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Thailand Trip Itineraries

Chiang Mai: A Peak into the Gem of Northern Thailand

Destination(s): Chiang Mai

There are many many fun and adventurous things to do in and around Chiang Mai. To enjoy the full beauty and the calm charm of Chiang Mai, stay for a few days so there's a chance to visit the elephants and ride on one as well. You could even visit with tigers as well as an orchid farm and possibly a Thai cooking class. However, if you only have two days, here is a guide one can use to explore on a low budget.

Be sure to try a Khao Soi noodles (northern curry noodle dish) while you are in Chiang Mai.

At either the night bazaar, the Saturday or the Sunday night market. a taste of Roti and fruit juices or smoothies are a must during your trip to Chiang Mai.

After a long day at Doi Inthanon, you could enjoy full-body Thai massage at around 180-200B (at a guest house). Thai massages can be as low as 120B if you know where to look. :-) Foot Massages are heavenly too.

Any questions about Chiang Mai, don't hesitate to ask. :-) read more about Chiang Mai: A Peak into the Gem of Northern Thailand

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

  • Tambon Suthep
  • Amper Muang
  • tel:+66 53 24 8604
  • Chiang Mai, 50200

One of Chiang Mai's most popular tourist destinations is Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep - a Buddhist temple located at the top of Doi Suthep, the 1676 meter mountain that towers grandly above Chiang Mai. Wat Phrathat is locally referred to simply as Doi Suthep, the name of the actual mountain itself. Located 15km up a windy road to the apex of Doi Suthep, Wat Phrathat greets you with an impressively steep and fierce-looking dragon staircase (16th-century Naga)that is definitely not for the weak of heart - there are about 300 steps. Wat Phrathat is a sacred site to many Thai people and should be respected as such, try and wear appropriate clothing (no singlets, flip flops and shorts). It features a beautiful golden Chedi (pagoda) and golden umbrella on the site where legend suggests a white elephant delivered a magical bone of the Buddha himself (see below). On a clear day Wat Phrathat offers wonderful views over Chiang Mai and the religious significance of the site can be felt through the reverential behavior of those pilgrims who visit it daily. For those travelers who can't tackle the dragon staircase, don't worry there is a funicular railway. But if you can resist the urge to take it, tackle the stairs, you will enjoy a sense of relief and achievement when you reach the top. Once inside, you can purchase a bunch of flowers, joss sticks and candles for 20 baht and prey for some good luck. The idea here is that you hold the offerings you have purchased while walking in a clockwise direction around the golden pagoda three times. Once completed, head for a praying area of your choosing, light up the joss sticks and candles and offer the bouquet to Buddha in return for blessings. If you are in desperately in need of some good luck, you can also ring some bronze bells around the side of the temple or be personally blessed by a monk inside a small room to the side of the Chedi.

The Legend of the White Elephant

According to legend, a monk named Sumanathera from Sukhothai had a dream in which Buddha told him to go to Pang Cha and look for a relic. Once there, he discovered a bone, which displayed magical powers - it vanished, reappeared, glowed and could move itself and reproduce itself. Many believed it was the shoulder bone of Buddha himself. Evidently, the relic apparently split in two with the smaller piece enshrined at a temple in Suandok. The other piece was placed by King Nu Naone (of the Lanna Kingdom) on the back of a white elephant, which was then released into the jungle. The elephant is said to have climbed Doi Suthep, trumpeted three times before dying on the spot. It was interpreted as a sign and King Nu Naone ordered the construction of a temple at the site.




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Doi Inthanon National Park

Doi Inthanon National Park

  • 119 Ban-Luang Chomtong
  • tel:+66 53 28 6728
  • Visit website
  • Chiang Mai, 50160

Standing at a height of 2565 meters, Doi Inthanon is the tallest peak in Thailand. Now named after King Inthawichayanon, who was also known as King Inthanon - the mountain has been had several names over the centuries including Doi Luang, meaning 'big mountain', and Doi Ang Ka, meaning 'crow pond peak', as there was once a pool popular with crows near the summit. Part of the mountain range that seperates Burma from Thailand (Loi Lar Mountain Range or Daen Lao Range), Doi Inthanon features numerous 'must see' sights, including cascading waterfalls, an abundance of hiking trails, some beautiful views and a pair of impressive chedis, built in honor of the contemporary King and Queen. When you arrive at Doi Inthanon head for the park's administration centre. Here you can find all the information you need to plan your day. There is also a food court where you can fuel up before hitting the trails. You may also notice another example of the Royal Project, where hill tribes are learning to sustain themselves through agriculture rather than poppy farming. Make sure you check out the beautiful waterfalls surrounding Doi Inthanon, the most impressive of which is Mae Yai Falls. There is also a Karen weaving village in this area, Ban Pha Mon that is worth visiting. To get to Doi Inthanon from Chiang Mai (about 90 minutes) take route 108 towards Chomthong. Follow this road for 57 km (35 miles) and turn right onto route 1009 (Chomthong-Doi Inthanon Road). Take this road for 31km (19 miles) and you will arrive at the park entrance. read more about Doi Inthanon National Park

Night Bazaar

Night Bazaar

  • Chang Klan Rd
  • between Tha Pae and Loi Kroa roads
  • tel:+66 53 27 0066
  • Chang Mai, 50100

The Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is a sprawling market that runs the length of Chan Klan road, between Tha Pae and Sri Donchai roads. A must visit for any traveller to Chiang mai, the Night Bazaar features seemingly endless stalls of handicrafts, gimmicky t-shirts, watches, bags, haberdashery, woodcarvings, silver, souvenirs and of course, foreign brand knock-offs. Unlike the more locally produced wares found at other Chiang Mai markets, the Night Bazaar is unashamedly targeted towards foreigners and features a lot of the stuff you would expect to see around Khao San Road in Bangkok. On the second and third floor of the main Night Bazaar building on Chang Klan road you will find good designer home decor. On the ground floor, is an artists market where local artisans skillfully reproduce popular photos or create portraits. There are many quite appealing paintings here, just don't expect anything too unique - once an artist creates a popular style of painting that sells, it is not unusual for other artists to adopt the same style. Haggling is a must but do it with a big smile. On the opposite side of the street you will find the Kalare Night Bazaar and food court. The food is not great here compared with other parts of Chiang Mai but you can catch the free nightly show filled with Thai cultural dances and costumes. The stalls around this food court are probably better than those along the main road. If you crave western food, the Night Bazaar also features some good options. While a great evening out, the Night Bazaar doesn't quite match up to the wonderful and authentic Sunday Walking Market.
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Biking to the Wats

Biking to the Wats

  • Follow Map
  • Chiang Mai

This is the best and the GREENEST way to see most, if not all, the Wats inside the moat or the old city. Renting a bike is fairly easy in Chiang Mai.   Most guest houses and hotels have bikes for rental. Some may ask for a deposit of approx 2000B or leave your passport.  Carry a map with you and if you are staying inside the moat, start with the nearest one to your hotel and go from there. Bike rental costs about 50B per day. read more about Biking to the Wats

Sa Bai Garden

Sa Bai Garden

  • 36 Ratchaphakhinai
  • tel:66 053208921
  • Phra Singh
Sunday Night Market

Sunday Night Market

  • Near the Moat (Start at Tha Phae Gate