Surrounded by beautiful mountain landscapes and fascinating culture, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are definitely two of Thailand’s underrated gems 🇹🇭
Historically, both locations and many other Northern Thai provinces were independent of Thailand (at that time known as Siam) and were part of the Lanna Kingdom. It was only in 1909 when the Lanna Kingdom no longer existed and became part of Siam. Because of its history, Northern Thailand and Southern Thailand have tremendously different cultures. Combined with its breathtaking scenery and activities, there’s plenty to experience in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
We recently got to explore both Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai and have a 4D3N itinerary especially for you. Booking all our travel essentials with Klook definitely made it easier to get around. Read on to find out more!
Use these promo codes for discounts off your first purchase:
- Singapore: TRAVELHHWT (SGD5 off)
- Malaysia: TRAVELHHWTMY (MYR 15 off)
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Currently, there is a bad haze in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai which is expected to subside by May 2019. If you do visit these cities beforehand, we suggest you purchase and wear the appropriate mask while exploring the city, and keep hydrated too!
Day 1 Chiang Mai – Arrival, Elephant Sanctuary and Night Market
Before we embarked on our trip to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, we made sure that we booked our necessities such as our 4G data sim card, and our airport transfer on Klook to ensure that our journey was as smooth as possible. With the majority of our activities organized by them, it gave us a lot of free time to enjoy the activities, hassle-free! And since payment is made upon booking, we didn’t have to worry about carrying too much cash around too.
#HHWT Tip: Due to the winding roads, be sure to prep some motion sickness pills for the trip!
- We took the earliest flight possible from Kuala Lumpur to Chiang Mai as we wanted to take full advantage of our first day.
- Since we pre-ordered a 4G data SIM card and a private charter to our accommodation on Klook, one of their staff was waiting for us right at the arrival hall exit. With her huge ‘Klook’ sign, it was hard to miss! This made it very convenient for us since we didn’t have to look around for a person or a booth.
- With our data sim card from Klook, it was easy for us to stay connected while we were in Thailand! The sim card works in the whole of Thailand, with unlimited data for 8 days so we didn’t have to get another sim card in Chiang Rai. There’s also 100 baht worth of credit for calls and text, which is more than enough for the entire trip.
- With these tourist sim cards, it’s easy to stay connected to friends and family, and not to mention uploading your Instagram stories on time. The trip didn’t happen unless you’ve posted it up, right? 😉
- And we were glad we bought our sim cards on Klook, because the line to buy data sim cards at the airport was long!
Private transfer from Chiang Mai Airport to your accommodation
- With Klook’s private airport charter, we didn’t have to worry about catching the right bus or hailing a taxi and directing them to our accommodation. Our friendly driver brought us right to our accommodation doorstep 😊
- The van was extremely spacious and clean, and we had a comfortable journey to our next destination! With this much space, it’ll definitely feel good to stretch your legs after a flight.
- Book your 4G Sim Card and Private Charter on Klook!
Reaching our Accommodation
- Our accommodation in Chiang Mai was this uniquely designed home in the middle of Old City that we booked on HomeAway, and was only 15 minutes away from the airport. The awesome part about booking via HomeAway is that you get the ENTIRE home to yourselves 😍
- The owner, Richard, was very accommodating and met us at the house upon our arrival and showed us around the fascinating house. We learnt that he’s an expatriate and has been in Chiang Mai for over 12 years and loves it there.
#HHWT Tip: Old City is the central location in Chiang Mai, try and get accommodations within or near the area if possible.
- The house boasts two large bedrooms with queen sized beds and one humongous bathroom with a sauna! Fresh towels, shampoo and soap are provided too 😁 And not to forget the most vital factor we need – fast speed internet!
- We loved that the main bedroom had a large balcony facing the neighbourhood. Perfect spot for that morning coffee!
- Richard provided us with a USB, which included a map of nearby attractions, a name card with his name and address in English and Thai, and masks for the haze (during haze seasons). This is available for all guests too. He’s always on call to help, in case you need to direct drivers to your location.
- Our accommodation was perfect for our group since it was like our very own home away from home! With a cosy living room and large flat screen TV, it was comforting to be able to relax on the couch at the end of the day, to talk about our exciting experiences and watch some television too.
