Tag Archives: Chiang May

Chiang Dao caves and beautiful Nong Buak park

Yesterday we went to see Chiang Dao caves. To get there we took the local county bus which was an experience in its own. The bus was probably from the 70’s but after a fun 1,5h ride we arrived at small Chiang Dao town (one way ticket was 40 baht per person). From there it was supposed to be 1h walk to the caves but we managed to walk only for about 1,5km when a very lovely couple picked us up and took us the the cave entrance. Big thanks to them! Although walking in this beautiful countryside was a great experience. There you could see the true country life of Thailand. Rice fields and farmers everywhere, majestic views of the nearby mountains and much more. At the cave once again our friend fast floods greeted us. The nearby river at the entrance was flooding and water was covering the park benches and pathways. Luckily though we could still get into the caves. Entrance fee is 40 baht which allows you to see the lit part of the area with small shrines and walkways. This was definitely worth the money! But there’s also an option to hire a guide for 100 baht per person (+ a tip at the end, usually 50 baht) and then you can go and discover the darker areas of the cave system. The pros of this was that you could see a lot of different bigger halls, beautiful stone figures that water has formed through thousands of years and also get a small adrenaline rush climbing through the small passages (rather I would say crawling, and there was quite much of it so be prepared to get dirty) joining the different parts. The cons are that the guide has a rather small gas light and it’s difficult to see much (since there were hundreds of bats in the cave, maybe small light is so that they wouldn’t be disturbed) and our guide seemed to be in a rather hurry. It would have been better to discover this place on our own but sadly that’s not allowed. Some areas were closed once again because of the high water but either way it’s definitely worth a visit! Sadly we lost Anna’s sunglasses somewhere in the darkness of the cave.. but we will buy new ones :). By the way the first picture in the beginning of this post is when you try to take a picture in the dark caves with a flash but at the same time you are sweating and there’s a huge amount of vapor coming from your body. In the end it turned out to be quite an artistic capture :).

To get back it was supposedly a 5km walk but once again we could manage to walk only for about 1 km when we were picked up by another great couple. People in the countryside seem to be very very nice :)! So we got the experience riding in the back of a open pickup truck and it was fun :)!

Today we went to see a local Nong Buak park in old city Chiang Mai. It was really nice and most of the time we spent feeding the fishes. There were several ponds filled with them and also some very big and beautiful Koi fish. We had never seen so huge and magnificent Koi before! It was truly relaxing spending time there. In addition I could through some hoops after a long time. There was a basket and a basketball in the middle of the park and a couple from Sweden were playing 21. They were also travelling through SE Asia planning to visit Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. So I joined in and it was fun :)!

I also made a video of our adventure in Chiang Dao and some clips of our pool visit in nearby Eco resort (you pay 150 baht per person and you get access to the poolside for the whole day) plus of course I had to include our Hostel hamsters :). Go and have a look!

A quiet day + the latest video

Due to the King’s funeral today it’s really quiet everywhere. Most of the places are closed and not too many people walking around (you can read more about it from here). So we had a little day off also. Especially since yesterday’s trip to the water park was quite exhausting :). Tomorrow a new adventure awaits us as we plan to visit nearby Chiang Dao caves.

As we have found our favorite massage salon (Dang massage) and coffee place (Baanta cafe) there’s a great restaurant we have visited almost every day (Le Spice Chiang Mai). Food there is very delicious, prices reasonable and service just great! It’s an Indian/Thai kitchen so a lot of options in the menu. Thumbs up for that place!

But here you can see the latest clip about our trip to Elephant Family Care and Grand Canyon water park. There will be one more video coming about Chiang Mai. Meanwhile enjoy :)!

 

Majestic elephants and Chiang Mai Grand Canyon water park

When you’re visiting Chiang Mai then one thing that you just have to do is go and visit one of the many elephant sanctuaries near the city. Before 1989 elephants were used on different kind of heavy labor (mostly in logging) but after the ban from the government many smaller and bigger elephant farms, homes, sanctuaries were created to offer homes for the elephants. At the moment it’s not possible to let all of the elephants back in the nature because there is just not enough room. Many jungles have been cut down and suitable areas are scarce.

But there is a huge selection of these kind of places around here and at first it’s rather difficult to prefer one to another. Roughly they divide into 2 groups – in one group they offer elephant riding besides other activities which in my opinion is not very good (since elephant backs are not meant for anyone riding on them plus in order to train them for riding sometimes quite awful methods are used). The other group offer no such option but elephants are living as free as they can be and they are also treated as family members. Of all the places in the second group we chose Elephant Family Care and we were very satisfied!

