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CHIANG MAI


We visited Chiang Mai in 1992 after spending some time in Bangkok, and found it very pleasant and relaxing after the noise, buzz and polution of Bangkok (polution in Bangkok doesn't seem so bad these days, possibly because of the Skytrain). We only stayed a few days though and our main reason for going was to do a trek. We decided to do a one day trek which included walking, rafting, elephant riding and visiting Thai villages.

We stayed in a backpackers called Rama Guesthouse. It was clean and well located on Moon Muang Road - looks as though it still exists although I can't find anything other than basic listings. The staff were very friendly, except for the owner - we think she was miffed that we didn't book our trek through her.

 

Hilltribe Village, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Tribal village, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Rafting near Chiang Mai
The climb to Doi Suthep temple, Chiang Mai
Hilltribe Village near Chiang Mai
Hilltribe Village near Chiang Mai
Bamboo rafting near Chiang Mai
The climb to Doi Suthep temple,
Chiang Mai
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Things to do in Chiang Mai

 

Treks - There were options of doing a safari or a trek, but we decided we should be more adventurous so we booked a full one-day trek which was fun. It started off with a long, rather treacherous walk to the waterfall - shoes with a good grip strongly recommended! We then walked further to the Karen hilltribe village. It was interesting, but we felt a bit like intruders and don't think the villagers really want tourists wandering around, taking photos.

 

Next was bamboo rafting. Here you're guaranteed to get wet! We were on a really basic raft which partly submersed in water before we even got moving! When the raft got stuck on a rock at a very steep bit, it toppled over and we all fell in. It was quite scary as there was a really strong current. We tried to hold on to rocks but the current was too strong. Eventually we managed to scramble to the side, but not without being pulled further downstream and being bashed against rocks. It wouldn't have been nearly so scary if it hadn't been so rocky. My shorts were torn to shreds and we had a few bruises to show for it. Fun to look back on, just don't expect an easy trip, even though it's anything but white water rafting! And take a change of clothing or you'll be wearing soggy clothes for the elephant ride! This was fun. Rode on the elephants through the jungle for about half an hour, then started walking again to another hilltribe village. Felt even more like intruders here - even the dogs growled at us! The walk back to the bus was fun but really hard work - about 30 - 45 minutes up and down steep hills. It was a fun day - recommended.

Night Bazaar
- Chiang Mai's Night Bazaar lives up to its reputation. A huge market, with lots of bargains to be had. We found things cheaper than they were in Bangkok (remember though, this was 1992 - things could have changed!). As with all Thai markets, be prepared to haggle!

 

Doi Suthep temple - impressive temple with fabulous views of Chiang Mai from the top. You can also visit the grounds of the Winter Palace nearby, although you don't actually get to go inside the Palace.

 

Chiang Mai Zoo - If you like zoos, or just feel like doing something different, this place is worth a visit. There is a good selection of animals and they appeared to be well cared for.

 

Useful sites about Chiang Mai

 

Chiang Mai City Life - Useful site about Chiang Mai with lots of links
Chiang Mai Online Guide - Another useful site with details of accommodation, eating and drinking, etc.

Chiang Mai Travel Guide - more information about Chiang Mai
Trip Advisor - Reviews from other travellers and a useful forum

Hotels in Chiang Mai - Book hotels in Chiang Mai, read travellers reviews of those hotels and earn rewards worth 5% of your booking to use against other reservations.