- And the best part, we got to cook up some epic meals in the kitchen too 😊
#HHWT Tip: The weather in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai can get pretty hot, be sure to bring a bottle of water around – there are plenty available in the fridge!
11.30am – 7.30pm Elephant Sanctuary
- Once we’ve settled into our accommodation and unpacked, we were ready for our next adventure in Chiang Mai – to meet elephants at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, an activity that we booked on Klook!
- Bring a towel, sunblock and a bathing suit (or clothes you don’t mind getting soaked in) because you’ll definitely get wet in the mud pool and in the river with the elephants 🐘
- Our transportation picked us up right on time for our trip to the elephant sanctuary in a pick-up truck! We were also joined by other guests who were joining the activity too. The drive is about one and a half hours to the sanctuary, but we didn’t even notice the time because we were busy chatting away with other guests 💁♀️
#HHWT Tip: for those with long flowing hair, have a hair tie ready because the truck ride is windy!
- We were so excited as we were approaching the sanctuary! We could even see some of the elephants as we were walking in. Our guide gave us a quick briefing about the sanctuary, and its elephant rescue efforts. Currently, they have 49 elephants cared for in nine different sanctuaries across Thailand. And he gave us a quick safety briefing too. The most important part was the safety briefing which was pretty simple – don’t touch the elephants’ “toenails”, tails, and armpits.
- After the briefing, we changed into a traditional Karen hill tribe tunic. The Karen Tribes are one of the mountain tribes in Thailand and are the only tribe that owns elephants and have a close relationship with them.
- You’ll meet about 14 elephants which are separated into 2 groups across the sanctuary. The elephants that were rescued together are considered a family and are grouped together. Most of them were rescued from logging camps and ploughing labour.
- To feed the elephants, say ‘bon-bon’ which means ‘eat’ in one of the mountain local village languages! We gave sugar canes to the elephants by their trunk or put it directly into their mouth. It was an interesting experience to be so close to such giant creatures and feeding them too!
- After the meet and greet sessions with the elephants, we gathered back at the main hall to make ‘medicine balls’ for them! These medicine balls are fed to the elephants as a source of vitamins to keep them healthy; and made of bananas, white rice, brown rice and tree bark 🌳 We had to mush all the ingredients together and mould them into fist-sized balls to feed the elephants.
- To feed the elephants, we had to line up across the elephants and feed the medicine balls to them. This time we had to put it directly in their mouth because they can’t grab the medicine balls with their trunks.
- Once everyone was done feeding them, we went into the mud pool with the elephants and covered them with mud! The mud keeps them cool and also protects them from the sun’s heat and insect bites.
- And next up, the highlight of the trip – bathing elephants in a river. We were given a plastic container to splash the elephants as much as we wanted in the river to get the mud off them.
- It was a surreal experience to give the chance the bathe elephants in the river! And you could tell the elephants were enjoying it too. Everyone had a blast splashing water everywhere. We had to splash water as high as possible to reach the top of the elephants.
#HHWT Tip: Be careful not to trip on rocks in the river. Some of them can’t be seen from above water.
- While we were waiting to head back to the city, most of the guests were excited to talk to each other about their experiences with the elephants and their other experiences in Chiang Mai.
- Most of us had the same perception – It’s comforting to know that there are a number of ethical sanctuaries in Thailand that dedicate time and resources to rescuing and caring elephants. Overall, we were glad that we booked this activity on Klook. It was an activity that we recommend everyone to experience a least once in a lifetime, especially when you’re in Chiang Mai 😊
8pm – Dinner at Hilal Street (Prik Thai)
- From our accommodation, we caught a GrabCar to Hilal Street, which is right next to Chiang Mai’s Night Bazaar. It was about a 10-minute drive and a GrabCar ride from Old City to Hilal Street cost us approximately 70-100 baht.
- Hilal Street is a part of Chiang Mai that hosts a large Muslim community, and best visited during the day when all the food shops are open. It’s a great place for Muslims to visit since most of the stores there are Muslim-owned and serves Halal food. When we dropped by at night, there were few shops that were open, but we managed to find this authentic halal Thai cuisine restaurant – PrikThai.
- We thoroughly enjoyed our first proper Thai meal in Chiang Mai! They have a large menu selection that gave us a hard time to make decisions.