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It’s a small place about 1-1,5 hours out of Chiang Mai in the nearby hilltop jungle. Our guide was very friendly and sweet, we could book the trip via Facebook and most importantly everything had this wonderful home feeling about it. When we arrived there were chickens and dogs walking around everywhere, a bunch of happy people greeting us and it just felt nice. In our group there was just 3 people – me, Anna and one girl from South-Korea. We took the one day elephant care and trekking option but since there were once again fast floods in the area sadly this time we weren’t able to go bamboo rafting . In the big picture it was not important. What was important were these magical animals called elephants. We had never seen elephants from so near nor touched or fed them and I’m not even talking about taking a swim with them. The whole day and the experience was just so memorable and once again I’m recommending with two hands! At the end we got the 3/4 day trip for 1,400 baht each so as usual there’s some negotiations involved. But we were happy to pay knowing that the money will go to these wonderful animals and people looking after them. Here are some facts we learned:

  • Asian elephant usually lives up to 60-80 years old
  • Full grown Asian elephant can weight more than 3 tons
  • They are sleeping only 3-4 hours a day, rest of the time they are mostly eating and pooping. And just having fun πŸ™‚
  • Average Asian elephant usually eats about 10% of his/her bodyweight every day
  • They really really really love bananas πŸ™‚

So once again, if your near here, definitely go and see them for yourself. You can’t miss this experience! There will also be a video coming about our day with the elephants and visit to the Grand Canyon water park!

Talking about the water park – that’s also one thing that you should definitely do here. At first the park looks like it’s meant for 5 year old’s but after about 10 minutes you are that 5 year old :)! There’s quite big selection of different floating obstacles, places to climb and jump from, smaller pools and areas for relaxation plus eating and cold drinks right next to you.

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We got a bit sunburnt (finally! I’ve been waiting for it already for 2,5 weeks πŸ™‚ ) but we had fun! We spent about 5-6 hours in the park (about 2 hours from it was lunch and leisure time) so basically at least half a day is recommended for a visit. The entrance fee for the whole day is 350 baht (about 9€) but it’s worth it!

There’s also an option to do higher cliff diving in the park (about 10 metres) and of course I went and tried it :). Let’s say it was quite and experience and if you’re into these kind of things then have a go! If not, then there is plenty of other things to do there.

Until the next post!

Best Wishes!

Lauri

 

Beautiful Chiang Mai nature

This time a very short post. I made a video of our visit to Doi Suthep mountain and temple + yesterday we went for a small hike near the Huay Keaw waterfall. I must say that the trail around the waterfall is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. And it’s very easy to get there. Just use a local B1 bus to the zoo (15 baht per person) and from there it’s about 5 min walk to the beginning of the hiking trail. I have to mention that technically the whole area was closed due to the potential flash floods but we decided to take the trip anyways. We were just a bit more careful. And all in all due to the higher volume of water the scenery was even more picturesque. Have a look for yourself πŸ™‚

Doi Suthep – beautiful temples, magical views and picturesque nature

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Chiang Mai area really has a beautiful nature. Just outside the city Doi Suthep mountain, temple and natural park are waiting to be visited. Today we spent most of the day there. Straight in the morning we hired a songthaew (local red coloured pick-up truck where there are 2 benches in the back, used for everyday transport) which took us up the hill to the temple. The temple itself was also gorgeous but the main attraction is still the view to the city and neighbouring mountains and villages. After looking around for a while we went for a little hike to the main viewpoint, the nearby village and the waterfall. It seemed that everyone else was either riding a scooter, driving a car or sitting in the back of a songthaew. But as said before we like walking. It has had quite an effect, during the 10 days in Thailand I have already lost 5kg’s and I definitely have stronger leg muscles :). But the views from the mountainside were something special (there will be a lot of pictures coming to my Instagram/FB + also a video). And so was the nature, we had never been in such a jungle before. Greenery, bamboos, beautiful flowers and trees everywhere. And some sort of funny insects (we presume cicadas) who live in the treetops and make really really strong electric alien voices. You just have to hear it to understand! We also passed byΒ Hmong village where you should supposedly see how the local culture of the tribes living in those mountains look likes. But it still was greatly a touristy place. Nevertheless the village was interesting to see and a short walk from the village a picturesque Doi Suthep waterfall and flower garden was located. Once again would definitely recommend a visit!

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On the way back from the mountain our driver stopped at a small temple middle way down to the mountain. Right next to temple was this beautiful waterfall and all in all this was one of the most beautiful temples and locations we have been so far. It seemed that the reason why we stopped was that one monk (who was also in our songthaew) wanted to go there for a moment. And how could you say no to that. Either way we were very happy that we had an opportunity to see this place :).

Besides these adventures we went to the cinema and one of the biggest shopping malls in the city yesterday. We took a long walk through the city to catch a glimpse of how the locals are living. So on the way we saw for example a woman walking her goat with a nice pink collar near downtown Chiang Mai. Why not! πŸ™‚

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The movie which went to see was Blade Runner 2049. It was pretty good although rather dark. But the ticket was 100 baht each (about 2,55€) and the cinema was really fancy. More like being in a theatre, not watching a movie. And who doesn’t know yet – before every movie in Thailand anthem is played and you have to stand up to show respect.

