Oh my goodness I've only gone and done it.
A week after getting back (and many pesterings from Emma later), I'm finally getting around to posting about Thailand. Warning- this post has a ridiculous amount of photos.
I've decided to split my posts into three though, to give each of the locations we stayed in some proper air time. So today we're starting with Chiang Mai. Which is appropriate really, given that that's where we actually started the holiday.
|From Visit Thailand|
As you can see, Chiang Mai is right up in the north of Thailand. Apparently it's very easy to get an overnight train from Bangkok up there, but given that M and I were already meeting in Bangkok, we decided to keep things as hassle-free as possible and fly, which can be done from Don Mueng Airport (the smaller of Bangkok's two airports, and where I met M).
We stayed in two different places in Chiang Mai- the first being Eco Resort, which was slightly outside of the main city centre, and Top North Hotel, which was inside the city walls. I'd recommend Eco Resort in a heartbeat- it was so lovely, and great for a couple of days relaxing when we first arrived. I'd also recommend staying inside the city walls of Chiang Mai- it's where everything is, so it's much easier for getting around and exploring, else you'll have to get tuk-tuks everywhere (not a hardship as they're good fun, but...), but I wouldn't necessarily recommend Top North- I think there are far better places for the money we paid.
Chiang Mai is incredible- there's so much to do there. We spent a day exploring temples, a couple of days by the pool, and a day on a cookery class; we explored both the Saturday and Sunday walking markets; we got massages, and we are a lot of good food.
We'd recommend spending a day visiting temples. This means you can kind of get the really cultural stuff out of the way in one fell swoop, whilst stopping for lots of fruit shakes and cake (both of which the Thai people do very well- Costa could learn a lot about blended ice drinks from the Thai). It also makes getting dressed easier, as for most temples you need to have your shoulders and knees covered- so a t-shirt and a maxi skirt are a good idea. As seen below in the horrendous photo of me. Otherwise, make sure you have one or the other covered, and take a light scarf to drape around you.
|These are dotted around at a lot of temples- I think it's a good message.|
I would definitely recommend heading up to Doi Suthep- a temple up a mountain, which you have to climb three hundred steps to get to (works off all of the cake). The temple itself is beautiful, and the views of Chiang Mai from the top are incredible.
A cooking school is also a brilliant thing to do- we went with Baan Thai and had such a good day- even if I did nearly pass out in a market and had to keep running outside for fresh air (I got too hot). They take you to a market and explain about all the ingredients, and then you get to pick what you cook, which is so good. You also get to take home a recipe book, which I was so pleased about.
The Saturday and Sunday Walking Markets are also amazing, and huge. Be prepared to haggle- most traders will expect it, even from awkward British girls. I felt so proud of myself for getting a couple of bargains, even if the women I was buying from seemed a bit cross at selling for such low prices. Whoops.
The reason we stayed in two separate places is because between the two, we travelled up to Pai for a couple of days. But more on that next time...