Otherwise, Chaing Mai is a great city to visit! A fantastic place to visit. The city itself is very basic and not particularly clean but it is very friendly and the locals really make you feel welcome. Elephant trip - We chose the elephant trip, trek through the forest and bamboo rafting. This was the trip of a lifetime and by far our favourite experience. We drove for 45minutes to a little area in the forest area where the elephants live.
The elephants were free to roam around and weren't tied up or restricted. The men who took us on the trip treated the elephants exceptionally well and were very proud of a 4month old elephant who followed it's mum everywhere! We travelled on the elephants whilst they walked through the trees, ate bamboo and played in the river. At the end of the walk we fed our elephant bananas which was a lot of fun! We were glad that we had on shoes that tied no risk of falling off and long shorts. The trek through the forest was beautiful.
Definately wear insect repellant though!! Take a swimsuit as there is a chance to swim round the waterfall. We ended up on a bamboo raft trip which was fun but we got VERY wet and didn't have a change of clothes. We had wanted to go and see the tigers but we talked to a couple who were convinced the tigers were doped as they said they were able to stroke the animals and be as near as they wanted but the tigers didn't really move : The smoking ban hasn't come into Chaing Mai yet so when booking a hotel room it is worth requesting a non-smoking room if you want a smoke free room!
Amazing place with lovely people and a really fun night market which you cannot miss! An Amazing City in an absolutely amazing country full of the most friendly people you will ever meet! I would go back to Chiang Mai in a heartbeat!
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Went with my son last year to Chiang Mai had such a great time. We visited local markets, Farm cooking school, and took a tour with untouched Thialand to a magnificent water fall, Karen Villiage, and night tour. Sipohn was our guide and he has good english and looked after us like family, he also has a great sence of humor and with us being Australian we loved it. We also loved the Night Safari the place is pretty impressive.
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We had a great time and i don't think we ever opened a door or had any worries except taking in all the experiences and scenery. Loved visiting the Karen Village in the hills and boat ride on the Makong river was so pretty. We saw an anaconda as round as a basket ball but was not game to hold it. We went and had a mineral bath that was as good as a massage. We stayed at Thathon and Chaing Rai both places were clean great food and Chaing Rai place was beautiful with a lovely pool. We then went to Phuket but we beleive that Chiang Mai is the place to visit to really experience the heart of Thialand.
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Its a bit cooler in the North and a lot slower pace than Bangkok or Phuket. The jewel of Thailand Chiang Mai. Clean, relaxed and home to about 2 million people. The first notable difference was the traffic. Our cab driver provided a running commentary in very good English , stoped at red lights and kept the car within the lane markings. Plus, he knew where he was going! We made our decision to stay there based on T. The property is beautiful and the staff wonderful.
The famed Pepsi, can't do enough to help and the rooms are very very comfortable. The pool was a welcome sight that first afternoon, and ,with a cold Singha or two, did a superb job of reviving two very tired travellers. The first night in town, a short walk down the road and over a footbridge across the river, and we were in the Wororot flower market , the local Thai market and not far from the Night Bazaar. The flower market was stunning!!!
My "loved one" Alison, owned florist shops back in Aus.
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Always keen to stay out in front in the "husband of the year" contest, 20 THB saw 10 medium stemmed red roses appear magically in my wifes arms. The Thai market was great, we ate from a range of stalls, some of the best donuts I've ever eaten, to the crunchiest roasted grasshopper to ever grace the inside of my mouth!!
Then to the Night Bazaar and downstairs to the "artist colony ". We had read on T. He and his off-sider managed to convince me to have one done as well. The result Two portraits for not a lot of money. Alison loved it, he is so skilled, he managed to take 10 years off her without the picture looking like some one else. Mine, he managed to capture every wrinkle and line in what he called " a face with character ". Now people think I'm a cradle snatcher! Then off to the opticians to replace the pair of glasses that now reside at the bottom of the Ping River!
They fell off taking happy snaps on the footbridge. Dinner at the Kalare Food Court - great, cheap, food. Highly recommended if you want to hone your cooking skills. Remember to go after a very light breakfast. You eat all day. The next day we were supposed to do the white water rafting but unfortunately there was insufficient water dry season and someone forgot to tell us. That's another story, so a day lazing around the pool and exploring local shops and restaurants. It also gave us the opportunity to get some laundry done and we met Jun, who's laundry is just up the road from Baan Orapin.
What a character!!! We hit it off immediately and ended up having dinner and exchanging gifts. She's truly a wonderful soul with a very generous heart and a great sense of humour. We're back next year just to get our laundry done!!! Another highlight of Chiang Mai was the day spent at Flight of the Gibbons - a fantastic experience and a very, very professional operation. Safety is paramount in their thinking.
If you don't do this when you are in Chiang Mai, you've missed out on something special. Dinner each night was a different restaurant somewhere along the river, the best of which was Regina's - a quaint shop full of antiques and artworks with the restaurant out the back on the river, and Regina herself - a lovely old lady who spends her time tending the shop and looking after the latest litter of kittens. Four days and it was time to go. The " Elephant Nature Park " mini bus picked us up and it was off through the country side to what must rank as one of the most worthwhile projects I've seen in a long while.
The park is about 65 k's out of CM and has been set up to rescue and rehabilitate elephants that have been abused, injured or need a respit from there normal work situation. We stayed the night in very comfy accomodation, not 5 star but better than I had expected. The food was some of the best we ate in Thailand and our " guide " while we were there, Hin, was a gem. The elephants don't draw pictures, play soccer, stand on two legs wearing a tutu or carry passengers!
They do what elephants are supposed to do Washing an elephant in a river with a long handled scrubbing brush is one of the best things you'll ever do!! Be prepared to get very wet and receive sloppy kisses from an elepant trunk. I'm sure the elephants enjoyed it as much as we did.
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