- Our dinner comprised of a spicy bowl of tom yum (150 baht), stir-fried beef (100 baht), and omelette and rice set (60 baht), and a delicious papaya salad (100 baht). Overall, if you’re looking for a good dinner in the city, we would definitely recommend this place 😊 Prices there range from 60 baht to 350 baht, and some with seasonal prices.
Address: Changklan road, Halal street, Muang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai, Thailand 50100
Opening Hours: 10am-11pm
Halal Status: Muslim-owned
9pm – Explore Chiang Mai Night Market
- As much as we were tempted to order more food for dinner, we decided to save some room for some of the food selection at the Chiang Mai night market, which is just a two-minute walk away from PrikThai. You can even see part of the market from the restaurant.
- There are a few halal options available at the food court such as a kebab stall with freshly made kebabs (129 baht), juice stalls (starts at 40 baht) and a banana roti stall that serves the best banana ‘pancakes’ (60 baht)!
- Keep a lookout for stalls with the crescent moon and star logo for halal eateries. However, we suggest that you dine at your own discretion.
- As we exited the food court, we entered the night bazaar which has an indoor and outdoor part to it. It was easy for us to walk around since it was spacious and clean.
- We found many interesting things to browse and buy. There were plenty of locally made handicrafts, clothes, electronics, and souvenirs. The prices ranged from 30 baht onwards which we thought was pretty reasonable.
- After we were done exploring the night market, we took a Songthaew back to our accommodation which cost about 30 baht each person. Songthaews are red mini trucks that you’ll see around Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, transporting people in groups.
#HHWT tip: A songthaew may be the cheapest option (estimated 30 to 50 baht) but you’ll have to wait for the truck to fill up as Songthaews have multiple drop-offs in one trip. The more people you have in your truck, the cheaper your fee may be.
- If you’re not keen on exploring the city by public transport, you can always hire a private charter on Klook for your entire stay to bring you around the city 😋Just remember to inform your other activities operators that you won’t need transportation since you already have a private charter.
Day 2 Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai – Doi Suthep & Bhubing Palace, and Thaweesin Hot Springs
8am – Pick up from accommodation to Bhubing Palace and Doi Suthep
- As much as we wanted to stay and explore Chiang Mai more, we extremely excited to make our way to Chiang Rai too. There are so many things to see there!
- Luckily for us, since we were using Klook’s private charter from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, we could still visit Bhubing Palace and Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai before heading to Chiang Rai. These two iconic locations are a must-visit when you’re in the area! Try not to miss out on them as they provide great insights on Northern Thai culture, and are super Instagram-friendly too 😊
- Nuii, our friendly English-speaking driver was ready to pick us up at 8am to get a head start on the day. She was very accommodating and helped us load our luggage into the car. Nui was very informative throughout our entire two-day trip! Although she didn’t join us for all of our tours, she prepped us with details that could help us beforehand, as well as explaining to us the significance of each location we visited.
- The 5-seater car we got was nice and clean with bottled water provided throughout the entire trip. It definitely beats trying to find our way to bus stations to catch the next bus to Chiang Rai. And since it was a private charter, we didn’t have to wait for anyone else, and travelled on our own time.
9am – 10.30am Grab a quick drink and head into Bhubing Palace
- Bhubing Palace is the royal residence of the Thai royal family. Surrounding the residence are beautiful gardens which are open to the public 🌹 It’s about an hour’s drive from Chiang Mai City, and it’s located in the same area as Wat Phra Doi Suthep, which was our next stop.
- Before we headed into the palace grounds, Nuii suggested this cosy local coffee joint for us to grab a quick drink. Coffee prices start at 60 baht. The freshly brewed coffee aroma woke us up instantly!
- Did you know that Thailand produces two main types of coffee? Arabica in the north, and Robusta in the south.
- After coffee, we went to buy our tickets at the entrance.
#HHWT Tip: There are two ticket booths for Bhubing Palace – one right outside the palace gates and one just inside the palace gates. Head to either one, but usually, the outside booth is closed unless they are expecting a large crowd.
- The entrance fee is 50 baht and next to the ticket booth, there was another booth to grab a map from which came in handy while we were exploring the gardens.
