We spent four days in Chiang Mai, and just like 10 years ago I fell for the northern Thailand city all over again.
We traveled from Bangkok to Chiang Mai via the sleeper train, this way we saved on a nights accommodation plus got from A to B with ease. I booked tickets on 12Go Asia website before we even arrived in Thailand as they were already becoming booked up as it’s such a popular route.
3Season was our chosen accommodation for our four days in Chiang Mai. It is an apart-hotel with spacious rooms, and our room had a huge bed, bathroom and balcony which meant it was perfect for our four night stay.
However, in hindsight we should have stayed closer to town as it was about a 15 minute walk to the old city which is where we spent the majority of our time, saying that we couldn’t fault the accommodation in any other way.
Chiang Mai is pretty versatile, it’s the kind of place you’d find a great activity for everyone. For us, we did a mix of both chilling and local excursions.
Day one we arrived around midday and grabbed a bite to eat outside the station before jumping in a ‘songthaew’ to our accommodation; these are basically a red truck that act as a bus/taxi.
After we’d checked in, freshened up and it had stopped raining we walked into the old city, which is the walled area of Chiang Mai. However this break in the lousy weather didn’t last long and eventually we managed to come across HOH Bistro for a beer and a bite to eat.
Day two was an early-ish start as we had to go to Thai Farm Cooking School HQ before 10am to pay for the course later in the week. We grabbed some breakfast and tried to map out our day but seeing as the rain was coming down thick and fast meant the morning was some what of a wash out. Early afternoon we retreated for an hours oil massage before having lunch at Yoy’s Coffee & Thai Food.
At the end of our stay in Chiang Mai we were headed for Chaing Khong so we also managed to book our transfer there thanks to the lovely owner at Chok Dee Guesthouse.
A little later on we needed to retreat from the rain and HOH Bistro was our chosen establishment once again unless the clouds cleared and we could stroll down to the Night Bazaar, which is one of the main attractions in Chiang Mai, before grabbing some gyoza at a street food market nearby.
Day three was one of my favourite days ever. Weeks earlier we had booked on a trip to Elephant Nature Park and I couldn’t have been more excited! The trip included a morning pick up from our accommodation, feeding the elephants their breakfast, plus walking around the park and learning about the different elephants on site and how they came to be there.
Lunch came in the form of a gigantic vegan buffet and then some down time meant we could explore the cat kingdom and also meet the rescue dogs, many of which were saved from the Bangkok floods in 2011.
In the afternoon we observed the elephants bathing in the river and learnt more about the different families living at the sanctuary.
At the end if the day we got on the minibus and back to Chiang Mai town we went…sad to be leaving the elephants, but happy they were in such good hands. I couldn’t recommend this place more, it’s the most ethical elephant experience in Thailand and they are trying so hard to stop other vendors allowing the riding of elephants and whilst also educating other local companies.
Unsurprisingly, that evening we ended up back in HOH Bistro for another Chang then we visited White Elephant for a dose of coconut ice cream.
Day four saw us on another excursion, this time with the Thai Farm Cooking School. We opted for the out-of-town experience at said farm. The day started with a pick up from 3Season, then we headed to a market to learn about the various ingredients used in Thai cooking. Once at the farm we got a tour to hear all about the produce they grow on site for use in the dishes we were scheduled to make during the day.
First up we made the green paste which was to be used later in our Thai green curry dish, followed by spring rolls. Next up was Tom Ka soup followed by the main dishes: Thai green curry and cashew nut stir-fry. Dessert was delicious mango sticky rice.
This was such a fun day, and obviously we left absolutely stuffed but so excited to get back to the UK later in the year and try out all these dishes again!
You’ll be surprised to hear we didn’t visit HOH’s this evening (it’s closed on Wednesdays!) and instead grabbed roti and got an early night as we were up the next day for a transfer for Chiang Khong with Terminal Green so we could cross the border into Laos.
Chiang Mai was wonderful yet again, I could visit this city over and over! Until next time CM…