I spent nearly a month traveling around Northern Thailand. Some places were I loved so much that I went and visited it twice! Here are my highlights:
- Daily night bazaar near Thapae Gate, Sunday walking street
- Loy Krathong Lantern festival – mid-November during the full moon (make sure you go to the University the night before the full moon, that’s when everyone sets off their balloons at the same time!)
- Don Suthep temple – scooter up if you dare!
- Elephant Nature Park – a wonderful example of how to care for elephants consciencely. I was fortunate enough to spend a week volunteering in the Karen Village learning how working/ abused elephants are re-introduced back into nature with the Journey to Freedom project. See my trip here and watch my video.
- Day trips (bamboo rafting, waterfalls, atv, white water rafting, visiting the long-neck Karen tribe, hiking, etc) – they are dirt cheap out of Chiang Mai but please avoid the elephant rides!
- Cooking classes to learn how to cook Thai food – it has come in really handy, just ask my boyfriend!
- Zoe’s Bar – if you want to have a drink, dance and party with a mixture of expats and locals, Zoe’s is a group of bars all huddled together and makes for a fun night of bar hopping!
- The biggest Table BBQ buffet I’ve ever seen! – Suk Kon Thai is hidden along Huay Kaew Rd., so ask for the Condotel 4 outdoor parking and walk through the gates. You will see a huge outdoor warehouse with a kid’s arcade, live music and charcoal table BBQs
- C & C Teak House – A very charming guesthouse run by a French man, 220 Bhat for a room (small and shared bathroom), a little outside of the main city
- Nimmanheamin Road – fun and busy street with lots of cafes, restaurants, hotels, walking streets and bars.
(3 hours North East of Chiang Mai- 280 Bhat A/C bus from Arcade Station)
- Golden Triangle where Thailand, Loas and Cambodia boarders meet. It was a pivotal point for the opium trade. If you like history, the Opium Hall Museum was incredibly well done
- The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) – absolutely breath-taking, even with all of the tourists, posing and cameras. A definite MUST!
- The Black Houses (Thawan Duchanee) – the complete opposite of the white temple but just as spectacular, strange and a bit eerie. I loved it! It’s hard to find so ask around and check out this blog with directions
(3.5 hours North West of Chiang Mai- 150 Bhat minibuses from Arcade Station)
- One of my favorite places (not on the beach) in Thailand! A really relaxed hippie vibe
- Nightly walking streets – tasty food, handmade goods, souvenirs and some hilarious street performances
- Renting motorbikes/ scooters for 100 Bhat a day (=$3)!
- Pai Canyon – walk the narrow, steep and slippery canyon if you dare!
- Hot Springs (Pong Nam Ron Thapai) – several layers of natural hot mineral pools that vary in temperature. Soak your feet, boil an egg and enjoy Mother Nature at her finest
- Waterfall – there are many, so get a map and a scooter and go exploring
- Goodlife Cafe – healthy and tasty food, good coffee, wheat grass shots and a chill vibe to catch up with friends or read a book
- Witching Well Cafe – no WIFI, but an awesome lime cheesecake!
- Thai and oil massages – Thai massages can be a bit rough with all the stretching and sitting on you, while an oil massage is more relaxing. Pai has the cheapest massages I’ve found so far… 150-200 Bhat for 1 hour= $5-6!
- Reggae and Jazz bars