was a happy girl.
I discovered my love for mango with sticky rice while in Chiang Mai…
1 US dollar= 35 Thai Baht. Less than a dollar for coconut!!!…
We ended up at Amrita (not traditional Thai food) twice during our four day-stay in Chiang Mai and if time permitted I would have eaten there many, many more times. From all of the places we tried it was definitely my pick for the best vegan restaurant in Chiang Mai!
Click below for more Thailand posts…