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No trip to Thailand is complete without visiting Chiang Mai to experience the ancient culture, eat exceptional food, and interact directly with endangered animals. This city of over 300 historic temples sits just below Doi Suthep mountain. This mountain is well known for the majestic Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, a golden Buddhist temple on its peak where some of the Buddha’s relics are preserved amidst quiet forest.
Downtown Chiang Mai is a bustling area that’s especially active during the night market street bazaars. Most people prefer to stay just outside of downtown, where you aren’t too far away to catch a tuk-tuk and can still sleep peacefully at night. One hotel that consistently offers great deals in such a location is Viangbua Mansion, found on Viangbua Road in the Chang Puek neighborhood. They have 24 hour security, room service, underground parking, a wi-fi network, and they offer discounts for extended stays.
If you’re looking for more luxury near the downtown area, The Chedi Chiang Mai Hotel offers a great respite within walking distance of all the city’s main attractions. This hotel has an exceptional restaurant as well, offering local and international cuisine while tasteful, live dinner music is played quietly in the background.
For the ultimate experience in Thai spa luxury, stay at the Four Seasons just on the outskirts of Chiang Mai. This resort is an ideal honeymoon destination, situated in a tranquil area amongst beautifully landscaped property.
Where should you eat in Chiang Mai?
Tian Zi Tea offers the healthiest and tastiest menu of macrobiotic Asian food with some Western influence. You can sit Zen-style in the relaxed front garden, surrounded by goldfish ponds and bamboo, or inside the eco-friendly designed building. Rare Chinese teas are also available for sale here on Kampangdin Road, opposite the Beer Garden. For other great Thai and Asian Fusion dishes, visit the Whole Earth and Aum restaurants in the downtown area.
Girasole is a favorite destination on those nights when you crave real Italian food. This restaurant was created by a resident Italian man; his well-trained staff makes their own mozzarella cheese by hand, and their menu makes it hard to believe you are eating it within Thailand rather than the streets of Italy. Next door is a great local restaurant, Wawee Coffee, which features great snacks and drinks to keep you going; if you start to miss the taste of America, Starbuck’s, Subway, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s are also all in the downtown area.
What are the best attractions in Chiang Mai?
The Tiger Kingdom is by far the most amazing attraction in Chiang Mai. This park is home to several real, tamed tigers of all ages, and you can pet them! Trainers carefully escort you into their cages and explain how to interact safely with them. Nothing beats the thrill of holding a baby tiger on your own lap, or petting a full-grown tiger who flicks you teasingly with their tail while they lay out to sunbathe by their pool. These are photographic memories you can never forget! On the way to the Tiger Kingdom, there is also a snake park for the adventurous that allows you to handle a wide variety of poisonous and exotic snakes under close supervision.
Elephant lovers have the time of their lives at Elephant Nature Park on the edge of Chiang Mai. This is a sanctuary for rescued elephants, and you can feed them sugar cane, bathe them and even play with them! It’s a great experience for people of all ages.
The forests on Doi Suthep mountain have a lot of hidden treasures and are filled with great hikes; in order to best experience trekking by waterfalls, it’s advisable to rent a scooter and ride up the mountain yourself. The winding road which ascends the mountain makes for a fun and peaceful ride with amazingly scenic views. Phu Ping Palace, also located in this area, is full of beautiful gardens since it’s generally the winter residence of Thailand’s Royal family.
This article was written on behalf of www.BellinghamAirportHotels.com by Kevin Caldwell.