We left for london around 5:30am jumped on a national express bus and headed to Heathrow Airport for our 14 Hour flight to Chiang Mai.
We planned our two week travels to start in Chiang Mai > Chiang Rai > Phuket > Phi Phi Islands > finishing in Bangkok.
Most people think you have to travel for 6 months in order to see these places but you don’t. If you plan ahead and research where you want to go you can do them in a few weeks. We have seen everything we wanted to in Thailand because we planned it so well. Sometimes it’s early mornings but it’s so worth it!
It cost us £200 in hotels for two weeks but we went luxury this time! So if you stay in hostels you can get it waaaay cheaper! Flights were £600ish return and i only needed £300 spending money!
After stopping in Bangkok for a transfer flight to Chiang Mai. I was grateful to be on the next flight. The crossover was a nightmare - so little time and too many queues!
Landing in Chiang Mai, we opted to get a taxi to our hotel. Don’t be afraid to haggle for prices!! They will give you a high price to start with, just haggle to get them down. Whilst in Thailand you will need to rely on taxis, tuk tuks etc so get used to haggling!
We stayed at Hotels Group Asia which was outside of Chiang Mai town. In hindsight we should have gotten somewhere closer to the town, but our stay in Chiang Mai revolved around the outskirts of Chiang Mai so we didn’t mind.
You need to get the app Grab Taxi which is like uber - it’s so handy!!
Hedgehog Cafe - Harinezumi Cafe
The first night we was there we wandered around Chiang Mai city, taking in the culture when we randomly found a hedgehog cafe so we just HAD to stop there for a smoothie. Apparently animal cafes are very popular in Thailand. The hedgehogs were too cute, we fed them and played with them whilst enjoying our smoothie. One even tried to steal my camera.
Sunday Night Market
We was lucky enough to be here at the right time for this massive night market. It’s miles and miles long full of food stalls, souvenirs, clothes and hand made crafts! It’s definitely worth a visit.
Grand Canyon Chiang Mai
We took a tuk tuk to the Grand Canyon, in which he waited for us for two hours and took us back. We paid between 500-600baht for the day and it was worth it.
The grand canyon was beautiful open space. it’s a 100baht entry fee. Where you can play on inflatables, zip line and cliff jump! They also have a cafe on site for food and drink.
The cliff dive is 25ft and is way higher than it looks! about something i would recommend doing, what a rush! It felt like i was free falling for ages & for someone whose notoriously scared of heights i’m so proud i did it. Just be prepared for the rope climb back up! It’s worse than the actual fall.
Elephant Mountain Sanctuary
We booked this full day trip with the company prior to leaving for thailand, which i would recommend doing! We paid £35GBP and it was worth every. single. penny. We wanted to make sure we went to one where they wouldn’t allow rides or shows of any sort. Although i’ve rode and elephant before i didn’t fully understand the implications at the time and wouldn’t do it again. So this place is great, all money and donations goes back to the Elephants and their care.
It took about an hour and half bus trip to the mountain sanctuary. Take flip flops, bug spray and a towel. The full day provides you with water and lunch.
Its honestly the most amazing experience, they provide you with shorts and tshirts for the day to wear. You start by feeding the elephants bananas, they are just walking around you which is surreal!! Also a sign to tell an elephant is happy is their ears flapping and these elephants were so happy and loving life. They also cut up slot of sugar canes to feed them as-well because elephants get through a tonne of food!!
Then they take you through a medicine making class, getting you to make the elephants medicine full of vitamins for them, wrap it in banana leaves and feed it to them. The elephant opens their mouth by shouting the word BON!
We then went on a sweltering 6km hike through the jungle. Each pair is assigned an elephant. Me and my friend Kirsty was looking after Chizu - the naughty elephant! We started at the front of the pack and ended at the back because he would keep stopping and ripping down bamboo trees! You just have to keep feeding them along the walk so make sure you stock up on sugar canes!!
Towards the end of the trail the elephants go for a mud bath which you can join them to cool off and after this a ten minute walk to the river where you wash and scrub the elephants to cool them down.
A nice surprise for us was the zip line through the jungle to get back to our minibus! So much fun!