- Remember to dress appropriately – both men and women must wear attire that covers your feet and wrists. The dress code is stricter than the usual temples out of respect to the royal family.
- There are multiple places to pass through with flowers EVERYWHERE 🌸. Walk through the plant exhibition greenhouse, pass by a rose garden, and immerse yourself in the beautiful scenery of flowers everywhere! We could not have imagined such a place in Chiang Mai. According to Nuii, the cooler climate and high altitude allow these beautiful flowers to flourish. The same flower species can’t be grown on lower altitudes.
- There are even pathways cutting through mini tropical rainforests and scenic walks up to a giant water reservoir. We spent a good hour just exploring different sections of the winter palace grounds.
#HHWT Tip: If you get thirsty, there’s a booth nearby to buy water!
11am – 12.30pm – Visit the iconic Wat Phra Doi Suthep
- Wat Phra Soi Suthep is one of the most sacred temples in Thailand, and it’s about an hour’s drive away from Chiang Mai City. According to folklore, Buddha’s ashes were split among his followers after his cremation. It is believed that some of his relics lies inside the gold chedi.
- As with any other temple, you have to be covered up to enter. Make sure your attire covers your shoulder and knees (and everything else in between).
- To get to the temple, you can walk up 300 steps to the temple or take a cable car up there. To go up using a cable car, we had to buy two tickets – one for the entrance to Doi Suthep (30 baht) and one for the cable car ride (20 baht).
- The cable car ride is just a minute ride to the top. If you’re travelling with young kids, elderly parents or disabled person, this is the easiest way up.
- As we stepped out of the cable car, we were at the outer square of the temple. The temple consists of a serene outer square and an inner square that is busy with worshipers praying and walking around.
- The place is an active temple and many worshippers pray in the area. Be mindful of the people praying and try not to walk on the pink mat unless truly necessary since that is the praying area.
- One thing you definitely won’t miss is the giant gold-plated chedi (Buddhist stupas in Thailand are referred to as chedis) that dominates the area at over 79 feet tall! We were in awe that such a structure exists!
- We also saw many Buddhist worshippers circumambulating the chedi in a show of respect. Although this is a common practice in Thailand, it was interesting to see worshippers practising this since it’s not common in Malaysia or Singapore.
- There are plenty of fruit and juice stalls within the temple area too 😊 At the bottom of the steps, there are many souvenir shops, juice stalls and cafes for a quick refuel.
- Once we were one, we easily gave Nuii a call since we had a local sim card and she was there to pick us up in a few minutes. And we were off to Chiang Rai in our private charter! The private charter was definitely handy for us to explore Bhubing Palace and Doi Suthep, which we otherwise wouldn’t have the time if we were travelling on our own instead. We would have wasted a lot of time to go back and pick up our luggage from the accommodation.
- Klook also has other day tours to visit Bhubing Palace and Doi Suthep that you can book online. Having transportation planned, and a guide with you definitely makes travelling a whole lot easier.
1pm – 3pm Enjoy a scenic drive from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai
- Our drive to Chiang Rai was easy and relaxing. We mostly spent time talking to Nuii who gave us plenty of insights into Thai culture and history. And the rest of the time, we were catching up with friends on social media. Those 4G data sim cards definitely came in handy!
- P.S. Currently, the first half of the drive from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai is bumpy due to massive road works. Being in a comfortable private charter definitely helps.
3pm – Stop by Thaweesin Hot Spring and stretch your legs
- A pit stop mostly frequented by locals, this place is unique because of its geysers and hot springs. We noticed that there were no tourists around and according to Nuii this is because this is an area that most public tourist transportations would skip, so its mostly frequented by locals. We were glad Nuii brought us here to experience an interesting local pit stop.
#HHWT Tip – there’s also a 7-eleven and an ATM in the vicinity (behind the row of shops) if you need to use them.
- There are ladies walking around the area selling chicken or quail eggs for you to cook (yes, in the hot spring!) and eat on the spot. We bought some quail eggs for 20 baht and boiled them in the hot spring for 3 minutes. We enjoyed our eggs with the soy sauce provided!
#HHWT tip: you’ll have to bite the edge of the soy sauce pack to open it rather than untying the rubber band.
