Since I knew I was coming to Thailand, Chiang Mai was honestly one of the locations I was most excited for, because I knew we’d be spending some time with elephants.
We only had a few days in Chiang Mai, so there was a lot to do in a short amount of time.
On our first day, we hired a driver and went to The Sticky Waterfalls, and Doi Suthep. The Sticky Waterfalls were incredible, even for a non-outdoorsy, clumsy person like me. Because of some type of mineral deposit on the rocks, they’re super easy to grip. Although your body might freak out because tons of water is rushing down at you amidst the climb, you feel incredibly powerful climbing up (sometimes) steep, wet rocks. I should still say, please climb at your own risk. Some rocks are slippery and you still have to be very careful about where you step. Luckily, there are ropes to help you climb the more difficult parts.
Next was Doi Suthep!
After Tiger Cave Temple, the steps at Doi Suthep were easy peezy lemon squeezy (and I’m not in shape in the least.) There are 300-some steps up to the temple, so once again, climb at your own risk and take breaks if you feel like it. This temple was pretty, but Wat Pha Sorn Kaew is still my favorite. We spent about two hours here, walking around the temple, getting blessed by monks, staring out at Chiang Mai from the viewpoint, and looking briefly at the shops nearby. Two hours was more than enough time to do all of the above.
We ended the night at the Night Bizarre Market with street food, lots of souvenir shopping, and fish pedicures! If you’ve never had/heard of fish pedicures, you stick your feet in a tank of water and fish, and the fish come up and eat the dead skin off of your feet. The fish pedicures were quite the experience. It made my feet super soft and was worth the 100 baht, but I’d never do it again. It tickled too much. It’s one of those things you should experience at least once in your life, though!
The next day was for sure my favorite day in Chiang Mai, and possibly one of the coolest days I’ve ever had. We got to spend half a day feeding elephants, bathing them, and riding them bareback. (Riding bareback is the most ethical way to do it. I’ll write another post soon about finding an ethical elephant sanctuary to go to, as well as my experience at the one we went to.) This was equally one of the scariest and most sublime moments I’ve ever experienced, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. You need to be willing to drop a pretty penny, but I promise it’s 100% worth it. After spending the morning with these gentle giants, we went back to the hostel to get cleaned up and take naps. The rest of the day was pretty chill. Our night ended with shopping at Chiang Mai’s famous Walking Street. Our hostel was literally in the middle of the market, which was super convenient, especially with the rainy weather we had that night. Even with the convenience though, I preferred the Night Bizarre, because sellers were much more willing to barter, and the entire market was covered, so there was no need to worry about the weather.
Our last day was fairly relaxing. We went to the local flower market, church, and stopped for lunch at the Bear Hug Cafe. The cafe is definitely worth a visit if you’re willing to spend a little more money on insta-worthy foods. There are cheaper food options too, but they’re not nearly as cute.
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