As you read this we will have already started our overloaded 3 day Hong Kong itinerary. But, travel continues after Hong Kong. There will be a short two hour flight to Chiang Mai, Thailand. And I didn't fail to make an extensive plan for that trip either. The compulsive over planner in me led to creating a 6 day Chiang Mai itinerary. Though travels to Chiang Mai will last 13 days, I only planned six. See, I can be spontaneous.
Day one of the Chiang Mai itinerary quickly starts with the Segway Gibbon tour. Though I have already been segwaying through the streets of Barcelona, it is a great way to get your bearings on a city, without forming blisters on your tootsies, especially on the first day.
We will be noshing on Khoa Soi, a soup-like dish topped with deep-fried crispy egg noodles. It is a Northern Thailand tradition that can not be missed.
photo credit | Ginger & Kafe
Walking off the lunch calories with take place at the Warorot Day Market and the Lam Yai Flower Market. I am not sure if it is such a good idea to walk through a bustling market filled with food after eating lunch. Though, the flower market is a good idea. Who can resist colorful, fresh florals?
photo credit | oliverlaumann
After stopping to smell the flowers we will walk across Nawart Bridge and take the Mae Ping River cruise. This boat trip will take us on a scenic adventure along the river to a farmers house to learn about the cultivation of Jasmine rice.
Then it is off to the Night Bazaar to explore another Chiang Mai market and watch the free Thai boxing show which happens every Friday night.
Hopefully, there will be some check marks made off the Bucket List of Edible Bugs at this market.
photo credit | avlxyz
After a wild bug night at the Night Bazaar, which is probably tame compared to what any twenty-one year olds evening would be, coffee first thing in the morning will be a necessity. And Ristr8to will fit the bill, mostly because of their amazing coffee art. The things these people can do with a little bit of foam and a shot of espresso is impressive.
We are awake by now and ready to stroll down the classy Nimmanhaemin Road. The Rodeo Drive of Chiang Mai. This street boasts trendy cafes, fashionable boutiques and & the hottest night spots.
At the end of the road we will stop at the stunning Wat Suan Dok Temple, not only for a quick tour, but to actually have lunch at the Temple, at Pun Pun, an organic Thai restaurant.
photo credit | autan
We will catch a taxi from here to head to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, said to be one of the holiest temples in Chiang Mai. But, to get to this holiness you must climb 300 stairs, 163 less than climb to the top of the Duomo in Florence and just 32 more than the steps to Big Buddha in Hong Kong where we just came from.
After all the walking…and climbing…a relaxing, traditional Khantoke Dinner will be welcome.
First thing on the morning of day 3 of the Chiang Mai itinerary we will be taking a cooking class at Thai Orchid Cookery. Skipping breakfast this morning is a must as we will be creating, and eating, six traditional Thai dishes. I am most looking forward to learning how to make the Som Tum papaya salad, one of my favorite meals in America.
photo credit | wEnDaLicious
After a quick food coma nap, it will be time for the not-to-be-missed Sunday Night Market. This market has it all, artisan jewelry, traditional street food, creative art and bustling crowds.
photo credit | fortes
Day four is all about the Elephants. And I am pee-my-pants excited. We are headed to the Elephant Nature Park to volunteer at this elephant rescue and rehabilitation center. The day will be spent learning, feeding and bathing these beauties.
photo credit | christian haugen
After being knee deep in muddy water, it is time to wash off the stink and head to a fancy dinner at Le Grand Lanna at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. This meal will be overly pricey, by Thai…and American…standards, but it is gonna be good.
photo credit | mandarin oriental
In the morning we will head a few miles from the old Chiang Mai city center to the Bo Sang Handicraft Centre where artisans hand make Sa Paper umbrellas and parasols. Here we will learn the exquisite technique and possibly take one home as a souvenir too.
photo credit | marshall segal
From here it's all about getting foot massages at Chiang Mai's Womens Correctional Institute where inmates give massages as part of a vocational training program. There is almost always a wait, so we will enjoy lunch at their cafe while passing the time.
When we are feeling uber relaxed it will be time to do a self guided Wat (temple) tour. Though on day two of the Chiang Mai itinerary we got some of the biggies out of the way, there are several more that still need exploring.
photo credit | str1ke
The evening will be spent eating (and drinking) outdoors at Dash Restaurant.
Day six of the Chiang Mai itinerary will be an all day event, a three hour (each way) trip to Chiang Rai to see Wat Rong Khun, the White Temple. This Buddhist Temple is done in a contemporary style and said to be the most beautiful in Thailand.
photo credit | pipej