Chiang Mai is a beautiful city located in Northern Thailand. The food there was wonderful and moderately priced, and the shopping for traditional items were plentiful thanks to the night bazaar. We got to see many amazing sites that included temples, gardens and an elephant sanctuary.
We really enjoyed the relaxing and laid back feel of this city that is so rich in history and culture.
Where: Chiang Mai, Thailand
When: February 2015
Duration: 4 days, 3 nights
Flight: United Airlines (It takes about an hour from Bangkok)
Peak time to visit- January to March
Must see sights:
1. Fah Lanna Spa
- Tip- after 24 hours of traveling, getting a Thai massage was a great way to stretch and relax tired/achy muscles.
- Tip- This location is not close to the night market area, but they do offer free car service. If you are staying at an AIRBNB, walk to the nearest hotel for pick-up/drop-off
(Thai massage at the time cost us $7 USD- no shady business here)
2. Wat Phra That Doi Kham (Temple of the Golden Mountain)
(Stairs to get to the temple)
- Tip- if you are staying in the city, there are many tuk tuks that will offer a sightseeing ride where they will take you up the mountain to see the main highlights for a set price. They will drop you off, wait for you for about an hour (negotiable), and take you to the next stop.
- Tip- remember to start half way in price, and go up from there
- Tip- make sure to wear long pants and no sleeveless shirts. If you still forget, there are shopping stalls you can buy clothes from.
(Posing in front of the golden temple. No one has shoes on)
- Tip- bring small bills for donations and to light incense sticks for good luck
- Tip- wear socks because you will have to take your shoes off and going barefoot can be sticky and gross
(Statue on the property)
This is one of the royal family’s vacation home. It’s about 30 minutes past the Wat Phra templat, and it is easily accessible by tuk tuk. It has a nice garden with beautiful flowers on well maintained grounds.
(Garden in Bhuking Palace)
4. Wat Chedi Luang
- Tip- we took a shared tuk tuk ride down the mountain from the Wat Phra for cheap. Everyone hops on, and gets dropped off at the main sights along the city.
5. Baanchang Elephant Park
This experience was unforgettable. You get to spend a day with the elephants feeding them, riding them/taking them for a walk, and bathing them. Each elephant has his own personal mahout that is dedicated to the well-being of the animal.
(Feeding the elephants bamboo and bananas)
(Me and Kanika playing around)
- Tip- book in advance! This place books quickly
- Tip- if you don’t go with this place, make sure you go to a place that treats the elephant in a humane way.
- Tip- we learned in our orientation that the reason they are chained at times is b/c the elephants are territorial and would fight each other (they’re animals)
(Kanika heeling, so I can hop on)
- Tip- the tour provides clothing to wear. Note that there is no elephant seat when riding, so you’re going bare back. Make sure you wear shorts underneath for extra padding.
- Tip- You will get wet after bathing the elephants, but can take a shower at the end. Bring an extra set of clothes
6. Paak Dang Restaurant
For amazing food with a view, check out Paak Dang.
(Delicious meal- fried red snapper, and their curry house specialty)
- Tip- make sure to go a little before sunset to see everything in light and at night
- Tip- request a table outside on the back patio
7. Night Bazzar
(So many unique items to choose from)
- Tip- between Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket, here was definitely the best in value. Do your gift shopping in CM.
(Lady boys at the market)
Overall, I had a great time in Chiang Mai, and can’t wait to go again.