July 14-17, 2015
Some people say that Thailand is too touristy these days, but I enjoy how convenient it is to travel. Its hospitality makes it one of the most accessible exotic destinations on earth. Its diverse natural landscape is part of the allure. Go south for white sand beaches surrounded by deep blue seas, go north for greenery cascaded by mountains. Temples on every corner and good food throughout.
Last time I went for beach time at Had Yao beach, Koh Phangan. This time I aimed to go up north to Chiang Mai. It is 700 km (435 mi) north of Bangkok and is situated amongst the highest mountains in the country. The old city of Chiang Mai is a neat square surrounded by a moat and a defensive wall built 700 years ago to defend against Burmese invaders and the armies of the Mongol Empire.
Chiang Mai is a chill place to kick back and relax and the streets are very walkable. For culture vultures, Chiang Mai is a vibrant classroom to study Thai language, cooking, meditation, and massage.
I had some great experiences in Chiang Mai, including:
- Bathing elephants at the Elephant Retirement Park.
- Taking long walks along the wall.
- Haggling a fair price with tuk-tuk drivers to drive us temple to temple.
- Shopping and eating at the Night Bazaar and Kad Rin Come Night Market – haggle, haggle, haggle, and beware of rats running up your legs.