Spring break is quickly approaching and though we won't be going to Chiang Mai this year, we have enjoyed it every time we have. In an effort to share with others the things we have enjoyed the most I keep saying I will write a post about it. If you ever find yourself looking for something to do, we love Chiang Mai. The heart of the old city lies within a moat. There is an extensive night market. Of course there are massages and Thai food to be enjoyed. All of that wrapped up with the warmth and kindness of the Thai people. So, here are some of our specific 'don't miss' spots…
A Lot Of Thai is Yui's home cooking school. We have never gone to Chiang Mai without cooking with her, one trip we even did all three classes. You can read all about it on her website. What I can tell you is we have never been disappointed, both she and the food have been amazing. Her entire family supports the business, which is run on the covered patio of her home. The morning starts with a trip to the local market and continues until you can't possibly eat another bite. You even get to go home with a great cookbook so you can remember how to recreate the yummy dishes later. We highly recommend it!
Elephant Nature Park is an elephant rescue and preserve, it is not a place to go if you want to see an elephant show or ride on elephants. We spent a day volunteering with the elephants. First off was feeding them. We shucked corn and loaded baskets, each basket being a couple of feet in diameter. The elephants then came up to the raised walkway/platforms where we fed them the contents of their baskets.
From the perspective on the platform you are given the opportunity to admire the elephant from a more eye-to-eye point of view.
Then it was time to head down to the river to give them baths. Yes, that is a scrub brush in my hand. I had no idea how hair elephants are, nor would I have ever guessed how coarse that hair is.
There is also an educational aspect to the day. They showed us a documentary and talked about the plight of elephants in Thailand. Even though they are an endangered species, that only applies to wild elephants. Once someone owns the elephant they have no more rights than a dog or cow.
They also have the opportunity for longer volunteer experiences with huts right on the property. When G gets older it will be a very cool family vacation.
Chiang Dao Nest is who we went through for our trek. We did a two day, private, hill tribe trek, staying overnight in a Lisu village. The hike was great - strenuous, but doable. The scenery was fabulous, be it caves, jungle, streams, bamboo forests, fields with water buffalo, or remote villages. The food prepared just for us was more than we could eat and scrumptious. The storm that passed across the valley that evening we will never forget. (We were dry in our shelter.)
We then stayed in one of their bungalows complete with view and their own restaurant a few steps away.
We would gladly spent more time exploring this area, a bit north of Chiang Mai.
The last thing I want to tell you about is the Baan Celadon Factory and Showroom. Celadon is the traditional green pottery. This factory has amazing pieces for those with deep pockets. What I loved is that they also have a place where they sell seconds, most of which you couldn't tell were seconds. We maxed out our luggage allotment with the pieces we purchase, both for us and as gifts.
There are many more places people love. If you have a favorite spot in Chiang Mai, or vicinity, please be sure to add it in the comments.
(Note: All photos were taken on my camera.)