For all pictures from our Chiang Mai, Thailand trip, please click HERE.
August 14 | Arrive in Chiang Mai
After our Bali trip, Phebe and I still had some time to do some more travelling. We decided to go to Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was Phebe’s first time going and my second time. Also tagging along in our adventure was Phebe’s parents. They will stay with us for only 3 nights while we will stay 5 nights. Although they had both been to Chiang Mai before, Phebe’s mom said just going there for the Thai massage is worth the air ticket. By the time our flight arrived and we checked everything in our hotel, it was evening and we were getting hungry. We asked around for good places to eat and mom managed to get directions from someone at the convenience store. The person didn’t speak any english and only wrote down the name of the restaurant in Thai! So we walked around the streets of Chiang Mai trying to match the symbols of the restaurant. It felt like a task you would expect to get on the Amazing Race! After scrounging through the city for what seemed like an eternity, we managed to find the restaurant (Huen Phen). We had to wait about an hour to get in as it was super packed. We didn’t want to go anywhere else so we just waited. There was a fruit shake stand next door so I helped myself to a fruit shake. When we finally got in, the service was slow and they even overcharged us on the bill. The food was ok but small portions. After dinner we went back to the hotel and asked around different tour agencies for day tours for tomorrow. Next activity – elephant riding!
Aug 15 – Elephant Tour
Today was jam packed full of activities. We went to the Orchid & Butterfly farm, rode oxen, saw a funny elephant show, ate buffet lunch, rode the elephants, went to a waterfall, and went to go see the Karen long neck villages. We were going to go bamboo rafting but it was raining so hard that at one point that the river was flooding and it was unsafe to go. When we got back to the hotel mom and dad got their well deserved Thai massage. While they were having their massage Phebe and I were busy planning our activities for the next few days. We were at a tour agency across the street from the massage place when it started to pour down rain. It rained so hard that the roads started to flood!!! We had to wait for about a few hours as it kept on raining. The waters almost came up to our knees!
Aug 16 – Tiger Kingdom & Night Bazaar
Today we rented bicycles and rode around the old city of Chiang Mai. The bicycles were super cheap to rent, about $1.50 Cdn for 24 hours! In the afternoon we decided to drive up to Tiger Kingdom to see the tigers up close and personal! We were allotted about 15 minutes to see and touch the tigers in the cage. It was a thrilling experience to actually touch and see the tigers up close. They claim that the tigers are not sedated and that during the day the tigers are not as active as they are at night. We had our buffet lunch at Tiger Kingdom which was pretty good. I ate so much. After a well deserved siesta in the afternoon, we went to the night bazaar to do some shopping. We bought some gifts and souvenirs for family and friends. After that we went to go see Thai boxing (Muay Thai). When we got the tickets I had pictured a big stadium full of crowds just like what you see in the movies. Instead, it was in a dingy area in the back of a food court where they had bleachers for you to sit. It was a great experience to see all the fights. The highlight of the night was definitely the three knockouts that I got to see.
Aug 17 – Thai Cooking Class
I was actually very excited to be taking part in my first ever Thai cooking class. There were many companies to choose from but we ended up choosing Sammy’s Organic Thai Cooking School. Sammy’s “classroom” is actually in a farm that he owns about 30 minutes drive from Chiang Mai. He is a funny, warm, and kind-hearted person. We all heard about his famous toilet and how it was the best in Chiang Mai. I must say it was pretty impressive with all the floral and views surrounding the toilet. One of the lessons of the class was actually making your own curry paste by scratch! We had to pound all the different spices that make up the curry. That was probably the most interesting to me as I was so used to buying curry paste in the stores and never would have imagined me making actual paste by scratch. So throughout the day I made the following dishes: pad Thai, banana coconut dessert, chicken in pandan leaves, chicken coconut soup, and my favorite – yellow curry. After eating the main course and the soup I was ready for a snooze. Earlier in the day Sammy hinted that he had hammocks for us to sleep on after lunch. We thought Sammy was joking but he was actually serious! There were hammocks for all of us attending the course! After So we decided to take a little snooze after lunch.
After lunch we cooked the rest of the dishes (appetizer and dessert).
August 18 | Golden Triangle
We decided to go on the Golden Triangle tour for our last full day in Chiang Mai. The Golden Triangle is an area that overlaps three countries of South East Asia: Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand. Way back in the day, the area was known for its extensive opium-producing and heroin smuggling. It was quite the drive to go to the Golden Triangle. We had to pass by Chiang Rai and along the way we stopped by the hot springs and the white temple. When we arrived at the Golden Triangle we took a boat along the Mekong River where we saw both the Myanmar and Laos border. We actually disembarked and walked around the Laos side for a bit without our passports (just had a to pay a small administrative fee). Afterwords, we had a buffet lunch at Mae Sai which was near the Myanmar border. Here, we were at the most northern point of Thailand which was pretty cool. After lunch we went to see a nearby village tribe and then a long 3 hour drive back to Chiang Mai.