After an action packed week in one of the most magnificent back drops I have ever been – Vang Vieng. Thailand was calling and this time to the North and Chiang Mai.
Next stop → Chiangmai, Thailand
Getting to Chiang Mai
We got an early bus from Vang Vieng back to Vientiane. Crossing back over the boarder we stopped in Nong Khai a city in North-East Thailand. We were dropped at a random bus station to fend for ourselves and caught a tuk tuk to the actual bus stop our next bus picked us up from. Which we missed!
Whilst we waited we had THE cheapest meal yet and used the internet while we waited for our connecting bus.
We were sold ‘super VIP’ tickets and we 100% did not get that! We did however some water and a bread roll and no film for the whole bus ride – Note to self- be careful of who you buy from!
After THE BUMPIEST JOURNEY IN THE WORLD!!! We arrived at 6am after being eaten alive on the bus by mozzys.
Where to Stay
Our friends who left us in Southern Thailand had been up to Chiang Mai and advised us where they stayed. Unfortunately it was fully booked, the helpful Thai husband told us his friend had somewhere we could stay. At this point I did one of the most risky things during my time in Thailand.. I got on the back of his moped and we drove around trying to find somewhere we could stay leaving my friends behind. Luckily he was a lovely man and I made it back in one piece.
We stayed at the Natlen Boutique guest house and it was SO lovely.. after a week of staying in a shared dorm!! We had an amazing hot shower, comfy beds and lovely surroundings! (or at least it felt incredible but at £12 its cheap too)
After our traumatic bus ridge a nap was much needed to restore us back to life!
Exploring Chiang Mai
Refreshed and ready for our new surroundings we set off to explore Chiang Mai first stop after wandering was the zoo. I do not perticually like zoo’s… but we went.
In the zoo there are so many different kinds of animals hippos, otters, elephants, kangaroos and even pandas! You can also buy food and feed all of the animals which was good to do. The enclosures for the animals are small and not perticually nice but I have read recently that there is currently a conservation project to try and improve the quality of life for animals in their enclosures.. which can only be a good thing.
My best bit of the zoo was being able to buy food for Giraffes and walk along a wooden/bamboo bridge and be able to feed them..
…and just for a laugh here is a couple of photos of a baby elephant scaring the life out of me…
Walking the city
Cooking up a storm
That night we had booked ourselves on to a Thai cookery class! Being no room in the tuk tuk there me and me friend had to get on the back of someone’s moped… again!!
The class met at the market we looked around, had a talk about local foods and picked our ingredients!
We were shown what how best to prepare our ingredients… got on our aprons and off we went cooking up a storm!
I made spring rolls, coconut soup and massaman curry (my fave in Thailand)!
We cooked and all sat down together and ate our meals, tasting all my friends obviously.. we had made different just to try. It was all so yummy!!!
We had such a fun evening and I would definitely recommend if you are in Thailand to do a cookery class! We also got a certificate and and authentic cookery book to take away.
After being dropped off we called at the night markets to do some shopping! I had been told Chiang mai markets were a good place to visit for shopping and cheap meals
Exploring more of Chiang Mai
The next day we had a yummy breakfast in our guest house. Before heading out for seeing more of the city…
We decided to go to Tiger kingdom… We had not researched this we had just been told it was a good place to go! It wasn’t cheap… and what’s worse I hated every second of it! This was absolutely my worst experience in Thailand!! I wish I researched it and never paid money towards it! You should never be able to get so close to such amazing wild animals. My biggest regret in Thailand.
After we were dropped at the City gate to explore and grab a traditional meal in the market. This is a must do for a cheap meals and to sample local meals. We stayed at the market the rest of the day. Grabbing more food and shopping picking up lots of locally made souvenirs. You can get anything from: paintings, decorations, spices, tea and coffee,bracelets, clothes and much more.
Packing my bag that night it was full to bursting with so many amazing little bits it was a task getting my bag closed!!
To the Jungle
As part of our package of things to see do in Chiang Mai we we going to the jungle for two days. We fed up at the guest house before getting picked up at 9am.
First stop was the butterfly sanctuary… honestly if it hadn’t of been included in the ticket price I would have been annoyed. We saw one brown butterfly… bit of a disappointment!!
Next stop we called in at a long neck, big ear tribe. You could walk around and see the people of the tribe going about their daily lives in the jungle and making souvenirs to sell.
Before our last stop we grabbed ‘supplies’ for the jungle trek… chocolate crisps and water!
The road into the jungle was BUMPY and lots for beeping as going round corners was treacherous! We were dropped off at a little wooden hut and given fried rice to eat before setting off on our big hike.
Up we go..
off we went into the jungle…
There were little settlements of Thai villages in little patches here and there on the way up. The villages were very remote but people were very friendly as we walked through and took some pictures.
Can you spot the bats?
We set off… a lot of uphill!! It just went on and on!! Once we were at a good height the views were amazing of all of the greenery around us!
.. it was then the rain started… could hear it coming towards us hitting the trees. It was loudddd and never really stopped!! This made walking through it so much harder as we were practically walking through rivers.
Our jungle guide was really good.. he pointed out lots of plants and local sights for us.
As what goes up must come down… the decent down was so slippy. There was a group ahead and they pulled down the bamboo the rail that was helping keep people up. This was how I ended up like this…
We were muddy after the decent to say the least…
We stopped at a little ‘opium village’ for drinks and a snack after hours of trekking. Rain was so bad at this point you could barely see ahead of you for rain. But all part of the fun..right?
Our guide was collecting random plants and mushrooms.. not sure who or what for but oh well!
We were staying in a long neck tribe village. Staying in a giant bamboo hut with more people on our trek! There were animals running round and it was very rural. We loved it!
It came to our evening meal and there were some huge pots of curry put down to help ourselves to. Massamas curry… (my all time fave in Thailand) with rice it was amazing!!
Trying to sleep I was interesting .. there were no proper floorboards just little pieces of bamboo tied together with a holey mosquito net! The jungle was loud at night, we had been warned it comes alive at night and it definitely did!!
Day 2 in the Jungle
Up bright eyed and bushy tailed ready for our breakfast of eggs. We set off and continued our trek through the jungle.
This time it was quite pleasant as it was nice and sunny and the walk was fairly nice.
After a few hours we came out of the jungle. As part of our jungle trek we were to visit an adventure camp. This involved washing elephants, waterfalls, zip wiring, bamboo rafting and white water rafting!! It was SO fun!!
Once finished we headed back to our Guest house – Nat len Boutique Guest house… we were in dire need of a shower!!
Refreshed and washed all the mud off we went out into Chiang Mai to the Market to eat and to a few bars. Spicy bar being one of them. It was such a fun night and it was a great way to spend our last day in Chiang Mai.
Thoughts on Chiang Mai
We loved every second we spent in Chiang Mai exploring the streets with lots of shopping and picking up souvenirs and eating in the local markets. The jungle had been an unforgettable experience with its amazing views, local food and the adventure camp I would recommend a visit. Hoping to come back here one day and explore more of this city.
Enjoyed my Thailand posts so far? Coming up next we travel further up north in Thailand to Pai a small rural town. where we cram in as many sights as possible into our short 24 hours there.
Thankyou for reading
Let me know what you think and what your experiences were in Chiang mai. I would love to hear about them in the comments below↓