I’m so excited to share about this Southeast Asia (North Thailand) journey I embarked on with 2 of my wonderful dear friends!
With so much joy filled in our hearts, minds, legs, cheeks and all round body, my friends and I hopped out of our Qatar Airways flight and didn’t know how to act! Literally, so much excitement took over!! We walked to our immigration line filling our arrival cards when all of a sudden…POP!!! One of the airport officials busted our excitement bubble. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t have all the information filled out so she took us out of the front of the line and we had to start over! What a bummer… but it wasn’t for too long, we were right back in front, got our bags and rolled out!
Our original flight was going to take us to Bangkok but since we got our bags in Chiang Mai, we decided to start our journey here!
We took a taxi from the airport to our hotel which roughly cost us $6. Our plan was to change money at the airport but we arrived around 6am and the currency exchange shop was not opening until 9 am. Because of this, we paid the taxi in dollars; and as your girl is the ultimate negotiator, I got our original price ฿400 (~$12.78) to ฿187 (~6) Amen?!
We stayed at The 3 sis hotel which is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Chiang Mai. We were able to check-in with no hassle. We got all cleaned up and set to take on the day!
Our first stop was to change money since we weren’t able to get that done at the airport. We decided to walk to the currency exchange store since it wasn’t too far from us and also to get a chance to explore on our own! The currency exchange store we used was Super Rich money exchange which came highly recommended by other vloggers and bloggers.
On our way there, we found a Thai cooking class going on and we decided to sign up! After our money exchange mission, we went to eat lunch at a restaurant opposite our hotel and then boarded Tuk Tuk to Tiger Kingdom!
The ride to Tiger kingdom from downtown was about 30 minutes, thankfully the weather was beautiful so the Tuk Tuk ride was perfect! The city is absolutely beautiful. You need a brave heart to enter into the Tiger’s cage. It’s a wonderful experience no doubt but I was SCARREEDD to my bones y’all! I debated and debated. My two girlfriends already had their mind set on seeing the tigers but eventually I joined them. I figured, I’m already here so why not? While we were waiting to get our tickets, we met two other beautiful travelers from New York who were so friendly!
There are several packages to choose from when you want to see the tigers. It’s something like:|Big&Small tigers|Giant&Big|Big&White Tiger|Tiger & Lion|. We chose the big & small tiger package which costs us ฿1500 (~47.53). We saw the big Tigers first, and OH MY GOODNESS was I scared! I touched one tiger and I was ready to be OUT! Like, you have to realize that you are meat (basically) to these animals! I mean, when I smell food I eat! The tigers were relatively calm and they listened to their instructors. I read a lot before traveling about the tigers being drugged and overall I have mixed feelings about this. The big tigers seemed fine and active (one was previously restless, so we stayed away from that) while the baby tigers were hopefully just sleeping. If you ever do go, I say, Check it out for yourself!
After tiger kingdom, our Tuk Tuk driver recommended we go see the long neck women which wasn’t too far away BUT it was going to cost another ฿500 ($15.85) to enter into the village so we decided not to. We rode back to our hotel, once again exploring the beautiful city!
After taking a short nap, we headed out for our cooking class which was so much fun! We made 5 dishes from scratch. I would highly recommend this for anyone looking to dive into the rich Thai Culture; what better way than to start with their authentic food you get to create yourselves! Our cooking class was set from 5pm to 9pm but I guess we did so well as a team we were done by 8:30! The cost of the class was ฿800 (~25.35).
Luckily for us, the Chiang Mai Sunday night market had already started so we took this time to walk in the midst of the crowd and shop! The Sunday night is a weekly tradition in Chiang Mai and local vendors come out to sell their items. There is so must to see and buy! Lots of T-shirts, souvenirs in form of bracelets, earrings and also delicious street food. I racked up T-shirts for ฿ 50 (~1.58) each.
The next day, we ate breakfast at our hotel (free with our booking) then visited the 14th century Wat Chedi Luang temple (gorgeous pictures below) which was conveniently located right opposite our hotel.
Afterwards, we ate lunch, got a taxi and boarded our overnight train #52 to Bangkok.
- Our 3 sis hotel attendants were not nice at all. No good customer services; as long as we didn’t have much interaction with them we were fine to lay our heads in the room and head out for the day.
- The only good thing about staying at the 3 sis was its proximity to everything in the city. We were able to walk to most places we needed to go.
- Be very cautious of random extra charges that may be added to your bill. CHECK everything! It’s like amnesia strikes and they don’t know you again after paying.
- The Tuk Tuk drivers are nice and interactive; they will try to take you to other places as part of a tour experience claiming lower costs. Do good research to find out the prices on several websites before settling and be cautious!
- Have a blue or black pen with you, so you can fill out your immigration arrival card once they give it to you on the plane to avoid what we went through.
- Board your train using http://www.12go.asia/en. They are GREAT with communication. Their website isn’t updated right away so if the train is fully booked, they will contact you to give you other options BUT book early!!
- Negotiate! Negotiate!! Negotiate everything you buy and every taxi you take if it’s not a metered cab.
- The temples are strict on attire so plan ahead on what to wear.
- The train ride does not come with food, so if you don’t want to buy food on the train, have a lot of snack options with you. Also take a blanket if you like to stay warm. They keep the train really cold and that was the uncomfortable part of the trip for me. Besides the cold, we bought food because our snacks weren’t enough nonetheless, the food was good. There is No Wi-Fi on this train, so bring a book, have some card games or just plain old fashion talk away! The newer trains #10 and #14 have a shorter ride.