3 days in the north of Thailand..Chiang Mai

Hello and welcome to my stories of Thailand. Today is for…Chiang Mai.

My first contact with Thailand was done in the north, with the wonderful Chiang Mai. It’s the only place in Thai where I felt the peace, maybe from the chill air 😛 (in the north expect to have chill evenings and mornings). It’s a tangled city, I had the sensation of a sort of labyrinth but also my orientation is a disaster. The surroundings are really wonderful, full of green and the good part is most of the trips are organized outside Chiang Mai.

What you need to be careful: to the taxi drivers, tuk tuk, sellers, travel agencies. The same as in all Thailand, these people are trying to get as much as possible money from you and if you don’t know the prices or how close or far are some tourist attractions you can be easily tricked, specially in the touristic locations like the ones in my itinerary.

Prices for accommodation, food, activities are smaller than in the rest of Thailand so it’s a very good stop to try a lot of activities and get a break from the hot temperatures. I suggest at least 4 days.

What you can do and I suggest to do as much as possible:

  • trip to Doi Suthep temple. It’s a temple high in the mountain, I would say very nice temple
  • White Water Rafting + Elephant Riding (1 hour). I choose The Peak Adventure Tour. They pick you from the hotel, take you with a minibus until up in the mountain where you start the rafting (it was not longer than 2 hours) after a short training. Lunch is provided also. It’s not the same with bamboo rafting when you stay on a bamboo piece of wood, so be careful when you choose the type of rafting you want. White rafting is the real rafting.
  • Cooking classes. Are costing around 600 baht (afternoon session) and the same as every trip they pick you from the hotel, you stop in the market to take a look to the vegetables and spices then you go to someone’s house  where everything is arranged to start cooking. It was one of my favorite activities I done in Chiang Mai. Of course, the food you prepare is your dinner 😛 and also you receive a small notebook with the recipes followed on the course.
  • SPA 🙂 Massage centers are everywhere and not expensive, but don’t expect to the spa experience in terms of quality, nice music, relax atmosphere. So I decided to try a bit o SPA, I choose Cheeva Spa. They came to pick us from the hotel, the place is looking quite nice, price not so low 1400 baht for 2 hours compared with the massage on the street but I enjoyed. About the massage, you need to know the traditional thai massage is done with clothes, it’s not an oil massage so if you prefer that one (as myself) pick the oil massage and not traditional thai massage. Also interesting is the Thai Herbal Hot Compress Massage, is done with some hot sponges on your skin. Try room couple if you’re in 2 and choose light massage if you have a sensible back. Strong means really strong.
  • visit the night bazaar to get souvenirs for home. You will find the same things over and over, most of them are looking cheap, but depends what you like of course. You need to negotiate and try over and over which can be a bit tiring if you are not the negotiator type. Restaurants,street food and massage centers are also there.
  • Tiger Kingdom. It’s close to the city and you can stay 10 mins with small tigers, medium and big. I thought should be very interesting to be able to touch tigers, stay so close to them. Only that the tigers are sedated or something because are very sleepy, they actually sleep while you stay with them. I didn’t have such a  good felling for going there.
  • Tribes Village. Good alternative if you don’t have time to go into the mountains to see the real tribe villages. This one is very close to tiger temple and people from the usual tribes such as Long Neck live there.They receive money to maintain the same lifestyle and habits.
  • visit the city..are 300 temples in it! And some look nice. Can you imagine I didn’t have time for this? I saw some of them just from the car 😦 Maybe next time.
  • Elephant trekking. Chiang Mai has a lot of elephant farms and you can choose a trip to walk with the elephant in the wonderful landscapes. You can stay also over night. I didn’t try it but thinking how wonderful were the landscapes definitely a good choice.
  • Trip to White Temple – one day for this cause it’s far and it’s combined with gold triangle.
    Where I stayed: Gord Chiangmai, 30 eurs/3 nights for room. It’s a nice small hotel, with big rooms, big windows (loved this),clean and also a small touch of style, so not just a big boring room :P. Breakfast also ok.

/Eli

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