We were already planning from the beginning to go to the north of Thailand. Of course we also heard from a lot of people, that it’s amazing, especially if someone likes nature. In the last years, i guess i became really sensitive to the nature around me. I see a nice flower, color, hill, mountain, river or any beautiful thing and it imbues my soul immediately, sometimes even too much, so it needs to leave through my eyes :).
I had the feeling, that they took out all the good things from Bangkok: big city atmosphere, lot of restaurants, coffee shops, public transport, culture; they surrounded with lot of green, national parks, mountains, and that’s how Chiang Mai was born.
We spent two weeks here, and i bet i don’t even need to say, in the end it was really hard to leave, also because it was the end of our amazing 5 weeks long supertrip in Thailand.
How to have fun in Chiang Mai?
Lot of national parks are located around the city as i mentioned before. You can go for a hike, or even use the zipline in the forest like a Tarzan. We actually didn’t try this one.
You can find tons of them here. If you can, search for the ones, who truly care about the elephants. We visited the Patara Elephant Farm for a half day program. It included feeding, cleaning the elephant, of course riding them and then a bath together. To be honest, it was a big adventure, but i was scared like shit almost for the whole time. I always loved the elephants, i had nature dvd-s, necklace, blanket, etc…But when you stand right in front of the 4 tons heavy elephant….common! I guess i burned more calories in 5 minutes, than during a 1 hour run.
When we arrived, we could stroking with two mommy and two kid elephants. One of them wanted to play with me. It would’ve been a problem, just there is the fact that i weight 55 kg, in the meantime he weights 250 kg. So i almost fall over to the ground, when he ran towards to me. When i remember of this story i always imagine myself as a loser toreador, who got hit by the bull lot of time. So it’s very funny to stroke young elephants. 🙂
No doubt, i had some fun. I needed to get on the elephant for the first time from our group, after they said: – So, now everybody’s watching!
Of course, please call the TV too, maybe there are others who want to laugh hard too. Of course somehow it happened that i was on the elephant. He bent one of his leg, so i “jumped” up on his neck. That time you can put your hands on his head, or/and hold the tiny rope behind you. Thanks God btw to have things called thigh muscles, without them i would’ve capitulate already after the second steps. They told me that actually i wasn’t at the right place, so i slid a bit further. Your knees need to be at the same height as his top of the ears. So i smacked on him, thigh muscles activated, we could go further. The farm was located in the mountains, so the ride was on the hill-side next to a scarp. The only thing i could trust was the step of my elephant. Therefore it was quiet exciting!
So, what’s the point? Meeting an elephant in real life is pretty amazing, but it’s not like in the movies! 🙂
Oh, this was just amazing. You can find millions of classes. Full day, morning, evening, etc.. There are cheaper and more expensive, and fucking expensive ones. Usually they give you a ride from your accommodation to get there and then back to your place. I did research on Tripadvisor, i read leaflets, and in the end for some reason i chose Zabb – E – Lee cooking school. We wanted to take the morning class, so they came to take us, around 9, and then we picked up the others.
Most of the time 8-10 people cook together and you start the course at the market, where you can have more knowledge about the vegetables, fruits, which one is good for this, or that, or even with which kind of ingredients you can substitute if for example you couldn’t find holy sweet thai basil in your country.
Of course it wouldn’t be us, if there wasn’t any inconvenience. In the beginning, the indian old couple cancelled their participation, because the group skipped the dessert category for that day. Small explanation for you to catch-up: in advance you could choose 5 dishes that you want to make during the class. There were appetizers, soups, deep-fried meals, curry and curry paste. If you wanted to make curry, you should choose curry paste too, so it’s already 2 choices, and of course you want to learn how to make pad thai, a soup, and then spring rolls, so oops, 5 choices done. I thought, if i had the feeling to eat sticky rice at home, i would research for it on the internet, it might be easy. Anyway the couple was angry about skipping the dessert so they left the market and the class. In the group the only people left, us and 4 Chinese women, who were brilliant (NO!), first they didn’t get why we need to skip any categories, and then they were not satisfied with the price of the class (complaining about a thing that you already booked – clever!), in the end they didn’t have the feeling that they wanted to cook at all (Welcome to the cooking class! I know it’s a surprise, but might cook there!). So, they also cancelled the class! In the meantime we had some amazing banana fried roll and coffee at a kiosk, where the thai woman had amazing english and cool atmosphere, so we didn’t care too much about this chaos. They put us together with another group, for God sake! Best people, good humor, 4 hours laugh and fun!
