If you’re a culture vulture you’re going to love Northern Thailand. Far removed from the island backpacker lifestyle, Chiang Mai has heaps on offer that doesn’t involve binging on buckets – although don’t worry, you can still find a party :). From the Night Bazaar to Muay Thai fights, to mediating with a monk and bathing in mud next to an elephant, you won’t ever be short of things to fill up your days in this city. Here’s some stuff you can get up to whilst you’re visiting:
- Get a massage from an inmate – there’s plenty in the area if you don’t make this one in time (books out by noon)
- Bathe with Elephants @ Elephant Jungle Sanctuary – EJS was allegedly set up by a woman who’d heard reoccurring feedback from tourists when she was a travel agent “we don’t want to ride the elephants”. She took this on board and went ahead and set up a haven / rescue centre for these beautiful creatures. For under £30, we got to feed, cuddle, roll around in mud and bathe these elephants. You’ll get fed and even gifted a souvenir too! There’s a photographer to capture these precious moments – sadly, we never had ours posted!
- Complete a meditation course hosted by a monk – Meditation is a growing passion of mine. After heaps of research, I found that you can take day courses at the Buddhist University in Chiang Mai. Hosted by the amazing KK – a Thai Buddhist monk, the short course is ran by donation only. Towards the end of the class you are encouraged to partake in an informal ‘Monk Chat’. This was a fantastic opportunity to ask a monk anything and everything! If you’re not interested in mediation, there are several slots throughout the week for you to sign up to Monk Chat. The monks get to practise their English and you get to a glimpse into a life you may never know. Highly recommend both!
- Eat street food at the market on the brink of the Old Gate
- Swap your literature – roam around the old city to find this wonderful establishment!
- Get a view of the city from the temple at the top of the mountain
- Listen to live music at North Gate Live Jazz Co-op
- Party at Spicy.
- Stay at: Gongkaew Chiangmai Home if you want chill only. Just under £6, the hostel fits eight in a dorm room, supplies free tea, coffee and toast around the clock and does a pretty decent brekkie. The wooden furniture nestled within the green garden make this place an excellent hangout for a night or two. OR Little Bird 2. Roughly same price but closer to the old & new city happenings.
Enjoy fellow nomads x