Chiang Mai is still bustling with backpackers and travelers working their way through the gorgeous country of Thailand but somewhat less than the southern islands see. (Where most visitors are fueled by parties and buckets – of alcohol, not sandcastles.)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m partial to a beach party and cocktail… or 3. You’ve probably heard about my adventures in the South and watched my trip to the islands – it’s insanely beautiful by the way. But for a more peaceful retreat the mountainous city Chiang Mai, surrounded by green canapes of jungle in the North of Thailand, is first on my list and the first destination of next year’s 12 month backpacking adventure!
There are so many reasons to fit North Thailand into your trip, it might not be turquoise oceans, white sandy beaches or the amazing dance moves that you’ll witness every night however these are just a few ways that Chiang Mai is a paradise of its own…
Chiang Mai Canyon
Among those that visit Chiang Mai, few make it to the grand canyon. That’s right, Vegas isn’t the only place with pretty holes in the ground! Looking at travel pictures and watching videos of travelers hurling themselves into the water below will soon put this spot to the top of your list. Would you make the jump? Subscribe to my YouTube channel to see if I do.
Doi Inthanon National Park
It wouldn’t be a complete trip to Thailand without a visit to one of their stunning National Parks and this one won’t disappoint! They don’t call this park ‘the roof of Thailand’ for no reason, it encompasses the biggest mountain in the entire country – Doi Inthanon. Surrounded by winding paths, luscious greenery, calm waters and intricate temples.
These falls are like none other, spread among 5 levels of tranquility and hidden by thick rain forest, this spot promises an awesome day out. You can walk up them due to the white rock underneath being very grippy. At the top there is an amazing view and picnic spot.
Riding elephants is completely un-natural and cruel! Thailand is home to many thousand elephants, 80% of which are in captivity. Despite their appearance their backs are very weak and aren’t designed to carry humans on massive wooden chairs believe it or not! Whilst in Thailand PLEASE don’t support this sick industry that tortures and enslaves elephants for our entertainment, instead help their recovery. The awareness of this is being raised massively as of late and there are a few ethical sanctuaries that take in captive elephants. Including the most famous, ‘Elephant Nature Park‘ in Chiang Mai which has won many awards for its elephant rescues and care.
Doi Suthep – the climb of your life
Doi Suthep is a little more popular than the other mountains in the North due to it’s ‘gradual’ climb. Don’t get me wrong, you’re still climbing a mountain, it’s gonna be tough however is so worth the trek (or cycle). There is a gorgeous gold temple called ‘Wat Phra That Doi Suthep’ located on the mountain, plus the insane views you are greeted with at the top. Try it at sunrise/sunset for stunning rainbow skies and great photos.
These are my top 5 visits that make Chiang Mai like no other city, however I’ve left out so many amazing things about this beautiful place. The night markets, local cuisines, friendly residents and beautiful temples are just a few more reasons to make a visit up north.
From Bangkok you can grab an overnight train or treat yourself to the 1 hour flight with Bangkok Airways. Their service is incredible, I’ve often been served a meal on their very short flights!
OR you can travel there on tour with the Tru crew and experience Thailand with new friends. Use code TRULM7 to grab a discount on their (already great value) tours!
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