In 2013, it was the very first year I begun my backpacking journey by traveling to Chiang Mai, Thailand together my brother. Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand, after Bangkok. However the difference is huge between them where Chiang Mai is a more laid back place to loiter around, an that’s why I prefer this place as compared to Bangkok because of the atmosphere and friendly people there.
It was a thrilling experience as I would have to learn to plan and execute everything. Transportation, accommodation, foods, and local attractions. Generally, Thailand is a Buddhism country where in Chiang Mai particularly, you could see a lot more temples (‘Wat’ in Thai) and most of them are free for visit. Even though Chiang Mai is a relatively small place, I would suggest traveler to rent a bike as transportation mode. It’s not expensive (100 baht/ day in 2013) and most importantly, there are a lot of tasty street foods scattered around the town. Honestly, after 3 years of traveling around Asia (at the time I’m writing this article, it’s year 2016), I found out that Thailand’s foods (Chiang Mai particularly) are among the best.
One of the main attractions of Chiang Mai is the elephant. There are countless elephant camps that offering tourist to ride elephant or spend a day playing with elephants in Chiang Mai. After a lot of researches, we decided to choose Elephant Nature Park, due to its reputation as an elephant rescue and rehabilitation centre. They provide the natural environment to the rescued elephants, therefore having more restrictions, such as no elephant ride nor direct contact with baby elephants. For us that’s fine though.
Pa’s smoothie is the best I’ve ever had in my life, and it’s also the cheapest
We bought the ticket from their office in the town
Bathing the elephants is another enjoyable experience
Feeding elephants at close distance
Other than elephants, the other famous attraction about Chiang Mai is the Tiger Kingdom. Across the web, there are some controversial discussion suggesting the use of medication to put these tigers on sleep, so these tigers are safe for human interaction. However, we couldn’t find any concrete proof about the use of any drugs or medications in this Tiger kingdom, so we just proceed out of our curiosity.
The tiger seem enjoying much of our massage!
Coincidentally during our visit to Chiang Mai, one of the days was Vesak Day. We had the opportunity to experience the lantern festival where locals released the hundreds of lanterns into the sky.
The crowd is preparing to release the lantern into the sky~
Local praying and burning incense for Vesak Day
It was a memorable and enjoyable first backpacking trip of my life. I believe I would visit Chiang Mai again in future, for one of the world’s famous event – Loi Krathong / Yee Peng festival.