- There’s another hot spring there that too. We went up to soak our sore feet for a good ten minutes before making our way to our next accommodation.
#HHWT Tip: Test the water temperature as it can get pretty hot!
7.30pm – Reaching our 2nd Accommodation
- A few hours later we were at our next accommodation. Booked on HomeAway, it was located in Sabay Villa, just a 10 minute drive away from Chiang Rai’s town district. Being this close to the town area made it easy for us to hail a GrabCar anytime we needed, but most of the time we used our private transfer
- And were we glad we stayed on the outskirts of town since it gets fairly noisy in town at night (especially during the weekends) because of the abundance of bars with live music around.
- We stayed in a spacious wooden chalet each, which had a comfortable queen-sized bed, air conditioning and a cosy reading nook in the corner. It was also attached with a spacious bathroom with amenities such as hot showers, fresh towels, shampoo, conditioner and body wash.
- The charming little chalets were perfect for us! Being in an individual chalet gave us plenty of privacy but at the same time, we could hang out in the dining area, and have a cup of tea before ending our day. It was one of the highlights we had there – like our own little resort in Chiang Rai.
- Similar to the previous accommodation, Sabay Home also provided internet, so we we could check our emails and catch up with friends and family on our laptop too.
- Although we did not head out for dinner on the first night, there are a few options available such as Sareeneen Food & Sweets, and Rosprasert Muslim Restaurant which we explored the next day. Read on to find out more 😊
Use these promo codes for discounts off your first purchase on Klook:
- Singapore: TRAVELHHWT (SGD5 off)
- Malaysia: TRAVELHHWTMY (MYR 15 off)
- Indonesia: TRAVELHHWTID (IDR 50,000 off)
Day 3 Chiang Rai – White Temple, Blue Temple, Black House, Chiang Rai Night Bazaar
- We started our first morning in Chiang Rai at 8.30am. Since we were visiting three iconic artistic Chiang Rai locations, we were more than eager to be up early to start the day in our private charter with Nuii!
9.20 am – White Temple
- Our first stop was the White Temple (or Wat Rong Khun) that was about 40 minutes away from Chiang Rai City. The admission fee to enter is 50 baht for foreigners and free for Thai locals.
- This Buddhist temple is pure white with pieces of mirrors embedded into the structure, even cameras can’t capture the brilliance of this structure. Even the fish in the pond are all white! The ubosot (the main structure) is adorned with intricate details of serpents, demons and skulls all over. Although it is referred to as a temple, the place is not a temple but rather a large showcase of the artists’ design.
- The faces and hands reaching out from the ground signify those who did not make it to paradise because they succumbed to greed. Being able to cross over the bridge signified crossing over to paradise.
#HHWT tip: take all your photos before you cross the bridge, the guards will not allow you to move against traffic or stop for more than a minute or two to take photos.
- Unfortunately, we couldn’t take any photos or videos inside the main hall 😩 And you have to take your shoes off and carry them with you as you enter the main hall.
- Once inside, you’ll find bright orange murals on the wall adorned with characters from pop culture. Find characters such as Superman, Batman, Neo from the Matrix, Michael Jackson, Harry Potter and more all around the hall murals 😲 Most people would describe seeing these in a temple as bizarre, and so would we. The artist definitely evoked visitors’ feelings by using pop culture references to represent the fight between good and evil in Thai Buddhist culture.
- FYI, the White Temple is expected to continue construction until 2070. The main hall is only the first instalment of the project. Eventually, it will house nine buildings and a meditation hall.
- Another structure to visit is a five-minute walk from the white temple – the Golden Ganesha Temple. Unfortunately, this structure also does not allow photography and videography inside the main hall, which showcases various statues and souvenirs of the Hindu deity, Ganesha.
11.30am Blue Temple
- The next stop is twenty minutes drive from the White Temple, the Blue Temple! It is also known as Wat Rong Suea Ten. There is no entrance fee for this temple so you can walk right in.
- Upon entrance, we were greeted by two magnificent blue serpent-humanoid structures.
- Interesting fact: the Thai name of the temple actually translates to ‘House of the dancing tigers’. It is believed that the current temple was built on the land of an abandoned temple where tigers used to roam 🐅
- Unlike the white temple, the blue temple is an active temple so we saw worshippers burning incense at the entrance, and praying inside.
