Tags: Accommodation, activities, Attraction, Beach, Chang Mai, Elephant, Elephant Ride, Flight, Holidays, hotel, Hotels, Jungle, Luxury, Thailand
While the first thing that pops into your head when thinking of Thailand may be its islands with their white sandy beaches, such as Phuket and Koh Samui, and while there is plenty to do on these islands, Chiang Mai on the mainland also offers many activities to make for a memorable trip.
Located in the north of the country, Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second city, and is 700 years old. It is a mix of old and new aspects of Thai architecture, and there is plenty to do and see in the city and its environs. First off are the city’s famous temples, you can take a three hour tour of the 36 temples, or Wats as they are known, that exist within the old city’s walls, as well as some that dot the surrounding countryside. One of the temples located outside the city, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, near the summit of Doi Suthep, which is 5300 feet high, is 600 years old and features a dragon-headed serpent staircase known as a Nagas leading to the top of the site, which offers views of Chang Mai from this great height.
Back in the city itself, children may enjoy a visit to the Chiang Mai Zoo, which is home to pandas, tigers, koalas and many other animals. There are also many opportunities to shop in the city, where you can visit the workshops of handcrafters, as well as shopping malls, markets, and boutique shops.
If you fancy sampling some traditional northern Thai food, you can attend a Khantoke Dinner and show in the city. A Khantoke dinner involves food being served on platters on low tables while you sit on the floor. During the meal there are a number of different northern Thai dances performed such as the Fon Lep, the Ram Dab and the Fon Thiean. In addition there is also be a performance from various hilltribe members from the Yao, Meo, Lisu, Karen and Lahu tribes. There are many other dining options in the city, with live music being a feature of a number of restaurants, with traditional and international cuisine on offer.
Thailand is famous for its elephants, so while in Chiang Mai you can visit the Working Elephants and see for yourself the traditional techniques used to train elephants, and if you fancy, take a ride on one for an additional fee. This tour also stops to take in the Mae Sa waterfall and an orchid farm.
Another day trip could be a river cruise down the Mae Ping, where you can encounter the temple of Wat Chai Mongkol with its Buddhist relics, as well as taking in the rural scenery and stopping for a Khao Sui noodle lunch at a farmer’s house. You will also pay a visit to an orchard and a garden, as well as one of the biggest markets in Chiang Mai, Warorot Market, which features a flower market called the Tom Lam Yai Flower Market.
There are a number of hilltribes in the area surrounding Chiang Mai, so it may be worthwhile to experience the culture of one of these tribes by paying a visit to the White Meo Hilltribe Village. On this day trip you can also take in the Wat Doi Suthep Temple in the national park where this hilltribe reside.
There are many hotels to choose from, with many five star hotels in the area offering different experiences, such as the modern, multi-storey Le Meridien Chang Mai located in the heart of the city, and Panviman Chiang Mai Spa Resort which consists of 35 rooms, the resort is nestled on a small hill in the Maerim north-west of Chiang Mai.