Off to Chiang Mai! When traveling to Chiang Mai, Thailand, I had absolutely no idea what to expect and I must say, I was very pleased. Much calmer and scenic than Bangkok, Thailand, this city is still large and filled with amazing restaurants, markets, and malls, but here there is much more greenery and culture in my opinion. While here, we spent much more time outside exploring the outdoors whether it be hiking, riding elephants, or just enjoying the wildlife and nature. Check out below some of my favorite recommendations while here!
Suan Paak Restaurant: In Thai, Suan Paak means Vegetable Garden, naming this restaurant very appropriately ! At Suan Paak, all vegetables are grown in their own garden and they are known for having some of the freshest, best vegetables in the city! All dishes here are original and authentic, providing the perfect Thailand experience!
The Riverside Restaurant: A very popular bar and pub with all sorts of Thai and American foods, this popular destination along the river is a great spot for a casual dinner! Along the street is many other fun and cool restaurants with diverse selections so you can find something for anyone!
Khantoke Show: Here is a great place to eat some authentic Thai food and watch a cultural dancing show! The dancers are very subtle, but dance to Thai music on stage and through the tables for optimal entertainment! Make sure to stop by the gift shop after as well for more souvenirs, if you haven’t purchased enough already!
Oasis Spa: By far one of the nicest spas I have ever been to, Oasis Spa is a definite must-do while in Chiang Mai! Here, my friends and I enjoyed pedicures, massages, foot massages, and facials after a long day of traveling. The service could not have been better and the prices were amazing! This is not only enjoyable but a true experience of Thailand.
Doi Kham: Another amazing Buddhist temple in Thailand is Doi Kham and a definite must see while in the country! Here you can see a 17-meter high Buddha, shop some local souvenirs, see locals worshipping, and get an amazing photo above a huge golden staircase with an amazing view of the city!
Elephant Sanctuary: By far one of my favorite things we did while in Thailand was ride elephants. These amazingly genius animals are loving, fun, and not to mention so adorable! Chiang Mai is filled with elephant conservation programs were you are welcome to hang with their 3 ton friends and are guaranteed tons of fun!
Bamboo Raft Down the River: After riding elephants, raft down the river on a Bamboo float while a local paddles the front! This is a fun, scenic experience you are sure to never forget.
Visit Hill Tribe: This is definitely a cultural experience I would highly recommend! Right next to the elephant sanctuary is a village filled with locals sometimes referred to as “Long Necks” since they were metal rings around their necks for support and to grow in length. Here you can purchase many beautiful, local pieces to take home for friends and family!
Ox Cart Riding: Another common custom in Thailand is Ox Cart Riding! Enjoy this fun experience and ride an Ox through the village.
Bamboo Rafting: What better way to see the beauties of Chiang Mai than to raft down the river to see all the beauty and nature!? On this rafting tour, a local from the area will paddle the raft down the river for you to see all the wildlife and culture of Chiang Mai.
Orchid Farm: If flowers and gardening are your thing, I highly recommend the Orchid Farm! Here you can buy beautiful, floral jewelry, walk through an amazing garden with the prettiest orchids you’ve ever seen, and even visit their butterfly farm! This is an amazing spot for photos and another way to see an important aspect of Thai culture.
Gemstone Factory: Interested in knowing how all your jewelry is made?! Go to the Gemstone factory to see the creation of silvers, golds, and many precious gems along with shopping some of the most beautiful pieces ranging in all prices!
Night Market: An absolute must in Thailand is to stop at one of their night markets. This common part of everyday life in Thai culture is so unique and the perfect place to buy reasonably priced souvenirs! Differing fro Bangkok’s markets, Chiang Mai’s markets had much more authentic, thai cultural pieces that were great to bring back for friends and family.
Shangri-La: While we stayed in many nice, 5-star hotels in Asia, this was by far my favorite. The rooms were huge with amazingly comfortable beds, the staff could not have been nicer, the spa and workout room were beyond impressive! I also adored the food as they did an amazing job of encompassing delicacies from all over the world to please everyone. This was a hotel I would stay in again and again.