Iv’e been teasing you soooo long about our Thailand trip and it’s about time to share with you some more about the most dreamy vacation I could ever wish for, in a place near and dear to my heart.
Our first time visiting Thailand was back in 2010, and to say it was love at first sight would be an understatement. The minute I landed I felt like all the pieces of my life just fell into place, and by the time we got back home I was already planning my next trip there. This last October, the time was finally right, and my longtime dream was made into perfect reality as we packed our bags for a month long trip in the land of gorgeous beaches, perfect serenity and insanely delicious Phad- Thai.
We had hardly any time to plan our trip, and because this was not our first rodeo we only set the basics. We decided in advance how long we’ll be staying in each place and off we went. I’ll tell you more about our island experience soon and on this one I’d like to share more about the north of Thailand, mainly focusing on Chiang Mai/Rai, where we spent a decent amount of our stay.
We landed in Bangkok but decided to continue to Chiang Mai pretty much immediately and give Bangkok our full attention a bit later on the trip. Since we already experienced all “obvious” tourist attractions Chiang Mai has to offer on our first time there, we tried to steer clear of that and take some time to see the city like locals, at least on the first couple of days. Still, we couldn’t help ourselves and later did all kinds of fun attractions from zip lining with “Flight of the Gibbon” to a super fun ATV tour and even a quick morning visit in Doi Suthep.
We did not plan at first to visit Chiang Rai, but as our original plan failed due to crazy logistics and left us with three days to spare, we just went for it. Our three days turned into barely one full day as Max got a terrible indigestion literally the minute we got there, but we still had great fun there eventually, the short visit was just enough to see almost all of what we had planned and I’d say Chiang Rai is a nice little place to spend a couple of days in.
I could go on and on about the north of Thailand and these two cities in particular, so I’ll just give you the basic outline and share with you some of my favourite things to do and places to see.
- When in Chiang Mai, I- Wualai hotel is a super cute little place to stay in. it’s not in the middle of the action, but there’s a fun Saturday market and such good vibes in that area, not to mention all the great restaurants.
- On our first trip to Thailand we didn’t get to visit any temples and on this one we went to many. I would really recommend visiting at least one temple on your trip, I always enjoy learning about different cultures and Thailand is such a welcoming place in that regard, with probably the nicest people you’ll ever meet. All the work that goes into each and every detail is really remarkable too. If you only had to choose one temple to see while in Chiang Mai, I would certainly choose “Inthakin” city pillar, located close to the Sunday walking street. If you have some spare time, visiting Doi Suthep will also be a great way to spend it, it’s only about 30 to 40 minutes away from Chiang Mai’s main streets.
- Another recommended attraction in my eyes would be the ATV tour, this would be especially great for those of you who don’t have that much time in Chiang Mai but still want to enjoy the beautiful nature around it. Great for couples, super fun, perfectly safe and easy. We used “Mon Maekanin Adventure” for our ATV trip. They were super professional, and we had a great time with their guides that not only took us to see the most incredible views, but also shared with us interesting and fun info about what we’re seeing.
- Go zip lining! I’m not that big of an adrenaline junky but I literally had the time of my life! We did about half an hour to an hour of zip lining on our first trip and on this one we had about three hours I’d say. Crazy fun jungle experience as long as you don’t have an issue with heights. The nature could not be more wild and exciting and the guides were perfectly professional. over all, great success. We used “Flight of the Gibbon” for this one. Don’t forget to scream from the top on your lungs, it’s just more fun that way!
- Thailand is the land of perfect massages (at excellent prices too!) and if I had to only choose one advice to give you it would be- have a massage at the very least once in every two days. Make time. You’ll be kicking yourself later if you don’t, take it from me. Where? We’re currently talking about Chiang Mai, but this really applies everywhere!
- Take an evening to walk aimlessly around town. On our last night we had some time to kill before leaving and we used it to just enjoy the city vibe. We went from restaurants to bars, listening to live music, eating ice cream, just doing whatever. To this day I remember it as being one of the greatest nights there. Chiang Mai has a lot to offer and can keep you really busy with only tourist attractions, but it’s really nice sometimes to just relax and feel the air.
And so to Chiang Rai we went! As I mentioned, Chiang Rai wasn’t in our original plan but in hindsight I’m really glad we got to see it. I wouldn’t say it’s an absolute must for those of you who are planning a shorter trip, but if you do have the time to visit, you can really enjoy it.
There were a few attractions we planned on seeing and at first went to an agency to book a scheduled sight seeing trip, we later had to cancel because of our little food poisoning adventure, but the day after did all that we had planned using the help of a nice local cab driver. This actually cost us much less and worked out perfectly, so keep that in mind. If you’re around doing some sight seeing, here are the sights you really shouldn’t miss:
- First I gotta say, we stayed at the “Hi Chiangrai” hotel, a relatively new hotel in Chiang Rai and besides of it being close to everything you could ever need, it’s one of the biggest recommendations I could ever give you. Beautiful, clean, great value for money, and has THE nicest staff working there. Unfortunately we had to make a trip to the emergency room, which can be a very stressful thing to do when vacationing in a foreign country, and I couldn’t be more grateful for everything they did for us. It made a world of a difference.
- The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) designed and constructed by artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, is Probably the biggest attraction Chiang Rai has to offer, and it’s a serious showstopper. So impressive and larger than life, the photos do it no justice.
- The Black House (Baan Dam) of thai artist Thawan Duchanee wouldn’t take more than an hour of your time and is one of the most unusual, unique places I’ve ever been to. Sort of an antithesis for the White Temple the way I sew it.
- Last but certainly not least would be Singha Park. Simply gorgeous and so well groomed, Singha Park is a perfect place to spend a sunny day. You can walk through it yourself or take the guided tour. We took the toor because we didn’t have that much time and wanted to see and learn more about the place. We went as a couple and really thought of it as a nice way to enjoy our morning, Most people on the tour had their small kids with them and it’s a perfectly friendly attraction for kids. Don’t miss out.
Well I told you I can go on and on about it so next time just stop me! Hope these tips helped and would love to answer every question you may have. Can’t wait for the next post to tell you all about my true love- Pai.