Chiang Mai was by far my favourite place in Thailand. The pace, the atmosphere everything was very different to everywhere else we had been.
We stayed in a five star boutique hotel while in Chiang Mai. It was amazing. The hotel looked like something in between a temple and palace with beautiful white pillars and columns inside and out. The facilities were wonderful and included; an overflow pool, library, work area, spa and a delicious restaurant.
One of my favourite things I did here was when I went to a Thai cookery school. I choose to do a full day cookery class which included a tour of the local food market. We started off by going to the market to see where they buy all of their food. We met some of the stall owners and we finally learned the names of some of the new fruits and vegetables we had been eating during our stay there. Then we went to the cookery school where we met our teacher and got started! As part of the full day course we made seven different dishes. There were a selection of dishes to choose from under a variety of headings such as appetiser and main course. The seven dishes I choose were: chicken coconut soup, fried Thai style noodles, deep fried spring rolls, sweet and sour vegetables, making a curry paste session, green curry and sticky rice with mango. There was a perfect balance of cooking and taking breaks to actually eat the food we made. When we did sit down to eat our meals everyone sat at one long table and we had a chance to swap travel stories with people from all over the world. I even managed to get through the day somehow with my broken hand!
The markets in Chiang Mai were the best I have been to. The atmosphere was relaxed and felt much safer than anywhere else I had been. There was a huge selection of stalls and everything imaginable was available. The colours and smells from the area were a treat to the senses! I went for a wander around here most evenings or nights while in Chiang Mai as it was super close to the hotel, a really nice experience and I saw something new every time too.
Another day was spent visiting the Karen Long Neck Hilltribe Settlement. I had wanted to see this particular culture since seeing a documentary about their culture on television a year or two ago. While travelling to the village we saw many paddy fields along the way and beautiful scenery. The tribes people were dressed in traditional clothing and went about their daily chores as we wandered around. Their weaving creations were wonderfully colourful and beautiful.
I also went to visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep a beautiful temple on a hill with breath taking views of Chiang Mai. Climbing over 300 steps to reach the temple was definitely worth it! It was very peaceful and beautiful. Yet another chance to relax and take in the atmosphere and explore the area.
Chiang Mai is well worth a trip! These are just a few of the wonderful things to do and experience here.