- Also, unlike other Buddhist temples, the insides of this temple are decorated in twilight blue, indigo, gold, and kaleidoscopic patterns! The centrepiece of this place is the large white Buddha statue that stands out against all the colours! Don’t forget to look up too! The ceilings are also decorated with intricate kaleidoscopic patterns.
#HHWT tip: Be careful where you step. It is not uncommon that tourists get enamoured by the details of this place that they trip on praying worshippers.
- Outside, we found more steps flanked with naga (serpents who are considered Buddha’s faithful followers in Thai Buddist folklore), but this time instead of the traditional green and red, or all-white like the white temple, the nagas here are a mixture of purple, red, and aqua hues. Giving the creature almost a fantasy-movie like feel. There are also statues of guardian angels from Thai folklore with beautiful colours and details.
- Behind the temple is another all-white buddha statue that stands out from the bright blue and gold background.
1pm – Black House
- About twenty minutes away from the Blue temple is the Black House (or Baandam Museum). The entrance fee is 80 baht that we bought at the counter right at the entrance.
- The Black House is an area with over 40 different structures showcasing the late artists’ designs. Find unique structures with intricate carvings and details. The designs were an interesting combination of gothic and traditional Thai. Some may love this place for its bizarre oddities, while some may find it eerie.
- P.S. the Black House (Baandam) may not be suited for all visitors. The designer utilises animal parts such as skin and bones into many of his designs.
- There are even igloo-looking structures that make interesting subjects for photographs 📷
- Visiting all three locations was an awe-inspiring experience. To understand the significance of Buddhism in Thai culture, and how they express it through elaborate art makes us appreciate different cultures even more. Although we practice different faiths, the Thai culture of incorporating their faith into almost everything in their daily lives is something to admire.
- Alternatively, you can also book a tour for the White Temple, Blue Temple and Black House on Klook which includes transportation too!
Darunaman Mosque for prayers
- Half an hour away from the Black House is Darunaman Mosque. The mosque is located centrally in Chiang Rai town, close to the clock tower and night bazaar. If anyone wants to drop by to perform your prayers, this is one of the most convenient places to do so.
Lunch at Rosprasert restaurant
- Located right next to Darunaman Mosque is a cosy halal restaurant, Rosprasert.
- After all that walking, we were eager for a lunch feast! And the food did not disappoint. We had a filling plate of beef biryani (60 baht), a hearty bowl of beef soup (100 baht) and white rice with curry chicken and egg.
- With a feast like that, we went back to our accommodation with feeling satisfied as ever and had a good rest before our evening exploration. We were glad that Nuii picked us up from the restaurant immediately. The afternoon weather in Chiang Mai is hot, and we can’t imagine looking for tuk-tuks or having to wait for a taxi or GrabCar in that heat! Having a private charter made it much more convenient.
6pm – Dinner at Sareeneen Food & Sweets
- It’s time for dinner! We made our way to Sareeneen Food & Sweets, located right outside Chiang Rai’s Night Bazaar.
- Similarly, keep a lookout for restaurants with the Arabic Halal characters, or the crescent moon and star 🌙 Ask store owners too if you’re unsure about the halal status and we advise readers to dine at your own discretion.
- Slurp down on a delicious bowl of Beef noodle soup (40 baht), Thailand’s must-eat Mango sticky rice at 69 baht. For those of you who have not tried this, you’ll be surprised how well the blend of sweet mangoes, creamy coconut milk and sticky rice to give you a delicious taste and Northern Thailand’s iconic Khao Soi at 50 baht. Khao Soi is one of Northern Thailand’s must-try dishes! It’s a coconut curry based spicy soup served with crunchy noodles. It’s usually served with pork but the halal version uses chicken meat instead!
- If you’re craving for something else, there’s a lot more on the menu available from pasta, steak and local Thai dishes.
7.30pm – Shop til you drop at Chiang Rai’s night bazaar!
- Once we were done with yet another feast, we headed to the night market to check out the shops. The busy market had plenty to offer from locally made goods like scarves, handicrafts, accessories, clothes, touristy t-shirts, bags and shoes.
