So this December we ditched the van and boarded a plan and headed to Thailand – how lucky were we? Very different from our usual European climbing adventures we grabbed life by the balls and went all out on a trip of a life time. We had pre planned the locations and pre booked connecting flights and accommodation but other than that we were going with what grabbed our attention while we were there. Our first location was Chiang Mai, after an 11 hr flight to Bangkok and another 2 hour flight to Chiang Mai we arrived blurry eyed yet full of excitement. Once rested we ventured into old town Chiang Mai where we were staying and it was just amazing, full of hustle and bustle, chanting temples, colourful markets, endless food stalls all in one big tuk tuk frenzy that left us wanting to explore absolutely everything!
Temples are a little once you’ve seen one you have seen them all, we visited a few and all were every colourful and quite tranquil. The basic rules to follow are:-
- Cover shoulders and kness
- Dont point your feet towards Buddha (everyone sits down once they are in)
- Be respectful and quiet
- There are shoe racks outside the bigger temples and others you just left your shoes on the entrance
Opposite our hotel was the Wat Chedi Luang temple a large Buddhist temple originally built up of three temples dating back to the 14th Century. The remains of the old temples sit perfectly side by side the new temples. At night the temples come alive with colour and lights.
We researched day trips from Chiang Mai before we went away but we didn’t book anything, and that was defiantly the best option – book when you get there.
We popped into the Travel Hub in Chaing Mai and to book a day trip to Doi Inthanon National Park and it was definitely much cheaper to book the day trip while in Chiang Mai rather than in advance online before we went. We were picked up promptly at 8am from out hotel in a comfortable air conditioned van and the whole tour was everything that it promised to be. We did consider hiring a car to visit the national park, however after the day trip we were more than certain we would not have seen as much if we had hired a car.
Doi Inthanon National Park
Doi Inthanon National Park is home to the highest mountain in Thailand, 2565 m above sea level. On the trip we visited the King and Queen Pagodas two amazing temples build to commemorate the king and queens 60th birthdays, we went on a guided trek through the national park, visited Wachirathan waterfall and to finish off we stopped off at a fantastic outdoor rural market, take advantage of any Thai visitors that you are with to get great prices at the market!
The night bazaar is a must! The night bazaar is 1km of stalls, here you will find anything that you could possible wish for! The food court in the night bazaar (Ploen Ruedee Night Market) is absolutely amazing, we spent our first night in the food court and it has any food you could wish for freshly made with live music and a super chilled out vibe.
We had an afternoon to waste before our next flight so we visited Art in Paradise an interactive museum/gallery that will play with your eyes and create optical illusions that your eyes and mind will struggle to understand. We spent around two hours walking around the museum, entry cost 300 Bhat per adult.
The top few places that we visited were –
3 Sis Hotel – we stayed here during our time in Chiang Mai and the food was absolutely delicious, the best mango sticky rice in the city.
The Coffee Club – not your most specialist Thai cuisine but the Coffee Club but it is a break from rice noodles and green curries.
Roof 69 – we visited the roof after reading the trip advisor reviews. We were guided through to a garden oasis at the back of the building and our food was absolutely wonderful and the service was great.
See you soon – a nice restaurant bar with a nice boutique shop.
Thai classic – mango sticky rice
Part two – Krabi