Market people watching in the mornings, I occasional hang out at Nu Nu Nini’s Coffee Time a corner cafe opposite the outside market of the famous daily Chiang Mai Market by the south gate of the moat at Chiang Mai Gate. The outside morning market selling clothes is all packed up before the day starts to get really hot and humid. So by 10.30am it’s empty. So I sit there and just watch people getting on with life. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it’s sunny but mainly it’s overcast.
Rainy monsoon season in Cambodia can be the best time to visit. The countryside become lush and green and loses the brown dusty look it has in the dry season. The monsoon season usually starts May through to November. This year 2016 it was late and a drought set in. Many villages were without water and NGO’s started to supply daily bottled water until the rains began.
The rains announce themselves by producing strong winds and swirling tornadoes of dust forming, fast moving clouds form in the angry grey sky and then a single drop of rain before the torrents. No time to get indoors.
Headed down south taking the Giant Ibis overnight bus to Phnom Penh than another 2 hours later onto Kampot. It’s a quiet riverside sleepy town famous for Kampot pepper. Nothing much happens here. The pace of life is slow, people go about their business slowly. There’s not even much traffic. Not many tourists, some expats, but not really too much to see. So walking around town seeing the empty roads, walking along the promenade and sitting watching the beautiful sunsets and generally being lazy is the call of the day.
I found a small hotel near the river and the only 2 streets with anything happening and had a pleasant few days visiting the market, walking the streets and catching up with the locals.
I met a desperate old lady sitting on the floor of the market begging. I believe she was genuine begging from her own people so bought her some bananas and gave her some Reils (Cambodia currency). She was absolutely thrilled and graciously thanked me with a bow whilst holding her hands together.
Transport and taxi services were typical of the ‘peasant’ people of the countryside. A type of motorised cart to transport many people at one time. I’m always amazed at the ingenuity of the people of this country. No matter how old or how broken they will still find a way to reuse, recycle, something other countries could follow by example. In a country where more people have almost nothing their ability to be creative is inspiring.
Favourite time was sunset and just watching the sun disappear behind elephant mountain and the cloud formations.
Night markets are not just for tourists. Lots of locals also while away a few hours browsing at the array of different items to buy, or go to eat or maybe a massage. The most popular in Chiang Mai are the Night Bizarre, Walking Street (every Saturday) and Sunday Market. Whole streets and areas are suddenly taken over by stall holders. Everything becomes colourful and buzzes with life. Set up starts around 5pm. At exactly 6pm everyone stops in their tracks as the national anthem is played extremely loudly through speakers which make my hearing aids crackle. It’s a bizarre experience as it’s like time has suddenly frozen. Only the Chinese choose to continue walking around and talking not even noticing what’s happening around them.
Who’s at the market…
What to buy…