Last April I had the opportunity to travel to Thailand and explore one of its Northern city–Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai offers a mix of urban and picturesque tourists spots. It’s a breath of fresh air from the hustling capital of Thailand that is Bangkok. It’s my first time to explore Thailand (the last time I was here was for work) particularly Chiang Mai so I am totally clueless on what this city had to offer during my visit. Nonetheless, I was very excited to immerse myself to it.
It takes an hour plane ride from Bangkok to get to Chiang Mai. We arrived at night on our first day so we just checked in at U Nimman, a new boutique hotel located at Nimmanhaemin Road and called it a night but the next three days we were practically out the whole day as we visited different places around Chiang Mai.
DOI INTHANON NATIONAL PARK
First stop is Doi Inthanon National Park. It’s also known as “The Roof of Thailand” for it is the highest spot of the kingdom. It covers an area of 482 km² in Chiang Mai province north of Thailand and the park is part of the Himalayan mountain range with an elevation that ranges between 800 and 2565 meters.
See the small square in the middle? Technically that is the highest spot of Thailand but since it’s right in front of the queen’s stupa, they preserved it and opted to have a similar one right across for tourists to take photos of.
The entrance fee is 300 THB for foreigners (children 150 THB) and 50 THB for local tourists (children 20 THB).
Visited also the lovely garden where the King & Queen’s stupas are at. Here I was with Team Philippines Cherry Galgana of Wintrex Travel, Mon Hernandez of Trip Mart, and SheAnne Manipol of Rakso Travel. Guys, if you need any help planning your trip, I suggest go check out their packages on their respective websites! 🙂
The flight of stairs was worth climbing for the view of the lovely garden was breathtaking! If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen my stories and have witnessed the beautiful stretch of colourful flowers that surrounded us.
We also chanced upon a group of monks walking around about to ascend the stupa. I thought at first they want their solemnity but we were surprised when they initiated to have our photo taken with them.
Winning shot! Sawadee Ka!
There’s something eerily peaceful watching a waterfall do its thing. Is it just me?
TUBE TREK WATERPARK
Tube Trek Waterpark is the first space-themed standardised waterpark in Northern Thailand. Located in Phranon maepukha Road, Tambon Tonpao, this waterpark has four zones perfect for all ages. For families with small kids, they have kids zone at Space Fortress, for the adventurers there’s 5 types of slides at Splash Pool, for those who love the sea there’s a wave pool at High Tide, and for everybody else there’s Vortex river at Wave Rafting.
The waterpark has equipments for one to fully enjoy the amenities– life ring, slider board, life vest are free to use. You can also rent lockers (60 THB/day), towel (50 THB/day), personal cabana (800 THB/day). As for food they have food concessionaires (coffee shop, pizza & western food and smoothie shop).
The one attraction that caught my attention most was The Wormhole. Climb up and slide down with three of your friends to this giant wormhole–swirl around until you exit through the open pool. It was so much fun watching those sliding down. I wish I was able to try it!
CHIANG MAI NIGHT SAFARI
First time to experience night safari and I was wishing I was with my kids & husband!
Chiang Mai Night Safari also offers Day Safari starting at three in the afternoon. We were there a little after dinner and we were able to ride the tram around seven thirty in the evening. The Savanna Safari Zone & Predator Prowl Zone are the areas that offer tram rides where you can observe animals including giraffes, zebras, kangaroos, deer, rhinoceros, bulls, hippos, lions, tigers, bears, even vultures! Best part? You can feed some of them!
30 THB for a basket of food for the animals.
SUPER CLOSE GUYS!
At first I was super scared because the animals were literally up close. They were hogging those of us who had baskets filled with food but eventually when they realized there’s a lot for everyone they were modest and waited for their turn to be fed.
This gentle giant ate the snacks I offered him. I thought he’ll bite my hand off but he was gentle naman.
Also had the chance to finally have a photo op with my favorite bird–owl! Hi!!!
Chiang Mai Night Safari Tram fees for foreigners: adult, 800 THB; child 400 THB.
In every foreign country, one must visit its local market to fully immerse in its culture.
Buying pasalubong for friends and family at Warorot Market.
So many stalls to buy from! Most of them offer wholesale price so be sure to ask what their last price is–go ahead and bargain!
Caught on cam Instagramming!
They’ve got dried and wet goods. Practically anything you need from Thailand–from teas to curry and chilli powder.
If only I could bring home meat & processed food I would!
Chili & curry paste galore!
Also passed by the flower market. Not a fan of flowers but they’re just too pretty I couldn’t help but admire them.
THA PAE GATE
Tha Pae Gate is the main center of Chiang Mai’s public city activities and festivals. Kinda like the local plaza where you can just walk around & feed the pigeons. So eto nga we were feeding the pigeons and luckily, Mon was able to get a good photo of me with them. Thanks Mon!
Team Philippines and Team Singapore!
Get around Tha Pae Gate and Warorot Market through a rickshaw or sam lor, a local transportation in Thailand. We rode a rickshaw from Warorot Market going to Art in Paradise.
ART IN PARADISE
Art in Paraidse is the first illusion Art Museum of Chiang Mai. It presents illusion art which require technique and expertise in painting on a flat surface into a 3D and giving a sense of realistic art. Of course Team Philippines spent almost an hour taking photos. See some of the art we enjoyed being part of. Warning medyo photo heavy guys! Heehee.
I’ve always wanted to be a mermaid!
But I never wanted to be almost decapitated by a gorilla.
So I wanna go surfin’ but this is as close to it as I can get. Haha!
And I’ve always wanted to climb a bamboo alongside a panda.
