Oh My! Chiang Mai!
A small town that has the most to offer, temperatures are cooler than southern Thailand and things tend to be cheaper. Going to Chiang Mai was a great weekend trip that I would do again, it took an hour flying from Bangkok. As the largest city in Northern Thailand is known for having the most Buddhist temples in Thailand with over 300. The breathtaking mountains (literally) should be considered one of 7 world wonders, you won't find anything that compares in the country. Aside from nature, the night market is a spectacle in itself, here you can find the best souvenirs and clothes cheaper than in Bangkok. The food is also an experience, don’t leave without trying Khao Soi Gai (chicken curry soup), it happens to be one of the most consumed dishes in Thailand.
Things to do
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary- an ethical company was a big deal for me, so often elephants are exploited for entertainment, sadly, some “rescue” or “sanctuaries” still abuse them. After doing some research I found Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, I paid 1,500 BHT ($47) including transportation to and from my hostel and lunch. I got to feed and bath the elephants as well as play in the mud with them. The guides were friendly and knowledgeable who emphasized putting the elephants needs first. They warned us that if the elephants chose to not participate, they would not force them nor refund us money because nothing is guaranteed in real sanctuaries. Luckily, the elephants were in a playful mood which made my experience amazing.
Chiang Mai Night Bazar- I spent all my money here because I couldn’t resist the cheap prices, the vibe of the market was friendly with tons of street food. Here you can find just about anything, some things can be made right in front of you like soap sculptures, paintings and customized clothing.
Fundee Story Guesthouse- I wanted to step away from the traditional bedrooms when booking trips. I found Fundee through Airbnb and decided to try it, in all honesty I thought the wooden houses were cute and interesting. My stay here was great, they provide a mosquito net, a shower with hot water and a fan.
Doi Suthep- Mountain with a view of Chiang Mai with great scenery. Although I did not get the chance to visit, it is on my list for my next trip.
Doi Inthanon National Park- Home to the highest mountain in the country, some people refer to it as "the roof of Thailand" you’ll be up in the clouds after the hike. The park has numerous waterfalls, villages and picture worthy mountains. I regretfully didn’t get to experience this and will be making another trip.