For my final post on our trip to Chiang Mai, I am going to share with you that delightful city’s greatest delight.
Gianni de Burchio Italian restaurant.
Gianni de Burchio Italian restuarant Chaing Mai
Yes, yes, temples, markets, Thai food. All part of Chiang Mai’s endless charm. But Gianni de Burchio…well.
MJ and I stumbled across this place on our first afternoon in Chiang Mai and pizza sounded pretty tasty. Oh how I underestimated Gainni de Burchio! The pizza was sensational! Maybe some of the best pizza I’ve…ever…eaten. I know, I’m as shocked writing that as you are reading it.
There are a surprising number of pizza shops in Chiang Mai, and I believe I saw two that claimed to have the best pizza in town. I wonder if it could have been better than Gianni de Burchio? I can’t tell you because when we felt like eating pizza again…we went straight back to Gianni de Burchio.
Our second lunch was quite a bit lengthier and involved much more alcohol (and very strong coffee). In the interest of full disclosure, Gianni, who runs the restaurant with his wife, plied us with booze while feeding us things like homemade ricotta and lasagne that, you guessed it, was some of the best lasagne I’ve ever eaten. No offense to the people in my life who make delicious lasagne (you know who you are), but this was….almost as good as yours!
MJ and I have good traveller’s luck. I’m basing this on two key pieces of evidence:
- Nothing really terrible has ever gone wrong when we’ve travelled together (unless you count the blizzard in Western Turkey that had us stranded in an old hotel without electricity, heat, water, food and money)
- We arrived in Chiang Mai just in time for the famous annual Borsarng Umbrella festival! It only happens one weekend a year, so the timing actually was pretty great.
Read more about the Borsarng Umbrella festival* and TURN GREEN WITH ENVY!
No really, it was a really nice way to spend one of our precious few days in Chaing Mai.
“What happens at an Umbrella Festival?” I hear you ask. Well, it’s pretty simple actually. You look at umbrellas, take photos in special umbrella displays with stools for perfect photo poses, eat (it is Thailand after all), shop at the market (it is Thailand after all), and watch the parade of umbrella girls on bikes. Oh, you also watch performances of kids doing traditional Thai dances…with umbrellas!
This is what it looked like.
One especially pretty umbrella
Umbrella girls on bikes
Sarah standing by an umbrella-filled wagon
* The website includes a rather interesting history of the umbrella (the name of which comes from the Latin word Umbra or Shade.)
During MJ’s stay we decided to take a long weekend in Chiang Mai.
We spent four days wandering, eating, reading and sleeping (I slept A LOT), which seems to be what Chaing Mai is all about. We both loooooved Chiang Mai and were visions of peace and tranquility after a relaxing weekend there. I was especially grateful for the cleaner air in Chiang Mai.
I’ll write separate posts about the highlights of Chiang Mai, but first — some random photos from our wandering.
Emerald Buddha Temple, Chiang Mai
Another temple in Chiang Mai - really should have taken note of which one was which...
Old man and an umbrella - these captions are shameful
Mae Nam Ping River - Chiang Mai
Monks airing their laundry - Wat Ketkaram
Wat Ketkaram - Chiang Mai
Wat Ketkaram - Chiang Mai
MJ at Wat Ketkaram - Chaing Mai
The best taxi driver ever just drove me home. As soon as I got in the cab he asked me where I was from. When I told him Australia, he responded with boxing kangaroo! We laughed about this for a bit and then he said kangaroos in Australia are like dogs in Thailand! I don’t know why but I found this extremely witty and started laughing heartily, and the driver joined in. So we were driving along laughing about not all that much, in a slightly manic way, and occasionally the driver would add something like in Thailand dogs run in front of the car, in Australia it’s kangaroos! (it’s funny because it’s true).
When the giggles died down we chatted a bit more and he taught me a couple of new words. Then we got to traffic lights. In Bangkok the traffic lights count down, so you know how much longer you have to wait for the red light to turn green, or how much time you have to get through the intersection before the green light goes red again. As the red counted down, the driver started counting down in English, and I joined in, counting in Thai. As you can imagine, the giggling became uncontrollable and as we got nearer to the green light.…4…3…2…1…BLASTOFF! (imagine us both making rocket noises here)
Apparently some things are universal.
The best taxi driver in Bangkok’s name is Mr Arun Pruksapong and he hires out his seven seat cab for day trips (2500 baht per day if I recall correctly). He can be contacted on 086-6333-885.