I had heard many great things about Chiang Mai so we were eager to stop by and experience what it had to offer. And after spending a few days there, one has to agree on how different it is from Bangkok. We stayed at Khum Phaya resort, more on which you can read here.
Nestled amongst forested foothills, Chiang Mai is not as busy or populated as Bangkok. The former seat of the Lanna kingdom is still blissfully calm and laid back despite the constant arrival of tourists and sightseers. It can be a great place for anyone looking to escape from the fast pace life of Bangkok.
Amongst the many activities that we did in Chiang Mai, the highlight of our time there was the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary was founded not too long ago, July 2014. It came about when the members of the Karen hill-tribes and Chiang Mai locals were concerned about the welfare of the elephants in Thailand. They have many locations throughout Thailand and are home to over thirty formerly mistreated elephants, who are now free to enjoy their lives.
Since we had a lot on our agenda, we opted for the half day morning activities. This including getting to feed the elephants bananas and bathe them in a mud bath and then rinse them off. There were even TWO baby elephants, 2 months and 11 months. One of them, Nayla, ended up chasing my husband for a bit!
We also paid a visit to Meo village and we were super super excited to meet the village people and see how they live but it felt like a huge tourist trap and setup. All it was were shops, shops, and more shops going up a hill. There was a small museum and a flower garden (which indeed was gorgeous) but we were hoping to interact and talk with village people. Totally heart broken. It’s possible we didn’t go to the right village (there are a bunch) and we didn’t have time to hop around to another so I would suggest going to a different village. If you do, please share your experience with me. Somewhere in the village, I bought strawberries from a local vendor and loved it – they added some salt and sugar to it which makes it tangy and spicy, extremely delicious to eat.
We also found a really great hot pot place in Chiang Mai. Guess it was meant to be because I have been asking hubby to go since forever and he finally did…in another country!
One evening, we also went to a Khum Khantoke show which includes authentic Lanna dinner. As you know my husband and I are vegetarians and it can be a task to find vegetarian food so when I say this dinner was amazing, it was AMAZING. As for the dancing/cultural show, it was fun.
A must see attraction in Chiang Mai is Doi Suthep temple. You have to climb a bunch of steps or take an elevator to reach this temple but the first glance of the temple literally took my breath away.
In route to Doi Suthep Temple, we also stopped at Huay Keaw falls which looked very beautiful from online pictures and articles. However as our driver warned us, there was no water in the falls due to high heat and no rains. It was a little disappointing to see that this was but a tiny little waterfall with barely any water flowing.