We have been to Chiang Mai since 15/04/2017 and stayed there until 19/04/2-17, so all in all we had 4 full days to spend there. As always I booked a nice hotel via TopCashback site, I found a good price on a three star hotel called Chiang Mai Boutique House, it cost us £50.88 and the price went down by £5.08 as I secured for 10% cashback, so we paid in total £45.8 for the whole stay there.
The hotel was rather modest but clean and in a very good location, they had also a small pool – a nice bonus after day long sightseeing in a hot weather, so all in all it was a great place to stay,definitely worth recommending. At the time of writing the cheapest rates on that hotel are offered by Expedia (about £16 per night for a double room).
DAY 1 (half a day) – Saturday
On our arrival in Chiang Mai we realised it is Songkran, or Thai New Year, it’s Thailand’s wildest Buddhist festival and the kingdom’s most important public holiday. It usually starts on 13 of April and carries on until 15 of April. Somehow having not slept much on our way from London to Thailand I felt not like getting wet to celebrate the festival…I actually put the whole bucket of water on a first boy on my way – he seemed over the moon!
We were lucky to arrive to Chiang Mai on Saturday, as we arrived in the afternoon we headed to the Saturday Market – Wui Lai Market which was located to the south west of the old city opposite the Chiang Mai Gate. The market opens at 4pm and lasts until midnight. That was great to see so many beautiful local products and at such great prices.
We had our dinner in The Old City Inn which was located right in the middle of Chiang Mai Walking Street and the curries which we ordered there were very nice too (not as spicy as in other parts of Asia).
DAY 2 – Sunday
Today we have seen the most important temples in the city center and and the 3 King’s Monument.
Having eaten, this time in Ratchadamnoen Kitchen which was in the middle of the Sunday Market just next to the restaurant we ate yesterday we finally did some shopping. Sunday Market which was even bigger and busier than the Saturday one, it opens also since 4pm and lasts till midnight.
Sunday Market is a showcase of the art and craftsmanship of the Northern Thai people unlike the Night Bazaar which is filled with imitation designer labels. Many of the Saturday & Sunday Market stall owners make and sell their own products, therefore the quality of craftsmanship is excellent. The goods available are made from a wide variety of materials such as bamoboo, silk, paper, fabric, wood, metal, glass, ceramic etc. Its a true eye feast 🙂
– shorts for 100 THB
– long trousers for 230 THB haggled from 250 THB
– baby knitted sandals for 170 THB
– baby elephant dress for 160 THB
– Stitch hats for 300 THB haggled from 340 THB
– and a hat for myself for only 160 THB
Day 3 – Monday
We set off on an organised trip to visit the elephants in the Elephant Sanctuary. We DID NOT ride on the elephants but saw elephants most likely rescued from an elephant camp. The elephants were lovely, we saw them eating bananas and taking a bath. Our guide was a jungle boy who has been looking after the animals since he was a child, he was a very cheerful and nice person so it made the tour even better.
Day 4 – Tuesday
Today we rented a scooter at Mr Mechanic (24hrs rent = 250 THB for a small scooter with an insurance)and decided to visit Chiang Mai Zoo – it was amazing, well apart from the elephants kept there as they seemed to be visibly distressed, standing in a sun and waiting for visitors to ride on them – awful and so much different to the animals we saw on a previous day! Later on we rode up to the hill to see Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – a nice working until today monastery built in 1383, the entry fee was 30 THB, however I preferred the other temple we saw on our way back to the city – it was an underground temple called Wat Umong – simply amazing ?. There was no entry fees. Check it out yourself:
Day 5 (half a day) – Wednesday
On our last morning in Chiang Mai we chilled out around the city center, having a lovely breakfast and great coffee. Then we flew away to Luang Prabang 🙂
PRO Tip: When choosing a tuk tuk driving you to the airport ask the driver if they have a full tank as our tuk tuk lady was too chilled out and we realised she run out of petrol on our way to the airport, luckily it was only 500m away so we walked the remaining distance…