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What To Do & Where To Stay in Chiang Mai

Chaing Mai was undoubtably my favorite stop while in Thailand! This really took me by surprise as I was sure the islands were going to be the highlight of my trip. If you want authentic Thai culture this is where you should go!

This city is FAR from paradise; it smells, it’s dirty, and it is under developed but the people are genuine, the food is great, and the nature is breathtaking!

I arrived in Chiang Mai at night. I originally flew into Bangkok and took a connecting flight to Chiang Mai since I found the cheapest flight this route.

** Tip: Booking transportation within Thailand is much cheaper. I recommend purchasing your first flight or two and leave the rest for when you arrive.

What to do:

Night Bazaar (market):

I went to this market almost every night! I absolutely loved it (disclaimer- I do have a small obsession with markets)!

The market has great food and beverages; I really recommend the Thai Milk tea! There is an area of the food court with a stage for some entertainment.

Lots of stalls to shop from. Many of the items are knock off’s of well known brands. None the less, super fun to look around and grab some souvenirs!

Super cheap massages… like under $10 for an hour cheap! I also did a fish spa (when fish nibble at your feet to get the dead skin off) which was interesting- don’t recommend it if your feet are super ticklish like mine!

Ran-Tong Elephant Center:

Wow! What an incredible experience! Elephants are by far my favorite animal and I was so excited to get up close and personal to such a large, powerful animal!

At Ran-tong Elephant Center you get to feed, ride and bathe elephants for the day! Had such an amazing time! You do ride them bare-back which I know is a huge plus to some people.

Transport and lunch is included! #win

** I know riding elephants can be a bit controversial for some people. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion so feel free to link any informative articles below in the comment section to help others make their decision! You don’t have to agree with everyone’s point of view but please be respectful! :)

Tiger Kingdom:

Woah! Tigers are some powerful animals! You can feel it the second you pet them! At Tiger Kingdom you get to choose how many tigers you pet. I chose the 4 tiger package which let me in the cage with 2 large, 1 medium, and 1 baby tiger. It is really awesome to share the same space with such a dangerous animal- a bit of an adrenaline rush!

** I know petting tigers can be a bit controversial for some people. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion so feel free to link any informative articles below in the comment section to help others make their decision! You don’t have to agree with everyone’s point of view but please be respectful! :)

Doi Suthep-Pui National Park:

What I thought was going to be a short hike to see some waterfalls turned into a 4 hour hike with much more to see! If you love hikes I highly recommend this trail! I saw 10 waterfalls and apparently there is way more to see; such as temples and caves! I wish I had planned a day just for this hike! I had so much fun swimming and exploring!

Zabb-e-Lee Cooking School:

BEST FOOD IN THAILAND! I’m not a huge fan of cooking, I’d rather spend my time doing other things but it was a must to give Thai cooking a try and WOW I am so glad I did! It was close to my favorite activity during my stay in Chaing Mai! The instructor is amazing - she takes you to a local market and helps you pick out all the ingredients you need. Then you come back to a cute outside kitchen area where you make a 5 COURSE meal! Then to top it all off she gives you a recipe book for all the dishes you made with some additional recipes for the road (and the recipes include a substitution for any ingredients you can’t find outside of Thailand)! She goes over and above- and I rate this a million stars! #NotSponsored

What to expect:

• So cheap!

• Draw cash at the airport. It’s more safe and easier since not everywhere takes card.

• Download a translator. You won’t use it too much but when you do need it, it makes life a whole lot easier!

• Agree on a set taxi/tuk-tuk fare before you get in. They can be sneaky!

• Always try to lower the price at markets. They price items way higher then they actually expect you to pay.

Where to stay:

The Grand Napat Hotel:

Great service. Front desk spoke english (huge win). Super helpful translating for us when we booked actvities. Picked us up from the airport. Provided us with taxis and shuttles for different activities. 4 star hotel. Breakfast included.


Mariah McAlpin


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Thanks for taking time to read my blog post! I hope you find value in it! If you're new to seeing my content, Hi my name is Mariah! I love sharing my take on fashion, travel, beauty, lifestyle, relationships, bridal and more!

I have been writing + creating photo/video content since I was about 12 years old (2007) - never in my wildest dreams thinking I could be doing this as a full time job 10 years down the road.

I moved to South Africa shortly after meeting my husband and we got married 5 years later (2020)! We often travel back and forth between Florida, USA and Cape Town, South Africa - both of them home to us.

I have two puppies, Chai + Bentley. And I hope to be telling you about children some day soon!

Until then, I will keep sharing my current passions, tips + tricks, thoughts + tools for life! The adventure continues....!



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