This post is my personal mission impossible, my target is to describe 4 days in Chiang Mai in less than 5 minutes.
This trip was a great gift that my friends and I decided to make ourselves for our 30thbirthday. It began as one of the many proposals that usually lead nowhere, but suddenly Laura, a big Skyscanner fan, finds the perfect flight, then a dedicated whatsapp group is born and we’re already saying “it’s really happening!”.
The reasons why we decide to spend 4 days in Chiang Mai are two:
1. Our 10-days vacation in Thailand deserved a relaxing break,
2. Loi Krathong dates have been confirmed just few weeks in advance, so we needed some margin.
Exploration of the historic center of Chiang Mai
We wake up late and have breakfast in the beautiful garden along the river, pillow faces and girls hungry as the Irish Rugby team. Yes okay, there are no doubts we are still the same. The Villa offers its guests the chance to reach the center using the typical taxi of the area: a pick-up whose back has been covered and where two small benches have been installed.
Giulia leads the team and tells us about all the great temple we are going to visit. To me, the best spot is Wat Chedi Luang where there is a temple 85 meters high fully made of bricks. Here you will for sure appreciate the calm and the greatness of its temples. We also visit the marvelous complexes of Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chiang Man. We walk around the city until it’s time for street food dinner to then we arrive into a neighborhood not highly recommended. We buy the first fabric masks of our life and we go back to our hotel for a home made spa session.
Trip to Mae Tang mountain area
We wanted to explore the area north of the city in a responsible way. I relied on Udomporn Tour Agency Chiang Mai, recommended by my beloved guide Routard. Our guide Nikki pick us up very early in the morning with a local van. First stop, we visit the Mae Malai market where new colors, shapes and smells merge and immediately make me realize I’m very far from home smells and habits. We buy some fruit and go back to our van. We arrive to the hike start spot and it takes about one hour to reach the falls. Nikki immediately understands that we are good hikers and walks fast. Returning from the short hike we meet groups of tourists who didn’t wake up at dawn as we did. Relaxed faces and slow pace.
Another short transfer and we arrive to the river for a nice rafting. As the river waters are calmer we jump into water to be carried by the stream, as real Ladies of course. After the rafting we start last transfer to reach the elephant care spot, we feed them and we follow them as the assistants wash them with bamboo sponges. Super nice experience!
Local restaurant and village festival
After the day trip we relax in the beautiful garden of the Villa and we ask the staff where to eat in the evening. They recommended a nice restaurant along the river. There are two ways to reach it: take the usual van or riding an old fashioned bike loaned by the Villa. We go for the bikes, trying to keeping in mind the correct direction to go as here you drive on the left as in Great Britain. We arrive at the beatiful restaurant where there are no tourists and a pleasant music show is taking place. We have a very nice dinner and enjoy the warm evening.
While riding back to the hotel, we decide to stop at what looks like a small country festival. A dozen tables, friendly people and a singer who plays the guitar. We are the only tourists here, they offer us beers, gift us little hearts made with wire and ask for selfies. My sister Vanessa asked the singer the permission to sing “Happy Birthday” on stage for her husband Giacomo who turns 30 that night and they kindly allows us to do it! So funny! The night ends with a lottery. The second prize is a Chiang beer T-shirt that Laura had asked to buy as we arrived, but it was not for sale. At the draw of the second prize all people start shouting with us Cha! , which should mean 8, the number of our table. And… the number of the second prize is 8!
This was one of the best nights of the whole trip!
Thai Cooking Course and Loi Krathong
We decide to attend a cooking class during our stay in Chiang Mai and it was a great idea. The school van picks us up at the hotel and take us to a local market to explore the smells and colors of Thai cuisine. Here we also buy the beautiful bamboo and orchid floating boats for the lights festival. Around 10 people from all over the world will attend the class with us. We have to chose the dishes that will make up our menu. Based on our choices, we will then be divided into groups. The group is chatty and friendly and our teacher guides us step by step in the execution of the recipes. Flowers, leaves, sweet and spicy spices are the special ingredients of each recipe. We work for about a couple of hours in teams and then we enjoy our delicacies on the lovely patio upstairs. Now I have my own certificate of Thai cuisine and a very useful recipe book!
The reason why we chose Thailand and November period for this trip is Loi Krathong, the festival of lights that takes place during November full moon. During this night, bad things are left to the floating boats made of beautiful orchids and bamboo or to the most famous flying paper lanterns. I could spend hours telling you about the endless amount of people that crowds the streets, the joy and calm on everyone’s face, the lovely and cheap street food and how the night ended dancing in a sort of garden disco close a bridge.
The things that I can recall very easily after one year and of which I’d like to talk you about are two. The first one is the light that fills the sky and the river. You can’t really understand how many lights there are until you are there: in the air the orange lights of thousands of lanterns continuously fly up while in the water there are the dim lights of brave candles floating on leafs and flowers. The second thing is still very clear in my mind is an immense feeling of gratitude. I thanked all the bitter and sweet moments in my life during that night. As I look around me, I find my travel companions. They are unique, my real treasure and I can’t figure me there without them. Scroll through the images below and book a flight. I invite you to leave your burdens there too.
Departure for Phuket.
We wake up late in the morning, pillow faces and a hungry as Irish national rugby players. We enjoy the garden of our beautiful Villa, relax and pack the suitcase.
Phuket, here we come!
- I warmly suggestet you to stay at least 3 days in Chiang Mai, the city is still authentic and is the best starting point for beautiful excursions.
- if you are lucky enough to be able to go to Chiang Mai in November, I recommend that you book flight and hotel in great advance. This trip is the only journey in which the chosen accommodation, Villa San Pee Seua, had a significant impact on its quality. I say it almost a year later and without the hotel knowing that I’m writing about them.
- let yourself be fascinated by Thai cuisine, we have chosen the wonderful Pranang Cookery School. You will not regret it!
- For our sustenaible trip I chosed the Udom Porn Tour agency, I do recommend you to do the same!