This is a three-part blog post, so be sure to also check out our other Thailand posts!!! Last year (October), Alex and I went on our honeymoon to visit Chiang Mai, Thailand along with Bangkok and Railay Beach (coming soon!)!!!! Believe me, the pasta, wine, and cheese were also calling our name in Europe, but we figured Thailand was a once in a lifetime adventure. And if you haven’t considered traveling to Thailand, ADD it to your bucket list. FOR REAL. During our 1.5-week trip, we planned to visit Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Railay Beach.
One fun thing I learned leading up to our trip was that some friends of mine were going to be there at the same exact time!!! Not only was it fun to explore with friends, but also have the security in case something happened because they had an international phone! 🙂 If you feel the need to have an international connection, take an extra cell phone with you and buy a plan at the Thailand airport. Super easy!!! You’ll see more tips below, but enjoy checking out our visit in Chiang Mai, Thailand!!!
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Chiang Mai, Thailand Adventures
AROUND THE OLD CITY
We really enjoyed our stay at The Chanda Mantra Hotel, in the Old City! I HIGHLY recommend staying inside of the “Old City” because there’s so much rich, authentic history within walking distance from the hotel. We got lost just walking around and it was some of my favorite memories from our time there. 🙂 And during the quick rainstorms, we enjoyed a cup of coffee on our balcony which was so peaceful and relaxing. 🙂
Across the street from our hotel was vegan pizza from a restaurant called the Peppermint Cafe… Mind you, we had no idea that it was vegan and we LOVED it! Also, did you know that Thai people love vegan food? I also loved the fruit smoothies everywhere we walked… Give me mango anything and everything! 🙂 Speaking of FRUIT! We got to taste some new ones in Thailand. One fruit I discovered was NOT my favorite was pitaya (or also known as dragon fruit) … But I absolutely LOVED Rambutan! Don’t be afraid to try new fruits on that side of the world. 🙂
Another yummy restaurant we enjoyed was called, Cooking Love! We heard that you HAVE to try Khao Soi — It’s a famous Chiang Mai dish. It lived up to its expectation because it was right TASTY!!!! The best part of the evening was coming back to our hotel after walking back from the restaurant only then discovering that the other Cooking Love restaurant was in our hotel!!! HA! We appreciated the walk/adventure anyways. 😉
WAT CHEDI LUANG VARAVIHARA TEMPLE + OTHER TEMPLES
Our first adventure day around the “Old City” involved a lot of temple sight-seeing! Because it was so hot outside, I wore shorts and carried “elephant pants” in my backpack to toss overtop before entering the temples. We found this the easiest way of getting around. One of our favorite temples we checked out was the Wat Chedi Luang Varavihara Temple! The history of the temple was beautiful, but we also REALLY loved the treats too! HAHA! While we were there, they had a free food festival happening and gave us coconut ice cream. 🙂 Talk about refreshing!!! Although, Alex got his in a cone, and mine came wrapped up in a slice of bread? HA! I regret not taking a photo of the masterpiece. 😉 Nevertheless, we had the best time checking out Chiang Mai’s beautiful creations!
To say I was skeptical about renting a scooter in an understatement… By this point, I had seen/heard of many accidents around Bangkok, and I knew I didn’t want to be a part of it. Butttttt… YOLO. Be careful because the cars around you are very careless. It was a bit of an adjustment to let go of control, but Alex did a GREAT job driving us around the city … and even the CRAZY windy mountain roads (that part was a little scary)! One funny memory from driving a scooter around was that time we got a Thai ticket! Basically, we didn’t have a Thai license to drive the scooter around. So we had to pay money and we were good with a day pass they gave us!
TIP: If you end up getting a ticket for driving a scooter without a license, don’t fret! Just pay and go on your way. 🙂
HAPPY ELEPHANT HOME
We have our friends to thank for this experience!!!! Initially, we were planning to visit a different elephant sanctuary, but we absolutely LOVED the Happy Elephant Home!!! We adored their mission to give their elephants the best life, and we learned SO much while spending the day with them!!
This was an adventure of a LIFETIME. Really. They dressed us up in traditional Thai clothing, taught us how to cut up sugar cane and watermelon and hand-feed the elephants, make our own noodle lunch, play in the mud (later found out it was a poop pit… HA!) and the river with them, and frolic in the fields with these giant beasts! Gosh, this was by far one of my favorite adventures in Thailand!!!!
TIP: If you are looking for an elephant experience, be sure their mission is to not put you on the elephant. It does more harm than good to these animals, which may be surprising to most people! But the Happy Elephant Home did an incredible job giving you the best experience while explaining the care for their giant babies!!!
We met up with our friends for a cup of coffee at Ristr8to Blend before hopping on our scooters up the mountain. On our way up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple, we wanted to check out a waterfall or two. 🙂 Alex had a little too much fun in the Monthathan Waterfall. HAHA!
WAT PHRA THAT DOI SUTHEP TEMPLE + EATING OUR FIRST FRIED INSECT
This title says it all! We rode our scooters to the top of the mountain to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple! By this point, we had seen a lot of temples, but they were all so uniquely set up and decorated. The views here were beautiful too! We loved seeing little girls playing in cute outfits looking for money in exchange to have their photos taken… Little entrepreneurs? Haha! After we had our fun around the temple, we slowed down for some coffee and a little nibble of … insects. Yes. We tried fried crickets. It mostly tasted like seasoning, but the texture wasn’t my favorite… But we did it!!! 🙂
Before going out for the night, we paid to have a Thai massage done — Talk about an experience! Haha! It’s a bit rough, but definitely something to do. 😉
Thailand has plenty of fun markets to explore every night of the week! We enjoyed the street music, souvenir shopping, and food!!!! Although, find out in the next section of the blog post what happened after this night adventure… Let me say it wasn’t the banana-nutella rotee (a must-try Bangkok + Chiang Mai, Thailand!!!)! YUMMM!
THAI BOXING MATCH
We got together with our friends one last time for a Thai boxing match!! It was a fun way to cap off our time in Chiang Mai before heading out to Railay Beach the next morning. 🙂
This was about the time I started to feel really sick but tried to not think about it. Earlier that day, I ate hard-boiled eggs that looked a little sketchy. After eating two of them and tossing the third one out, my stomach started to turn just an hour later. But it wasn’t until the next day when it REALLY hit me… Somehow, I still managed to drink some from our bucket cocktail that evening! After all, it’s one of the “must-do” things to do in Bangkok + Chiang Mai, Thailand!!!! That as well as eat an insect (check!!!) and get a tattoo (a big no for us! HA!)!
TIP: Don’t eat hard-boiled eggs that are grey colored and don’t have a yolk inside. Also, if you want the “true Thai experience,” you should order a bucket cocktail, get a “tattoo,” and eat a fried insect (especially on Khoa San Road in Bangkok!)!
I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of our visit in Chiang Mai, Thailand!!! Be sure to check out our other blog posts in Bangkok and Railay Beach!!! 🙂
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