Chiang Mai reminds me a little of Portland and maybe that is why I was so enamored with it. It's a slower pace, filled with happy & creative people, and surrounded with incredible mountains and natural beauty. I am so glad I choose to spend the largest chunk of my trip in this lovely city. I took many walks around the old town, surrounded by a moat and pieces of a crumbling old city walls and found a lot of beautiful treasures down little alleyways and I also got to go on some grand adventures from the city. I took an amazing cooking class at a local farm, visited tigers, and spent a day hanging out with elephants.
Gender has always been a topic that fascinates me & kathoey (aka ladyboy) culture is something I've read about and wanted to check out while I was in Thailand. I found out that there is a free cabaret show every night in the Anusarn night market that I was excited to check out. It was an incredibly fun show that the performers had obviously put a lot of time into with the amazing costumes and impressive choreography! I also made some new friends at the show and had a lovely time checking out the nightlife in Chiang Mai!
The next day, I ventured out to see Wat Phra That Doi Suthep - a gorgeous treasure high above the city of Chaing Mai in the mountains. I took songthrew up long, winding mountain roads with beautiful views the whole way there. Simply tell your driver you want to go to the temple and he will likely take you to a "bus station" where you can meet up with another songthrew that makes the daily route up to the temple for about 50 baht (less than $2). It's about a 20 minute drive, but it is well worth the effort. To reach the temple, you can choose to walk up 309 steps for free or pay a dollar to take a tram. The highlight of Wat Phra for me was the gorgeous views there and along the trip.
Overall, Chiang Mai was amazing I hope that I'll get to see it again someday!