It is simply by case that I have reached this beautiful area of Northern Thailand, surrounded by mountains and full of activities, inside and outside the old city. We have decided to pick a mix of outdoor activities and cultural ones to make a good tour with 2 days available on our schedule.
To start with, Chiang Mai is the old capital of Thailand with the word Chiang meaning city in Thai, while Mai as you might guess stands for old in this case. It is located in the north of Thailand, close to the border of Laos, Myanmar and not far from the Chinese one either. The climate is less humid and more pleasant than the bigger Bangkok, furthermore, it is worth to mention Chiang Mai is also the old capital of Thailand during the Lan Na period, founded in 1296.
We have to start early in the morning from the Old City, the base for a lovely visit where we will try to avoid as much as possible long distances which will waste most of our time available.
Starting off with a visit to the temples would be a lovely wake-up boost. Just outside the main one you can find some vendors where you can get rice and meat (pork or chicken) or you can go for the option with the local rice porridge, called congee, very popular in this area of the Lanna Empire. The Wat Phra Singh (Gold Temple), the Wat Pan On will definitely take some time for photos and for admiring the gold present in the temples. All of them are devoted to Buddha as 99% of the population is Buddhist and most of the young kids turn to monk life around the age of 7).
After finishing with the second temple of your choice between Wat Umong Suan and Wat Phra Singh concede yourself a break of 30 minutes where you can talk to the monks, question them on their daily lives and give your curiosities an answer whether it is about the local culture or anything else. In the afternoon, after having lunch in one of the numerous riverside places we do recommend you to get a massage in one of the famous places in the Old town. Following that get ready for a short trip out of town where you will be able to admire the Doi Suthep, a Thai temple and a wonderful view. When the sun goes down, get to the old city again to see a real Muay Thai fight next to the night bazaar so this will allow you to spend some time to spend for your presents and gadgets to take back home. For the choice of food get around the same area where you’ll find plenty of food vendors with a choice between fried bananas, fish, Thai hotpot, the local Khao Soy soups and Tom Soy, the shrimp’s favorite with locals.
Get ready to have an early wake up to bring you till the top of the highest mountain in Thailand, the Doi Inthanon which is a 3 hours drive from the city center of Chiang Mai and you can choose whether to get into an adventure (by sharing a local taxi with other people to reach it) which could be less expensive but surely more stressful as there might be more stops on the list.
On arrival in this wonderful park, one of the most popular in Thailand you will have a great choice of activities to get to choose from. Known as the ‘Roof of Thailand’, Doi Inthanon National park covers an area of 482 km2 in Chiang Mai province. The park itself is part of the Himalayan mountain range with elevations ranging between 800 and 2565 meters.
The name was given after the King Inthawichayanon, one of the last of the city due to his concerns about the forests in the north of Thailand were his remains after his death were placed in the park as he wished to.
You can visit it all year round keeping in mind that the rainy season is between May and October while getting colder from November to January.
GET AROUND THE PARK:
Due to its size is quite difficult to be able to move around without a car or a bike so the suggestion is to join a group with a private car as a transport. The cost vary on the number of people getting there however expect somewhere between 1800-2500 baht( 50 USD)to be paid on top of the 300 baht fee.
There are actually present in the park over 500 species of birds, the highest recorded in Thailand, reptiles such as the Chiang Mai gecko, wild boars, gibbons, deer which you can see if you are lucky.
With all day to discover local tribes, natural beauties, rare species of birds and wildlife animals you will get ready to return to Chiang Mai around 6pm, just in time to get a lovely massage close to your residence and get ready for the last night.
Night Out Day 2:
For dinner, we will be visiting a famous local lady known as Cowboy Hat lady winner of the excellence certificate from Trip Advisor between 2017-2019 and famous to be part of a visit by Anthony Bourdain in his food show. The place, a local stall where you can find plenty of seats in the tables shared with dozens of people (be aware of that before coming here) it’s called Khao Kha Moo Chang Phueak. Of course now, with the celebrity she gained the queue starts at 5pm and she opens soon later, around 6pm for the joy of the people who were there waiting only for her to take a photo or to order and taste the inexpensive and local pork with rice. The price applied for this is around 60-80 baht which makes it affordable and worth the queue.
The tenderness of the meat is delish while the boiled egg served with the rice, all covered by a good amount of sauce and meat merit applause.
Your best move after this dinner would be to stroll around the old town and this is where we are going to go for our night show.
Famous around Thailand is the cabaret show, better known as ladyboy show amidst locals is a once in a lifetime experience to try. In Chiang Mai few of them are located just off the red light district and the normal entrance fee is around 300 baht including one cocktail which sounds fair, to be honest.
The crowd is always a lot and the show starts around 10pm normally lasting for one hour with a break in between the 2 parts but it’s absolutely a gem, especially for a first-timer traveling in Thailand.
Get back to your place for the night after this and don’t miss the flight the next morning would be quite easy with the airport being only 5km away from the old town.
Images by Joshua Rasia