The luckiest thing that happened to us in Chiang Mai was that we happened to be there during the city’s annual Intakin Festival. It takes place over a week and celebrates the city’s guardian pillar at Wat Chedi Luang. It was going on May 17-23 this year, so every night we were there! At night, all these stall vendors lined Phrapokkloa Rd selling delicious treats. One vendor that we wouldn’t eat off of was the sushi vendor – not off the street in the hot weather!
What we did eat for dinner was delicious khao soi! Yay! We’ve also come to the conclusion that khao soi is definitely not as widespread as we thought. Only a few places have them (well, local places—not counting tourist restaurants). But we came across a street vendor selling khao soi at the festival. So good! Much better than the last one we had. Not as sweet and more curry flavor. Just $1 for the bowl, success!
At another one of the street stalls, Mike tried the fried larvae, ick! He saw Thais eating it, so he figured it was okay. I tried a couple too, tastes like fried crunchy things. Not bad, but I couldn’t eat more than two. Mike polished off the whole bag. Me? I got myself some Lanna Thai sausage of course.
Next door to the temple there was a small carnival set up. Everyone loves carnivals! It was really cute watching all these Thai families there playing carnival games and winning huge stuffed animals for the little kids.
Inside the Wat Chedi Luang temple complex, it was completely packed with people. You walk clockwise around a shrine and drop flowers and light candles along the way. The air was buzzing with energy and it was such a happy celebration.
There was one giant banyan tree that everyone was stacking with flowers. It’s said that the banyan tree acts as a solid foundation and if it were to ever fall over, Chiang Mai would surely fall after it. People were lighting candles (you get one for the day of the week you were born) and placing lotus buds at the chedi as well.
On the stage, there were lots of young girls performing: dancing, singing, and sword dances. Yes, sword dancing! They were so young and I’m sure the swords weren’t sharp, but still fascinating all the same. I could’ve watched the dancing for hours but I think Mike was getting bored. =)
This was probably most fun we had walking around Chiang Mai. It was nice to walk around surrounded by Thais instead of tourists and watch their celebrations.