CHIANG MAI was on my bucket list since a very long time and my husband wanted to do a roadtrip in Thailand. So we decided to go to Chiang mai by road from Bangkok. The details of the roadtrip will be coming soon in the next blog by my husband and me. In this post, I have written about how to explore chiang mai in 4 days. Though i feel ideally you should spend 6 days. Lots of activities you can do in chiang mai. You can book those activities through tours n travels operators in chiang mai. There are many such places near tha phae gate and around the canal.
1.Elephant camp : As at other places in Thailand,there are many elephant camps in chiang mai. Mostly it’s a half day or full day trip with elephant riding, elephant bathing, feeding etc. and bamboo rafting or white water rafting and lunch.We went through Yogi mahout in the elephant camp at the outskirts of Chiang mai. It was a half day activity with bare back elephant riding,elephant bathing and feeding and bamboo rafting. First we went for bamboo rafting,then nice basic home cooked thai lunch and to the elephant camp next.We chose to go for bareback elephant riding because it’s more adventurous and it’s better than hurting the elephants with the heavy chairs. The ride was scary ….not for the faint hearted.It’s a 45 minutes ride. You go through forests and then in the river.(Tip : mahout clothes are provided by the tour guys and don’t forget to carry swimwear )
2.Bamboo rafting: We loved bamboo rafting, our first rafting experience. Usually in monsoons they stop bamboo rafting because of high water levels but we were lucky get a chance for bamboo rafting in monsoons.
3.Thai cooking course : MUST DO! the most enjoyable thing in Chiang mai. Cooking school is the best place to eat authentic thai food cooked by yourself. There are many places which offer full day of a half day course. Full day courses are usually in the farms in the outskirts of chiang mai and half day courses are in the city. We went for a half day course at Asia scenic cooking school. First they take you to the local market for grocery shopping and then to a spice and vegetable garden to introduce you to the thai spices and vegetables before the actual cooking starts. You can also ask them for vegetarian cooking as we did.
5.Royal stay @THE DHARA DHEVI : It’s an iconic 5 star resort in Chiang mai. it is really out of a fairytale . Two types of rooms , VILLA & COLONIAL SUITES in Beautiful , tranquil surroundings .Exquisite swimming pools , one overlooking the rice fields and other under the shadow of temple. exceptional service . I am at loss of adjectives to describe this beautiful resort , …not to forget EXPENSIVE !!!
We had dinner in a thai restaurant @the dhara dhevi. They have thai dance and music performance at 9pm.so make sure you go for dinner around that time. Food was ok but lemongrass and chilli drinks were really good.
6.Umbrella village: There’s a village called Bor sang in Chiang mai , where traditional umbrellas are made . It’s very good for souvenir shopping. You can get your mobile covers painted here in 10 minutes. You can even buy plain tee shirts and get them painted too . The artist were really good.
8.Tha phae gate : The iconic gate surrounded by many things like temples, markets, cafes, restaurants, hotels etc, most touristy area in Chiang mai. It’s remains of the east gate of Chiang mai old city wall.
9.Flea Markets : Night bazar is every night.Make sure to visit chiang mai in weekend so that you can go to weekend markets. Things at weekend markets are better than night bazar . Unfortunately when we were there, sunday market was cancelled because of elections.so we only went to saturday market. These are amazing flea markets where you get lovely handicrafts ,souvenirs, interesting food . When you get tired walking,shopping and eating, you can get THAI massage .Tip-go early at around 6 to avoid crowd and go empty stomach so that you can try lots of food at the market.
Pictures of night bazar –
10. Ladyboy cabaret show at night bazar :
11. Visit temples : Must visit temples include Wat Chedi Luang , Wat Phra Singh ,Wat Phra That Doi Suthep .There are over 200 temples , each different in it is own way . These Ancient Buddhist Temples still form an important part of Thai peoples life.Tip : Dress modestly.
13. Try Thai iced tea : Popular accompaniment to thai dishes , has a strong cardamom flavour.
14. Get close to tiger CUB : Many places in thailand where you can get upclose with TIGER .But arguably best place has to be the TIGER KINGDOM in CHIANG MAI . Only place you can cuddle a TIGER CUB ( it was only 2 month old , awwww)
15.Stay at a cozy homestay : Chiang mai is a backpacker’s paradise .You can get great accomodation around the old city for decent price.
16.Spend some time by the canal : Chiang mai has this thing about it , you get to experience the vibe best ,by the canal ,just sit by the canal in the evening and experience the calmness in midst of chaos .Totally romantic !