Jungle mountains shrouded in mist, glittering temples around every corner, mighty elephants, and steaming bowls of khao soi are a few of my favorite things in Chiang Mai.
Still plagued by the rainy season, we made the most of our single sunny day and toured the Old City wats. For such a bustling city, it’s amazing how quiet and peaceful the atmosphere is once you step inside a temple compound- a wonderful respite from the Chiang Mai streets.
One of the highlights of our trip was a visit to Chai Lai Elephant Sanctuary. We only had half a day left on our trip, so we hired a car and drove into the mountains for “elephant happy hour”. Six year old elephant Tang Mo and her mahout Gola stopped by the Chai Lai Cafe for snacks and we fed Tang Mo delicious ripe bananas. The elephants are incredibly smart- Tang Mo gave hugs and kisses on command, and eagerly sniffed out more snacks around the cafe. I’d love to return to Chai Lai someday to spend more time with these beautiful beasts.
Chiang Mai Guide:
Chai Lai Orchid - beautiful elephant sanctuary nestled in the mountains
Wat Chiang Man - temple with a beautiful garden and elephant pagoda
Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang - large ornate temple complex with multiple chapels and statues
Wat Chedi Luang - large temple complex in the center of the Old City
Zira Spa - spent a lovely afternoon here, great packages with bargain prices. Very clean, expert massage
Oasis Spa - Spa chain with multiple locations, all look gorgeous
Baan Landai Fine Thai Cuisine - one of the best meals we had in Thailand
Chang Phueak Pork Leg Rice - “Cowboy Lady” street vendor made famous in Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Chang Phuek Market - night market with a variety of food vendors
Lert Ros - delicious whole grilled fish
Kao Soi Nimman - delicious Kao Soi
Ristr8o Coffee - fancy coffee with exceptional latte art
Living Machine - fun hipster bar