Shopping mall was huge. Really can’t compare shopping malls in Estonia to the ones in here. Every one of them has at least 5-6 floors and numerous shops and dining areas. After the movies we went for the first non-local food so to say and had a pizza. It was good but compared to local dishes very expensive.

I can say already that if you plan to visit Thailand, definitely come and see Chiang Mai :).

Once again sending sunshine back home!

Chiang Mai zoo

Today we went to Chiang Mai zoo which is a bit tired so to say but otherwise a fabolous place to visit! In some places you could see the hands of time working their magic so some of the roads and paths were already devoured by nature. But in a way it was extremely beautiful! It’s like a mixture between concrete and jungle. We especially liked the bird park where you really couldn’t understand that you were in a zoo (except the net holding the birds from getting out). So many beautiful waterfalls, paths through the forest and much more. A truly blissful place! And it was only 2 of us in there, not a person around (probably because it was raining at the time we visited it).

In addition we saw many animals we have never encountered before and one huge plus for this zoo is that the animals are really close to you so if you want you could go and touch everyone (except for lions and other similar creatures of course).Β  Our favorites were the penguins, hippos, tortoises and giraffes. I think we just stood for 10+ minutes and watched the penguins swimming around πŸ™‚

To get there we used an official city line bus. They started only lately ( I think in 2016) and there are 3 lines currently available. No matter how long the journey, the cost is always 15 baht (0,38€) per person. So it’s really comfortable and cheap way to get around.

But go and have a look for yourself :). Here’s the first video of Chiang Mai

Wonderful Chiang Mai

We’ve been in Chiang Mai for 1,5 days and we love it! It’s much more quieter and calmer compared to where we were. It’s located roughly 700km north of Bangkok and it’s surrounded by hills up to 2km. Our flight to here took about 1h10m but there’s also an option to travel by bus or a train (roughly 10-12 hours). Bangkok is a great place to visit for up to 5-6 days but we wouldn’t have wanted to stay longer.

Our Hostel here is great! It’s located in a quiet alley and the breakfast is just 25m of walking in a cozy cafe plus there are several dishes to choose from. As in Bangkok the hostel is located very near to the main city attractions. We have a huge bed 2×1,8m (or even wider), a TV, refrigerator, a fan + all the other conveniences. Only weird thing is that for some reason we have besides the bedroom and a toilet/shower a separate room with just a small sink. Don’t know why but we don’t complain – we got a 3 room accommodation :)! In addition there are 3 really cute hamsters in the lobby (in cages:) ) who we greet every time entering the hostel :).

Yesterday we just looked around in the neighborhood, visited the local Warorot market, had an exquisite cup of iced latte for 35 baht (most likely we will visit that place every day we’re here, we already did today:) ) and also a huge portion of Tom Kha Kai chicken coconut soup for 70 baht. It was delicious!

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Today in the morning we stumbled upon a small adventure. Our original idea was to have a small walk in the old town when we were approached by one of the tuk-tuk riders. He said we would take us on a trip around the old city for 1 hour. In the beginning it was 150 baht, then 100 and in the end 50. The usual stuff :). At the end we agreed with 50 but of course we knew that there was some sort of a catch. First he drove us around on different streets, made some stops for pictures and we also visited a very beautiful temple.

At some point though he took us to one of the Thai silk shops where there was also a small handicraft factory (as said in the beginning something like this was expected). For a moment we looked around but after that there was another stop in yet another handicrafts place. It turns out that for every time a tuk-tuk driver takes tourists or just passengers to the shop they will get a stamp. If they get together 10 stamps then they are provided with free fuel. At first it was a bit uncomfortable going through these totally overpaid shops (all in all we visited 5 different places) but since they weren’t too pushy in the shops and the driver still was a nice guy plus we got a 2 hour tuk-tuk ride around the town we were actually quite amused with all of it going on :). Wouldn’t do it again but for one time it was fun:)!

In the evening we went for our first massage in Thailand. Although there are many places in Chiang Mai top-rated by tripadvisor and similar sites today we just walked around and went for a place what seemed cozy and offered a good price. And it was worth it! For 340baht in total (8,7€) we both got an hour long massage for feet, back, neck, head and shoulders and it was extremely good! In a matter of fact I actually loved it and we will definitely go back! At some point it was actually a bit painful but you just feel so much better afterwards! I don’t understand why massages cost so much back home!

Anyways there are still so many things to do here in Chiang Mai and I already cant wait for another day to start! Tomorrow we plan to visit the local zoo and we need to get an early start.

I’m also making a video or two of Chiang Mai so you could get a better overview of our adventures.

Until next time :)!