Of course wine is always a good idea 😉
Cherry blossoms in Japan? Next on my list!
We crossed the bridge and we got there. Hahaha!
Not a cat person but this cutie is too much. Literally!
Look ma, I can finally do hand stand!
Getting a glimpse of what it’s like with wings.
That starry night.
I don’t know why I even climbed the stairs when I’m supposed to be just standing in the middle for the illusion to work. #fail
Would you believe me if I tell you I wasn’t sitting on anything? I was just squatting and waiting ’til Mon gets the shot! Ginalingan ng thighs ko mag squat guuuuys! What an illusion!
#TeamPhilippines enjoyed Art In Paradise!
Art in Paradise fee is 400 THB/adult.
PATARA ELEPHANT FARM
One of the highlights of our Chiang Mai trip is our visit at Patara Elephant Farm. First time for me to get up close and a little bit personal with an elephant. We were met by the owner of the farm himself who discussed to us what they do and what we should expect during our visit. The thing is we weren’t at the farm to just observe and be entertained by the elephants, we were there for a whole afternoon learning how to truly take good care of them.
From feeding to bathing even walking them, we had a responsibility as visitors. I particularly did not feel like an elephant owner for a day, more like an elephant care taker which I think is way cooler. It’s a big responsibility to take care of a gentle giant such as an elephant. We have to make sure their overall well-being is put first. Rehabilitating them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually is what Patara Elephant Farm is all about.
Such a wonderful experience seeing elephants roam free in the farm. I’ll share some of the learnings I picked up during our visit and I hope you get an sense of what it’s like to take care of this animal when you get a chance to. Currently, Patara has 66 elephants, 36 are babies raised in the past 10 years and there have been 7 babies born in the last 16 months with 0 mortality. Amazing!
Meet my elephant for a day, Pry. He’s 9 years old and loves cuddling. I was first scared of him because he kept on nudging me but then his trainer taught me how to communicate with him and I already felt at ease.
Quick tip: when approaching an elephant don’t go head on. Walk towards it from the side so that it will not see you as a threat. I also learned a few words that helped me get through Pry such as “didi” which means good and “ma” which means go. I also learned that holding him by the ear is the way to lead him to walk with you.
After a few minutes of feeing him and getting to know him, here’s Pry hugging me tight with his trunk!
The goal of Patara is to raise healthy and happy elephants–female in particular– because they want them to produce more offsprings. In the last 45 years elephants have declined in terms of population–from 6,000 to 3,200. It’s alarming imagine in the next 45 years it can dwindle down to hundreds?!
Gestation of an elephant takes more than a year. It can be as early as 19 months and as late as 23 months? You can also tell by the gestation age what gender it is–19, 20 or 21 months and it’s a girl, 22-23 months and it’s a boy. Galing!
Did you know that elephants are such cry babies? Some companies use photos of elephants with tears on their eyes as way of emotional marketing. But in reality and scientifically speaking, elephants often have wet eyes because they don’t have tear ducts. It’s not because they’re sad, it’s just how they really are. But if there’s uneven tears from each eye it could be a sign of eye infection.
After feeding Pry, off we went to the bath area to give him one! Commanding him to sit & roll on his side while half submerged in water is challenging. He splashed water all over me!
When you visit Patara Elephant Farm you don’t need to bring your camera ‘coz they have an official photographer who takes amazing photos of everyone who visit. They’ll give you a link where you can download your photos too. Galing!
Ended our bath time when the elephants decided to give us a bath! I totally wasn’t prepared for that!
Shortly after, we had the option to ride our elephant as they do their daily walk. It was a 10-15 minute walk along the highway. At first I was reluctant to try it (been a scaredy cat since I became a mom) but since I was already there I thought I’d give it a try. So I did! There are three ways to climb an elephant: by using its leg, its trunk or its head to push you up. The trick is you have to rest your body on the elephant’s neck and wrap your legs behind his ear. It’s a good total body work–as your entire body is engaged so you won’t fall off and get the hang of balancing the moment your elephant starts to move.
Luckily my elephant Pry was a good boy. Though there were instances when he was straying out of course, he climbed up a few times as soon as he saw some yummy leaves (as if what I gave him wasn’t enough!) and scared the sh*t out of me! Still, it is an experience I will remember forever & I’d do it over again!
I admit I had a wee bit separation anxiety with Pry– I never thought I’d get attached to an elephant. I just hope the next time I visit, I get to see him again and I hope he still remembers me!
Know more about Patara Elephant Farm HERE.
Kinda looks complicated but fabric tie-dyeing involves a bit of folding (origami) and clipping (sandwiching the fabric with blocks to create that unique design) which is pretty easy if you follow the instructions carefully.
The dye we used were organic so it’s safer than the usual textile dyes.
Here’s our tie-dye scarves we lovingly made with our hands coupled by a few buckets of sweat! Hahahaha.
We also got to make our own tie-dye shirt. That’s me aiming to get my hands on my shirt–the one right in front.
I got this pompom hat at one of the local shops in Chinag Mai for 150 THB. Winner! Thanks Mon for capturing some of my most candid moments and for contributing some of your photos! 🙂 Thanks also Cherry & SheAnne for being a fun bunch to be with. #TeamPhilippines was best in photo because we were all so game. I hope we get to travel again together next time!
My first visit to Chiang Mai is definitely one for the books. I hope to be back with my family next time! I’ll be sharing also some places we had lunch and dinner at as well as the places we went to during our time in Bangkok on separate posts. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed my Chiang Mai photo diary!
Thailand is such an amazing country & there are so many things you can do and places to immerse yourself in! Thank you again Tourism Authority of Thailand for giving me this opportunity!