HIGHLIGHTS of a VISIT
to CHIANG MAI and NORTHERN THAILAND
Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle have been on my bucket list ever since I purchased my first Lonely Planet guide. The guide was the Thailand edition of course, and by the time I actually visited, it had been superseded by newer versions and contained a lot of dog eared corners.
I wish I had of kept it for memories sake, however I sold it on ebay upon return to make way for a new adventure. Below are the highlights of my travels in Northern Thailand.
Chiang Mai is a welcome relief from the chaos of Bangkok. Staying at one of the guest houses out of the Lonely Planet book was as easy as phoning them from the airport and asking if they could please come pick me up. It cost us around AU$10.71 for a very clean and basic room with hot showers.
I quite enjoyed this night market; it is nowhere near as crowded or sleazy as the markets in Bangkok.
MUAY THAI FIGHT
I had originally planned on seeing a Muay Thai fight in the big stadium at Bangkok. However, being that I didn’t love Bangkok, I hightailed it out of there before seeing one. I’m so glad I saw this on a much smaller scale as I had front row seats for all the action and it was a really lovely atmosphere. The fights were fantastic! It was very different to watching a Muay Thai Fight in Australia and is well worth making the effort to see.
EXPLORING THE TOWN ON FOOT
This is my absolute favourite thing to do in a new city. I love the freedom of walking at your own pace and stopping and looking at whatever you like with no destination in mind.
HIRING A SCOOTER
Being that Chiang Mai is not as chaotic as Bangkok, I hired a scooter here and headed up the mountain to Doi Suthep to check out Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. The scooter only cost AU$5.35 for the day and riding double seems to the norm here (or even the minimum). The road got a bit steep at one point and I feared that I may have to jump off and push, however I made it at a very low speed. There is a pretty good view from the top, although very smoggy on the day I arrived. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is pretty interesting, even if you are all ”watted out” like I was at this point of the trip.
GETTING A MASSAGE
I got my first Thai massage…..on my FEET !! GROOOSSSS I know, however my feet were killing me after walking around all day and it was absolute bliss. I pity the poor Thai Lady that drew the short straw to massage my worn out stinky feet that day.
I absolutely loved everything about Chiang Rai. I would even go so far to say that it was my favourite city in the whole of Thailand. I loved how small the city is compared to others in Thailand. The markets also had some fixed pricing, which at this point of the holiday was a welcome relief. However my absolute favourite thing about this place was that there were hardly any tourists.
I traveled from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai by bus, staying at a guest house for around AU$14.28 a night. It was great value for money with a huge room, huge bed, hot water and the biggest pancakes for breakfast I have ever seen.
The markets here were my favourite in the whole of Thailand. This was mostly because the stall holders didn’t horrendously hound you to buy their products. They only half heartedly try here, and the majority of the time, readily accepted ‘no thank you,’ as an answer.
I visited a Karen Long Neck Hill Tribe Village on a day tour from Chiang Rai. Visiting the Hill Tribe village was a really memorable experience. Check out this post to read more about it: Hill Tribe Visit in Northern Thailand
I spent an afternoon visiting the Golden Triangle and its surrounds as a day trip from Chiang Rai. You really see here how vast the Mekong River is here. There is also more awesome temples to see in this area as well.
I visited the border whilst on a day trip from Chiang Rai. We didn’t cross over just for the sake of it as some people do, it seemed more effort than it was worth. I was entertained enough just to sit and watch the people cross the bridge over to the other side.
HALL OF OPIUM MUSEUM
The Hall of Opium Museum turned out to be surprisingly interesting, albeit amusing at times. You can visit whilst in the Golden Triangle area. Did you know that the best way to smoke opium is to lie with your head on a hard rock? You learn something new each day!
EXPLORING CHIANG RAI ON FOOT
Did I tell you that I REALLY loved Chiang Rai? I loved just walking around and exploring the city, and then relaxing with a Thai Massage at the end of the day. I even got a tattoo by a local tattoo artist (which incidentally, started an idea to collect tattoos around the world), and had a beautiful dinner at some night markets.
I seriously considered selling up and moving here as I could totally see myself happily living out the rest of my life in this place.
Want To Learn About More Awesome Places?
To see more of my blog posts, photographs and information on Thailand, check out this page: Thailand
For more information on ALL of my travels, please check out this page: My travel destinations
Resources for planning and booking your next holiday
Find the best flight deals below:
Get a great deal on accommodation below: