Chiang Mai, Thailand

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.

Elephant pagoda at Wat Chiang Man

Elephant pagoda at Wat Chiang Man

Wat Chiang Man

Wat Chiang Man

Detail of the elephants at Wat Chiang Man

Detail of the elephants at Wat Chiang Man

Wat Chiang Man

Wat Chiang Man

Red proverb cards hang from a tree inside Wat Chiang Man

Red proverb cards hang from a tree inside Wat Chiang Man

Full moon over Wat Mahawan Tapae

Full moon over Wat Mahawan Tapae

Pouring rain at Chang Phuek Gate night market

Pouring rain at Chang Phuek Gate night market

Intricate and ornate details abound at Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang

Intricate and ornate details abound at Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang

Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang

Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang

Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang

Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang

A delicious bowl of “everything” Kao Soi at Kao Soi Nimman

A delicious bowl of “everything” Kao Soi at Kao Soi Nimman

“Cowboy Lady” Pork Rice at Chang Phuek market

“Cowboy Lady” Pork Rice at Chang Phuek market

Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang

Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang

Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang

Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang

Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang

Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang

Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang

Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang

Street scene outside of Baan Landai

Street scene outside of Baan Landai

Exquisite latte art at Ristr8o Coffee

Exquisite latte art at Ristr8o Coffee

street scene

street scene

an emerald guard at Wat Chedi Luang

an emerald guard at Wat Chedi Luang

Delicious Khao Soi, Braised Pork and Papaya Salad at Baan Landai

Delicious Khao Soi, Braised Pork and Papaya Salad at Baan Landai

Fun glass for my latte at Ristr8o (didn’t shell out for the fancy latte art)

Fun glass for my latte at Ristr8o (didn’t shell out for the fancy latte art)

a young monk touches up the paint at Wat Chedi Luang

a young monk touches up the paint at Wat Chedi Luang

Donald Duck makes an appearance at Wat Bupparam

Donald Duck makes an appearance at Wat Bupparam

the canals surrounding the Old City

the canals surrounding the Old City

Papaya Salad and Grilled Fish at Lert Ros

Papaya Salad and Grilled Fish at Lert Ros

Dinner at a street vendor serving up pork noodles

Dinner at a street vendor serving up pork noodles

The friendly chef manning the grills at Lert Ros

The friendly chef manning the grills at Lert Ros

Pork noodles

Pork noodles

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.

a little rain won’t keep us from our elephant adventure!

a little rain won’t keep us from our elephant adventure!

Tang Mo the elephant and her mahout Gola

Tang Mo the elephant and her mahout Gola

Tang Mo loves giving hugs

Tang Mo loves giving hugs

 Chiang Mai, Thailand
 Chiang Mai, Thailand
 Chiang Mai, Thailand
capturing Chai Lai with my rain-speckled lens

capturing Chai Lai with my rain-speckled lens

Chiang Mai Guide:

SIGHTS

  • 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

EATS