12 Aug Chiang Mai, Thailand
Next stop is Chiang Mai, Thailand. We took a domestic flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai to get there, which cost less than 50 euro for both of us. We even got an upgrade to emergency exit seats – much appreciated even if it was only an hour and a half flight!
We stayed in the Cozy Inn which is in the old town and about 15 mins from the airport. It was perfect. The rooms were small but really modern with really modern interiors. The staff were always on hand to help us whether it was looking for a taxi or booking an activity.
Things to do
We packed a lot into our few days here but didn’t even scratch the surface. Chiang Mai is full of history, vibrant culture and a fantastic landscape and is definitely up there with one of my favourite places.
We did a full day cooking class with Thai farm cooking school. I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking to do a class. You can read more about the detail of the class in my last post here.
Visit an elephant sanctuary
I am completely against any mistreatment of animals. When Andrew mentioned he wanted to go to an elephant sanctuary I was a little apprehensive. However, when he told me about Elephant Jungle, I was reassured. They do not allow you to ride the elephants, something that most elephant camps encourage. Elephant Jungle are also passionate about rescuing any mistreated animals and do their best to spread the message that riding is not good. The elephants are also not chained which is common among other camps and can freely roam around the open space.
We first fed the elephants bananas. Later we brought them to a mud bath where we rubbed them with the soil. This is apparently very good for their skin and ours too. After to went to a nearby lake to wash off and swim with the elephants. They were so happy and it was so nice to see them jumping around in the water kicking their legs with excitement! Definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
Get a Thai Massage
Everyone knows I love a good spa day. So when I found Fah Lanna Spa in Chiang Mai, I had to book us in for a Thai massage. On arrival we received a cup of herbal tea while we filled in our consultation forms. We then met our therapists and were brought to our room where we were given flip flops, pants and a tunic to wear for the treatment.
The treatment began with getting our feet washed, we then were moved to the bed where the massage began. Thai massage is very different to the western Swedish massage style we are used to. You remain fully clothed and there is no oil applied. The movements consist of pressure and stretch techniques which really lengthen and flex the muscles and relieve tension.
After our treatment we were brought to the coffee shop, where we were served another cup of herbal tea and a seeded biscuit. All in all the experience was amazing. Its hard to believe how little it cost. At just 600 baht each – the equivalent of about €15 – it was probably one of the best treatments I have ever received.
On our first night we visited the famous night market. Stalls and stalls and more stalls of street food, clothing, ornaments, jewellery. You name it. They have it and at a cheap price too especially when compared with other areas of Thailand.
The Thai Grand Canyon is impressive, but much smaller than the United States equivalent. We booked a taxi with our hotel that cost 200 baht each for a return trip. On arrival, we noticed there were many activities that you could do, including cliff jumping, zip-lining and an inflatable obstacle course.
There are two entrances. One at the front which brings you to a large open area for cliff jumping and swimming. There are also seats scattered around for sunbathing and a small coffee shop. Entry in here is 50 baht each. However, I would really question the safety of the cliff jumps. There was an eery vibe around the place and neither of us felt at ease. We took a few pictures and left.
We wandered up to the second entrance which was 350 baht each. Here you could spend the day at the inflatable obstacle course, and there was also cliff jumping. This was so much fun and safety was definitely paramount in this location. We lasted about two hours running around before we were wrecked. A really enjoyable day. The weather also picked up so we chilled in the sun until our driver came to pick us up.
On almost every corner there is a temple or Wat as they are called in Thai. Each one with its own ornate design, some big others small. We visited a few in Chiang Mai. The decor alone is astounding and I would suggest that you pop in to at least one.
One thing for certain about Chiang Mai, and Thailand in general is to eat like a local. The food is always better, cheaper and I’ve found I haven’t been sick at all when I do. We really tried to eat at markets when we could but did go to the following restaurants that I would recommend:
- 92 Ratchamanka
- Amrita Garden
Chiang Mai has one of the biggest coffee cultures in Thailand. We checked out a few spots on our travels including Graph Cafe, Fahtara, SS1254372 and Bull & Bear Cafe.
- Rostr8ttro Lab
Although we didn’t really go out partying while we were here, we noticed that Chiang Mai has a pretty decent nightlife. We were recommended the following places to go:
- Zoe in Yellow
- Jazz Bar
One place we did visit for a few drinks was called Mixology. A really small location with trendy vibes and the cocktails are on point. They draw on other cultures and mix with local Thai flavours to create something different. A really cool spot.