The Thais have a very spiritual saying which they use at every possible occasion. I‘m pretty sure it goes back to the first monks trying to decipher the meaning of life. It‘s become a contagious mantra throughout the times and you won‘t spend a day in Thailand without hearing it at least once: Same same, but different.
It can be applied to everything: from fake jewelery matching the original brands look (it‘s the same appearance, but a „different“ maker), to boys who look like girls but are, well, not. And when you’re asked how you doing? Same same as before, but different, because it’s another day. It also works for Chiang Mai, a city that had all of the features we saw in Bangkok, and yet was entirely different.
Chiang Mai caters to everyone. Cooking classes, Muay Thai Boxing, massages, trekking the beautiful province, temples, ruins, bars, clubs, ladyboys and a variety of markets. Just like Bangkok (see Finding Bangkok). Minus the smog, the noise, and the most annoying of all touts who try to sell you cheap tourist crap. After almost drowning in the pesty capital and sweating our asses off in the jungle, Chiang Mai came like a resort, a real home. We stuck to it for longer than we had prepared to, roamed the streets like we were the only ones to ever visit this beautiful place, went out of town and in again and generally never wanted to leave again (we did, and we found even more charming places, although it was hard to believe).
With only a few thousand citizens, Chiang Mai is not a metropolis as we would usually portray here at Finding Berlin. But I’m skipping the size from now on– it doesn’t matter. When we roamed the 2 kilometer Sunday Walking Street market, I found myself back in the hustle of a Sundays Mauerpark Flea Market (see A Sunday Kind Of Love). The same clothes, the same crowds, the same music — but different time, different place, different people. Same same, but different. It never gets old.