Chiang Mai Streetlife & Wararot Market

On our third day in Chiang Mai, I again awoke early and headed out to tend to some business on my own. I figured it was time to make the pilgrimage back to a very special place.

Yep. Wawee Coffee. You’d never guess it by the name, but this place has some of the best foofy Iced Coffee anywhere — strong, just the right amount of ice and dairy to make it rich, and not an overabundance of sweetness.

My only issue with them is also something that has endeared me to them for four years: they put their iced coffees in this really nice collector-style plastic cups that I’m sure generally end up in a burn pile or landfill. I’m using my latest as a flatware organizer:

Four years ago, there wasn’t a huge variety of coffee shops in Old Town. There were Wawee and Starbucks, along with a bunch of Euro-style cafes. I liked the ambience at Wawee and the coffee as well. In a time when free WiFi was hard to come by and 3G was still in its infancy, Wawee was a Godsend for blogging. I was able to get caught up a bit there and even saved my original cup long after we left. I don’t know if I ended up having to leave it in DC or Belize, at some point we had to part ways. But I’m long over it and have a new cup to cherish and to pass down to my son. His entire inheritance should fit nicely in there.

On a somewhat related note…

Leaving Wawee to return to my slumbering family, I found this placard above the toilet. Hilarious yes, but hardly a joke here. You’d be amazed what people do when confronted by a Western toilet for the first time! (though I’d probably be able to create an equally-appalling placard representing my own personal transgressions in using Asian-style toilets over the years.

And…still sleeping. Just what I like to see. Actually, I like to see him up and happy of course, but I’ve grown to appreciate the infant in repose — though I really can’t complain, the dude sleeps 8-10 hours straight each night and naps for 1-2 hours at regular intervals throughout the day, despite all that we’ve thrown at him. We keep trying to screw him up, but so far have miserably failed. There’s always tomorrow, I guess.

What people do with their “junk” here is pretty amazing. And mind you, this is not some “third-world” neighborhood. This is in the heart of the fairly affluent Old City. People just reuse their refuse around here.

And now, on to the Holy Grail of savory breakfast goodness. Chiangmai Breakfast World German Beer Garden.

Folks, in terms of breakfast, it does not get better than this. If you had two days left to live (preferably 72 hours if you are coming from the States, because you’re going to lose one of those days crossing the International Date Line…), get on a plane, fly to Chiang Mai, and get a tuk tuk straight to this place. Trust me, no regrets.

When Lori and I were here in 2012, breakfast was included in our room rate, which was both a blessing and bummer. On the one hand, we were on a super tight backpacker budget, so anything we don’t have to pay for is welcome. However, the breakfast pretty much sucked. We got our calories for the morning, but knew we were missing out on lots of amazing breakfast options…like Chiangmai Breakfast World. This time around, breakfast was not included, so we made good use of that dining slot in our day. Very good use, if you ask me. And cheaper than anything comparable in Vientiane (though we haven’t found anything quite comparable to this place, and probably won’t).

Another stroll down Tha Phae Road. This visit, we seem to be wearing a path down this road. Last time, we didn’t even venture east of Thapae Gate. It’s certainly very different in this section of town, though wats are still as plentiful.

Occasional reminders of what Chiang Mai looked like in the not too distant past, before concrete and utility laid claim to the world’s cities.

Today, we’re on our way to Warorot Market (Kad Luang). Unlike the Sunday Night Walking Market, or the Night Bazaar, Warorot is a local market — by and for locals. Well, that might be an oversimplification, because there are a lot of local Westerners living here, and Warorot is technically in the heart of Chiang Mai’s Chinatown, and undoubtedly has a lot of Chinese influence. Few visitors would consider Chinese goods, local goods, even though the Chinese have deep roots in this city. All that to say, you won’t find “Same Same, But Different” t-shirts or five-foot tall bamboo giraffe lights here. But you’ll find pretty much everything else.

Guan Yu Chinese Shrine.

Warorot Market!

The food court in the basement, and hill tribe handicrafts.

A bird’s eye view of one of the stalls — note the proprietor’s space and storage in the middle.

Thai wha…?

I have no idea what’s going on in the magazine below it, either.

Leaving Chinatown.

Noe’s been wanting to hold mommy’s finger while sleeping in the carrier lately. Adorable, right? Except for the death grip making your finger fall asleep and the tiny little nails leaving track marks — and don’t even think about needing that hand. One slight move of that finger unleashes the full fury of the fiery dragon. Still adorable?

The dragon, himself…

Looking particularly Irish at this particular Irish Pub back in Old Town. Irish Pubs do that to people, I guess.

Oh, the UN Irish Pub. Guinness on draft, of course, which I just had to get. Lori got a Thai Iced Tea, which ended up being the perfect pairing for the occasion.

In closing, I leave you with these stickers posted in the reception of our guesthouse. If anything, please make sure you heed the one on the right. If you’ve ever been exposed to one, you’ll know why.

3 thoughts on “Chiang Mai Streetlife & Wararot Market”

  1. So can you explain that sign?

    Love the pictures and stories of the Little Dragon. LOL!

  2. Haha! Love that tiny dragon!

  3. Fun but you will have to explain that last comment!

    Hugs to all of you!


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