On our second day in Chiang Mai, we decided to head out to the jungle surrounding the city. While we'd looked into elephant sanctuaries, the only really ethical ones are booked up months in advance, and our last minute planning left us high and dry (we did see a lot of very sad looking elephants toting tourists up the roads through the trees). Instead, we gave zip-lining a try. And we were somewhat nervous ^^
It was a beautiful way to see the landscape from the tree tops and speeding 500 metres across waterfalls and ravines!
And it proved to be only mildly terrifying in the end.
Mid-afternoon was spent wandering between a few temples in the centre of town, and dozing in preparation for our evening cooking class!
Chiang Mai is often called the food capital of the north, and with good reason. I don't think I've ever seen such an abundance of ingredients and flavours. I love Japanese food, but the understated subtlety of a cut of fish, or the texture of a perfect bowl of rice, can't quite compare to the freshness and zing of eating in Thailand.
We signed up for a class at the Zabb E Lee Thai Cooking School, run by the awesome Ann. We were picked up at our hotel and taken with a bunch of other eager beavers to the market, to learn about our ingredients. Ann was hilarious and had plenty of anecdotes to help us remember the names and flavours (plus an intriguing story about her ex-boyfriend and current cook school rival...)
After some shopping we chose our menus an got to work, alternating between cooking and eating all night. The kitchen was perfectly set up for a group.
|Grinding ingredients for the curry|
|Thai Green Curry|
|Tom Yum Kung, my favourite|
We also made spring rolls and ate ourselves into a food coma, sipping beer and chatting with our fellow students. As we ate under a bamboo roof a sudden, violent thunderstorm passed over; lightning crashed and water coursed across the pavements. Afterwards the air was fresh and the city smelled like a jungle - so atmospheric. The cook school was one of the best things about our trip, so definitely check it out if you're in Chiang Mai!