top things to do in chiang mai
- Visit the Old City
- Doi Suthep
- Sunday Night Market
- Night Bazarre
- Warorot Market
- Bo Sang Umbrella Factory
- Learn how to plant rice
- Get a massage
- Watch a LadyBoys show (In the evening at the Night Bazarre)
- Take a Muay Thai boxing class
- Watch a boxing match
outside chiang mai: day tours departing from chiang mai
- The Elephant Sanctuary: Native Tribe’s Elephants
Elephants are a very very sensitive topic in Thailand. There are many many tour operators offering to get to know the animals, but the majority of them treat the elephants very badly. I most definetly did not want to participate to any sort of animal cruelty, so I did my research…. I cancelled the trip I had originally booked after realising it wasn’t ethical, and booked Native Tribe’s Elephant Sanctuary tour instead. BEST. DAY. EVER. (No exageration here!) spent with HAPPY and HEALTHY ELEPHANTS. Read the full article here on our day with the elephants, and why you should book this tour and not any other! (Thank me later!) Read the full article here.
- Thai Cooking Class Chiang Mai is known for its delicious food, which makes it THE place to learn more about Thai cuisine… Of course, I wanted to take a cooking class! There are many many cooking schools around Chiang Mai offering classes, it was hard to choose. We went for the Organic Thai Cooking Farm.
- Doi Ithanon National Park
- Chiang Rai
where to stay in chiang mai
There are many, many, hotels in Chiang Mai. Each of them looking more beautiful than the other. Have a look on booking.com and you will spend hours trying to pick one (I did!) So I will make the job easier for you, and give you a shortlist. We stayed in 3 different hotels in Chiang Mai, and loved every single one of them. (In fact, we tried, but couldn’t decide which one of the three we preferred, all beautiful and luxurious, in their own way).
where to eat in chiang mai
I still tried a few really good restaurants which I recommend and will list below:
For Thai food:
huen muan jai
tong tem toh
the salad corner
To know before you go to Thailand
Members of the European Union don’t need a visa to visit Thailand (maximum stay: 30 days)
Do I need special vaccination?
I went in June, and didn’t need to take any medication or get vaccination prior to the trip. However, depending on the time of the year and the region you are visiting, you may need to take malaria pills and get vaccination for hepatite B. Check with your doctor.
In comparison to European prices, Thailand is very cheap. You can eat for 40 bahts (=less than €1) (street food or simple restaurant) or 300 in a luxurious hotel/restaurant. We spent most our money on transportation and tours. See the section below on transportation.
How to avoid getting ill
Never drink tap water! Always buy bottled water. Make sure the ice cubes in your drinks (water, and smoothies!) were made of treated water (99% chances they will be) Overall, street food is pretty safe (I had street food all week and didn’t get sick!)… And trust your instincts… If you have doubts, don’t eat it. No Pad thai, as tasty as it may be, is worth ruining your holiday for ;-)
Pack your bag: Checklist
Here are a few things you should take with you…
- Mosquito spray (although there are pharmacies on every corner in Chiang Mai where you will be able some)
- A copy of your passeport (If you need to exchange money, you will be asked for your passport! We learned the hard way and ended up having to take money out from an ATM, which cost us a fixed 220bahts)
- Change in your currency (easier to exchange! And to avoid the 220baths charge)
- Medication for food poisoning (just in case…) I was told by a friend that these are very hard to find in Thailand, even in pharmacies
How safe is Chiang Mai?
We were two girls, and felt very safe the whole time, day and night. There are policemen everywhere, who seem very on it! Definetly a city I would feel safe exploring by myself. Solo travellers, don’t hesitate to go!
One last tip: Negotiate EVERYTHING.
Transportation: How to get around Chiang Mai
Many hotels let you borrow bikes, which is a great way to get around if the weather allows!
There are scooter rentals almost everywhere, although beware, it’s dangerous! A friend living in Chiang Mai told me that all of her friends who rented scooters had an accident!
SCAM ALERT: Although most scooter rentals won’t ask for it, you DO need a license to drive a scooter around Thailand. The police does very regular checks, and arrest tourists everyday, who didn’t have a driving license.
The red trucks: There are open red trucks everywhere, driving around the city (basically a mix between a bus and a tuk tuk: They don’t have a precise itinerary. You can hop on, tell them where you are going and they will drop you off. However, although it says in big letters on the truck that the ride is 30bahts / person, they won’t hesitate to charge you 200-400 baths for a ride! Make sure to negotiate before jumping on.
UBER: Most definetly the best, easiest and cheapest way to get around! (Although you will need wifi…) You will be in a really nice car with AC for half the price of a red truck bus.
Tuk tuks: There are tuk tuks waiting in front of most tourist attractions, but they are usually more expensive than red trucks and UBER (unless you have really good negotiating skills!)
Most 4*+ hotels and tours have their own shuttle buses. Some hotels offer free airport pick up and drop off, and to drop you off to some of the main tourist attractions. Most day tours include transportation (they pick you up and drop you off at your hotel: handy!)
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