Chiang Mai is one of the cheapest places we have been to in Thailand. We stayed in Baan Khun hostel which worked out at €2 each a night and was in such a central location we could walk everywhere. Another good backpacker hostel with more of a social scene is
There is lots to do in Chiang Mai I would definitely recommend spending around 5 days here. Make sure to take a trip to Pai too. It’s about a 3 hour bus journey from Chiang Mai but you can’t do a day trip there so make sure to allow for a few days there when planning your trip.
Things to Do:
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary – I would 100% recommend to go to an elephant sanctuary of some sort. The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary was such a brilliant experience and was one of my favourite days of the entire trip. We booked the tour through our hostel and paid 2400 baht each which included transport there, lunch and a free top. The whole experience was worth every cent. It was amazing to be up so close to these gentle giants and they genuinely seemed so happy in the sanctuary. I wont lie at one stage we were tempted to go somewhere where we could sit/ride on the elephants but after visiting the sanctuary I wouldn’t even dream of it now. It’s so bad for the elephants and they are beaten and treated terribly at the riding places so make sure to go to an anti-riding sanctuary. When we got there we were given an introduction talk and then got to feed them, we also made them medicine balls which is supposed to help their digestive system and then played with them in mud and bathed them in the river. It was such a brilliant day! You can do a full day or half day with the elephants. (half day is cheaper if you are on a tighter budget) but definitely do it, you won’t regret it!
White water rafting – more like brown water rafting..the water was filthy. This was a fun day out which we again booked through our hostel with a company called ‘8 Adventures’. The tour cost us 1500 baht each which again included transport there and back as well as a delicious lunch and 2 hours of white water rafting which was really fun.
Thai Farm Cooking School – This cost us 1500 baht each which is definitely one of the more expensive cooking schools but everything they use is organic. We had ‘Yummy’ as our teacher. Before we went to the school we were brought to a food market where he showed us where they source all their ingredients. At the school we spent the day cooking dishes such as thai green curry, chicken cashew nut stir fry, spring rolls and mango sticky rice. It was a really good day and great to have some authentic thai recipes to take home with us. As I said there are much cheaper ones which are really good too so it is worth researching it but a Thai Cooking course is a must!
Ladyboy/Cabaret Show – definitely an experience, some of them are incredible dancers and in the heels they wear I’m not even sure some girls would be able to dance as good. Worth a visit!
Massages – Thai massages are so nice and so cheap. You can get a 1 hour full body/ foot massage for around €3-5! (120-200 baht) Make sure to haggle the price especially if there is a few of you getting one. Would definitely recommend the foot massage as they actually do your head and shoulders too!
Ploen Ruedee Night Market – this is the BEST place for food! It’s so cheap and so yum! They literally have every type of food and it’s honestly so delicious. We got chicken satay, corn on the cob and a baked potato for 100 baht (less than €3) and I think it was one of my favourite meals.
Night Bizarre Market – if you’re looking to get some souvenirs or designer imitations this is a good place to go. Make sure to ALWAYS HAGGLE the price down and you can get some really good bargains.
Temples – Chiang Mai is full of temples so is a good place to visit and learn more about the buddhist culture. Most are free to enter just make sure to dress respectfully – have your knees and shoulders covered.
- Zoe in Yellow – definitely a must visit, lots of backpackers, great tunes and good happy hour deals!
- Spicys – wasn’t a major fan of this place but it’s good to go after Zoe in Yellow – all pubs close at 12am! For 100 baht entry fee including a free drink its not bad at all, just quite small and sweaty!
Hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know if you have any questions.