Venturing up to the Northern delights of Chiang Mai & Pai are high up on most people’s to do lists when visiting Thailand. We spent roughly 10 days exploring both and here is what we got up to.
Temple spotting in Chiang Mai’s Old City – We spent our first day wandering around the charming old city of Chiang Mai ticking temples of our map. The sheer number, size and uniqueness of some of the temples is really something else. All of the temples are active worship locations and you will see numerous monks draped in orange cloth in and around the temples.
A visit to the Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary – We both love elephants so we had been looking forward to this for some time. We spent a day at Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary and had a brilliant day feeding, mud bathing and splashing around in a nearby river with three elephants. We also helped prepare medicine to be given to the elephants to help with their digestive systems. I’m not sure if they need it though as they poo a hell of a lot. The sanctuary does great work in caring for the elephants and there is no riding involved. We had a great day and now we just need to find a job to do with elephants!
Practising our culinary skills at the Thai Kitchen Cookery Centre – So this was Nicole’s idea as spending half a day in the kitchen is not my idea of fun. However, despite my preconceptions, we had an excellent afternoon at the Thai Kitchen Cookery Centre. We each selected five dishes to prepare and cook and got to work. A lot of my day was spent having three Thai women laughing at me whenever I attempted to do pretty much anything. Nicole was faring far better and she even taught our helpers a new way to peel garlic….they were genuinely amazed. Nevertheless, by the end of the afternoon we had managed to cook all of our dishes including a Massaman and Green Curry and also a fantastically shaped chicken satay according to one of my helpers. Now we just have the pressure to go back home and cook the dishes for our families.
A night at the Ploen Ruedee Night Market; International Food Court – After eating all of our dishes from the Thai Cooking Course we were stuffed for about 2 days. However, we did manage to find space for some more food at the International Food Court at the Ploen Ruedee Night Market. This outdoor space can be found at the far end of the night bazaar and has food stalls from all over the world. We grabbed something to eat, drank a few beers and sat down to watch the live singers and bands who are on all night. It marked a great end to our Chiang Mai visit.
Exploring Pai Canyon – One of the first things we did when we got to Pai was rent a moped as it is the best way to explore the area. Soon after, we drove up to Pai Canyon and spent a couple of hours walking along jagged cliff edges and checking out the amazing views. If you don’t like heights then you should probably avoid this place!
Yup Lai viewpoint – The viewpoint is not far from the Chinese Village and after just about making it up the hill on our moped we parked up and went to check the views of Pai out. You can see out for miles from the top and it’s a really good place to chill out for a while in the peace and quiet.
Mor Paeng Waterfall – Mor Paeng is one of many waterfalls in Pai to go and see. There are definitely better waterfalls but as we didn’t fancy a trek to reach one (we were in Pai chill out mode), we made the short drive to Mor Paeng instead. There are plenty of places to take a dip and you will also be greeted by a number of cows grazing at the bottom. I nearly broke my neck a few times so make sure you watch your step on the slippery rocks!
Chilling out at the Secret Garden – This was probably our favourite experience in Pai. We had booked four nights at the Secret Garden resort but ended up staying for a while longer. Our bungalow had a terrace with a hammock, swing, and a cushioned bed and offered superb views of the nearby mountains. All this combined with a few beers and some snacks equalled chilled out heaven. We did not want to leave. Ever.
You can check out the below YouTube video of our highlights of Chiang Mai and Pai and the rest of our time in Thailand!