Chiang Mai is Thailand’s northern city, an escape from the whirlwind pace of life of its southern rival. Despite the constant arrival of planes and trains full of sightseers, the former seat of the Lanna kingdom is still blissfully calm and laid-back. This is a place to relax after the chaos of Bangkok and recharge your batteries with fabulous food and leisurely wandering. If you don’t want to participate in the vast array of activities on offer, just stroll around the backstreets, and discover a city that is still firmly Thai in its aspect, atmosphere, and attitude.

I always claim not to be a fan of Chiang Mai yet I seem to find myself and do enjoy myself here. When being in this city, I have hang with some fantastic friends and do some really unique things — playing with elephants, taking a massage course, ziplining and attempting to cook Thai food all come to mind.

Hanging with some friends

Enjoy some local foods

Playing with elephants is one of the most wonderful memories I have ever had. Elephants are some of the most beautiful animals on the planet and it is really enjoyable to spend a whole day with them in Chiang Mai, Thailand seeing them play. Elephants are a huge part of the Thailand tourist industry, but usually for all the wrong reasons and it breaks my heart. The thousands of tourists that ride elephants every year, never knowing just how badly they are being treated or that the elephants that are forced to dance for tourists or the ones that are pulled along the streets every night to take pictures with tourists, whilst the bright lights and noise are terrifying to them. As soon as we booked our trip to Thailand, we knew that we wanted to spend time with elephants, but we didn’t want to contribute to anything that was harming elephants in anyway. Instead we wanted to go to a rehabilitation centre that actually rescues these beautiful animals from years of abuse. We spent hours searching for the right place and the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai was the perfect choice. We spent an hour or so walking around the nature park with the elephants, just watching what they got up to. They are never forced to do anything, and it is all done on their time. We have a chance to feed them with fruit and get an elephant selfie. They all loved posing for photographs, but of course you don’t want to get too close to them unless they want you to. You kind of have to wait for them to come to you. Speaking of play time, this was the best part of the day. The elephants started walking down towards the river and after a brief play with the tires and a bit of a wrestle, they started making their way into the water. We also got to go in the water with them and wash them and it was really fun! It was the most incredible day since we could actually play with elephants, wash them and actually see them happy, as well as contributing to getting them back to their healthier happier selves.

Playing with elephants

Thai massage course was recommended as a unique and unforgetable experience so I decided to taking a course while travelling in Chiang Mai. I have to say that I’ll never regret doing this! It was easy and fun and it was a golden skill that accompany you for a lifetime. After taking this course, I could help my friends and family members to get rid off everyday body’s pain by using simple and effective techniques. Everybody could do it. I extremely suggest you try it if you have a chance to visit Chiang Mai.

Thai Massage

I also took a cooking Thai food course because I love the taste of food here. The day started with tea at the school’s downtown location, where we met our classmates and planned our menus for the day. As part of the full day course, we could each pick from several options for each of the five courses. I chose chicken cashew nut from the stir fried menu, spring rolls from the appetizer menu, tom sab from the soup menu, massaman curry from the curry menu, and sticky rice with mango from the dessert menu. We also popped to a local market to pick up supplies for the day and learn about how to spot the freshest ingredients. I was surprised to find the market hidden away in a corner of town I walked by all the time, but had never ventured into. Teachers were really nice and professional. They made the day easy, fun and made it seem very simple and straightforward. I thoroughly enjoyed this cooking class, it was a really enjoyable, fun, and very interesting day. I learnt a lot about Thai food and am really excited about making the yellow curry. I will certainly be back in the future to do some cooking with my partner as he would really benefit from spending time in the kitchen to build his confidence and it’s something we can do together.

Colorful Thai foods

Don’t miss it!!!

Besides, my friends and I enjoyed many others activities like ziplining and trekking. It was an awesome trip to explore ‘the other side of Thailand’, which should definitely be added to your Thai itinerary.

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