But really, if you go to Chiang Mai, cooking class is a must! You can find some for a really good price, ours costs around 30 dollars. One dish to make and then you eat it, this is the program, cooking and then eating it. Guaranteed fun , especially if the teacher has amazing personality and good jokes all the time, like ours. Plus you can go there without being an experienced chef. We still don’t know how we made all those perfect dishes! See the picture below! Tom Kha Gai soup made by my boyfriend. Chicken soup with coconut milk, vegetables, with amazing taste.
Don’t be surprised! I tell you immediately why we enjoyed that much. You can find almost all the movies in original language, but what is the special thing about it? You can choose in which kind of seat do you want to watch your movie. Actually even you can pay for a two seats couch. Amazing, i was always wondering why they didn’t make it already the ultra comfy seat where you can feel like at home (or even better). Legs up, enjoy the movie! For 15 dollars/couch.
One of my favorite. Have you ever fed a giraffe? I did in Chiang Mai. And then hypopothamus, deers, and who knows what else. This zoo was different than the ones i got used to. You barely have anywhere railing, so it’s another experience to see all these animals. We walked a lot up to the hills, and then down, but it worth it, we finally saw koala and panda in real life. The entrance fee is around 3-4 dollars. For the panda you need to pay an extra 3 bucks. The nature is expensive :).
What to see?
As all over of Thailand, you can find here also lot of buddhist temples, we saw Wat Chedi Luang in the night time, it was just beautiful.
The mountain behind Chiang Mai. It worth to visit the top where you can find the Wat Prathat temple. Maybe the most important is not even the temple, but the view from there. The taxi, motorcycle or any other vehicle takes you until a point, but then you need to climb the 309 stairs to reach the Wat and the view. (For lazy people there is an elevator). For foreigners, there is a 30 Baht entrance fee, (1 dollar). We took this ride in the rain, so i guess now i know there is no excuse, if you want to do something, you just do it. We still enjoyed the landscape, the only thing i regretted to not see the amazing view because of the fog, but it was still a wonderful place.
Tons of small store, kiosk are waiting for you to take a look on their products. Clothes, bags, shoes, handmade bracelets, and other jewelries, thai gifts, dried fruits, spices, blankets….and other goods. I found all of my gifts here for my family. In general everything is much more cheaper here than in the islands, or south of Thailand. So much things to see here, in the end you don’t even know where you are. This is the best time to have a fresh, cold smoothie!
From the airport you have easy thing to do, the taxi company has a regular fee to take you into the city center, it’s 150 Baht (5 dollars). In Koh Samui it was much more expensive. But in the center is sometimes hard to stop taxis. Murphy’s law: if you don’t need one, there is millions on the street, but when you need one, there is none. But i have another solution for you!
Red public taxis
These are you saviors! Millions of them are cycling in the town. Sometimes it’s even enough to look at them and they stop for you. How it goes? They stop, you tell them where you want to go, and ask them how much it would’ve cost? If they tell an expensive price, then you bargain until everyone is happy, and you jump into the back. Keep your safe, hold something as the back has no door to lock. But it’s not a problem, fast and cheap, you get from A to B, and you might meet other travelers too. We loved it, from the moment we finally decided to try it. We took it to reach the Doi Suthep too. The old guy was waiting for us and then took us back to the hotel. Of course i’m never gonna forget that road with all the curves.
Of course it’s not the end of the things you can try in Chiang Mai. It’s much more than that. There are a lot of places to discover, like Chiang Rai…etc., and if you can still handle it, more temples to see!
Summarizing the trip to Thailand: it gave us such an inspiration about how to live, how to make our life more happy. We learned a lot about life, people, culture even if it feels like cheesy to say that. There is no enough space on the internet to describe how we feel. I know something for sure, as i see more things in the world, i feel that i didn’t see anything. Weird, isn’t it?
Now on the porch of our AirBnb place in Nice (France), i have just more and more stories to share with you.
Stay tuned! Soon, posts about our recently launched EUROTRIP!
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Keep up with the good vibe!