- Make sure you buy what you want before leaving Chiang Rai since most of the designs are made locally and can’t be found outside of Northern Thailand since they’re not made in bulk. Finding all these goods was definitely a good way to end the day 😊
Day 4 – Cooking in Chiang Rai
9am – Chiang Rai Fresh market
- What better way to learn about Thai culture than to learn about their food? Suwannee cooking class teaches you just that – a tour around a fresh market to learn about local ingredients and a cooking class 👩🍳 You can book this interesting cooking class on Klook
- Our guide and chef from the cooking school, Nan, picked us up (and our luggage) for a trip to the local fresh market for a light breakfast of fried bananas and local coffee and tea. We also had to decide the dishes we were cooking in as this will, in turn, decide on the ingredients we need to buy from the market.
- Choose up to four dishes! Note that some may not be available due to seasonal ingredients.
- After that, we were off on the market tour! There are multiple sections to the market, which your guide will walk you through.
- There is even a halal section too! With halal food ranging from 30 baht onwards, from snacks to meat!
- Nan explained to us about different ingredients commonly used in Thai cooking such as glass noodles, spices, and lemongrass.
- And look out for the variety of Thai desserts too! We suggest you ask your guide about the ingredients before buying. Your guide will ask the food vendor to make sure it is halal or vegetarian 😊
- It’s interesting to see market interactions too and how the entire market works as a whole. Meats, vegetables, household goods, souvenirs, fruits – you could find almost anything there!
- Once we got our ingredients for the cooking class, Nan brought us back to the house about 10 minutes away from the market where the cooking will be done. The classes are organized mostly by a family, headed by Suwannee!
- Inside the classroom is a full sized dining table with table settings for everyone with a full sized table for cooking preparations. And multiple stoves for everyone too! The cooking ingredients are halal, and separate utensils are used for halal food cooking.
- Before you start, your guide and chef will show all the ingredients you’ll be using for your cooking class! For each dish, we had to prepare the ingredients and cook the dish before starting on the next one.
- The three dishes we made were Thailand’s famous Pad Thai, a delicious bowl of prawn tom yum, green chicken curry and a super delicious dessert of pumpkin cooked in coconut milk 😊
- Cooking Thai food was an exciting experience since we got to learn about the usual ingredients used in Thai food, and how the food taste is largely dependent on herbs, coconut milk and spices!
- Don’t worry about the level of spiciness. Your chef will help you adjust the spices according to your taste 🌶
- After all the cooking and eating, we had a good cup of coffee before heading off to the airport ☹
2pm – Leave for Chiang Rai airport
- Sadly, the cooking school was our last activity for the trip.
- Luckily for us, we booked a private transfer directly to Chiang Rai airport so we had a driver pick us up from the cooking school and sent us straight to the international departure at the airport. The driver will come in a large spacious van to fit all your luggage and bags 🚌
- As usual, water is provided in the vehicle. And sometimes, you’ll even get a surprise like mint candy!
Bonus: Spa Time
Credit: @museflowerretreat on Instagram
- And if you have more time before heading to the airport, why not drop by Museflower Retreat for a spa and massage treatment 🧖♀️
- Transportation is provided by them too at an additional fee. You’ll receive a complimentary 30-minute herbal steam service before or after your treatment if you book on Klook.
- Enjoy a 60 or 90-minute massage of your choice in a tranquil and serene place among natural landscape 🌳 By the end of it, You’ll be super relaxed for your trip back home ✈️
And that’s a done deal for Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai! There’s so much more these remarkable places have to offer but we were limited by time ☹ Between the amazing people we met on the trip, a surreal elephant experience, and learning about the beautiful Thai culture, we are definitely planning a trip back to explore more of these awe-inspiring places!
For a smooth and hassle-free trip, we suggest you book your activities through Klook since their packages cover the essentials (such as mobile data and transportation) and major attractions and highlights in both cities.
Grab your travel buddies and get cracking on planning that epic trip to Northern Thailand! You know you want to, and we know you want to 😁
Use these promo codes for discounts off your first purchase on Klook:
- Singapore: TRAVELHHWT (SGD5 off)
- Malaysia: TRAVELHHWTMY (MYR 15 off)
- Indonesia: TRAVELHHWTID (IDR 50,000 off)
This post is brought to you by Klook.