Having no plans ever is quite strange, but is often the case when you’re traveling long term. There had pretty much been one date in our calendar since we left the UK and that was the date that Tom’s parents would be arriving in Goa, where we would meet them for some r’n’r and family time by the sea at the end of their 3 week adventure around India. We did however decide on two things pretty early on. The first was that 5 days with the fam was not enough and the second was that there needed to some element of surprise to our time together. This combined with the fact that we LOVE MUMBAI meant we decided to fly into India early and meet Chrissie and Nig 5 days earlier than they were expecting, at the airport in Bombay.
We were both so excited and were seriously counting down the days until we got to see Tom’s parents Aside from the fact that we missed them and were excited to catch up and have massive hugs, we really couldn’t wait to experience India with them. They had been sending us regular whatsapps with wonderful photos of places they had been, all the while we were pretending to still be in Malaysia.
Chiang Mai was a very new kind of experience for us. Coming from India, where real life is always happening around you and everything will keep ticking over with or without you, we had anticipated that things would feel different in a place where the tourist trail is neatly pruned and waiting for you. Bangkok had been everything we had expected. Loud, mostly good fun and pretty exhausting. With Chiang Mai, we didn’t know what to expect. We headed there because everyone said it was nice and the food was great (ok, ok, what we actually heard was that there were vegan cinnamon rolls there). But to be honest, at this point in our trip we still weren’t entirely sure what our idea of a “nice” place to visit was.
Chiang Mai is a walking city and there are loads of things to see, in particular, a lot of beautiful temples. The streets are lined with artwork and the choice of food is overwhelming!
We stayed in an absolute dream of a place called Kittawan Home & Gallery, which we found on air b’n’b. Our host Non was one of the most accommodating we’d met in Thailand. He and his girlfriend, an architect who designed the whole place were just wonderful people. They went out of their way to prepare us a special breakfast, which we enjoyed in their beautiful garden. Our room was luxuriously minimal and clean, with a shower we would have killed for at various times during our travels around India.
Almost 4 months into our trip and we had made it to Southeast Asia. We had never intended to visit Thailand, but the flights were cheap and the weather was meant to be good, so we took a punt on the most touristic country in Asia.
The first meal we ate in Thailand was Indian. Yep, after spending almost three months in India, our first night out in Bangkok was spent at an Indian restaurant.
We arrived in Bangkok pretty late. We were a bit knackered and a bit all over the place and we needed to find food. We hadn’t eaten on the plane and we were starving.
But we could not find food.
It was around 10pm and everywhere that could have potentially served us an animal-less meal was closed. We had asked our Uber driver to take us to a Loving Hut (vegan restaurant chain) which was shut and also happened to be a bit out of the way. Unfortunately he spoke absolutely no English and despite our best efforts to communicate that the place was closed by using google translate, he kept driving around in circles looking for it. We passed the restaurant again and again. Through a series of meaningless hand gestures and over-articulated English words, we tried to ask if he could just take us somewhere else that might have veggie food. This attempt also failed. We ended up at a beef stew joint.
We were starting to get hangry.
Eventually though, we communicated through the magic words “seven eleven”.
There are 8,334 Seven Elevens across Thailand, so finding one nearby was a breeze. All of them have a wide selection of healthy (and horrendously unhealthy) snacks, so we filled a basket with all the nice things we could find.
After guzzling down various seeds and dried fruits, we turned to google with a clear head. It was then that we found Araaya’s restaurant. After calling them and making them promise not to close before we got there we set off.
The food was delicious and being that it was now about 11pm, we ate it in record time.
OK, so we took a lot of photos in Mumbai, because we did a lot of stuff. To keep things simple, we’ve grouped them together under headings beginning with…you guessed it….M.
Whenever we arrive somewhere new, we love to visit the local markets. They are always bursting with colourful and sparkly things. Mumabai’s markets are no exception. Here are a bunch of photos we took in and around them.