Situated at the top of a hill at 1,000 meters above sea level in the mountain mass of Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is one of the most important temples in northern Thailand. From the parking, visitors can reach the hilltop via either a funicular railway or a 306-step naga staircase (we took the funicular up and walked the stairs down). Once up, it’s not only the temple that impresses; the city view of Chiang Mai is magnificent! The original founding of the temple remains a legend but is believed to have been founded in 1383.
Baan Mon Muan is a resort with ten super cozy houses built in traditional Lanna-style situated next to a vegetable farm 1,250 meters up the mountain in Mae Rim just north of Chiang Mai. It’s such a peaceful atmosphere up here with a wonderful staff who will make every effort to fulfill your requests. The mountain view is fantastic and even if you don’t plan to stay here when in Chiang Mai, I recommend coming here to try out their restaurant with high-quality food.
Doi Inthanon National Park two hours southwest of downtown Chiang Mai is part of the Himalayan mountain range with Doi Inthanon as the highest mountain in Thailand peaking at 2,565 meters above sea level. You can drive all the way up to the summit passing several attractions including Wachirathan Waterfall, The Royal Twin Pagodas, and the Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail. We decided to do the trail first when we had the most energy.
In our recent trip to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, meeting a long-neck woman was one of the highlights. This exotic tradition of wearing brass rings to lengthen their necks is pretty fascinating, and something I wanted to see in person. But is it ethical going?
These beautiful people are refugees from Burma (Myanmar) and international organizations such as UNHCR has urged tourists to boycott long-neck villages, describing the women as victims trapped in “human zoos.” But it’s more complex than that. Ignoring these women will leave them in a worse situation as tourists are the only income source. And shouldn’t we ask the women themselves?
My wife and I have been talking about going to Chiang Mai for quite some time and finally made it happen! Located 1,200 km from Krabi down south where my wife is from, Chiang Mai is completely different. With jungle-covered mountains, exotic hill tribes, impressive rivers and waterfalls, stunning temples, and its exciting history as the former capital of Lanna Kingdom (1296–1768) — Chiang Mai is one of the most incredible destinations in Thailand.
Below is a summary of our five-day stay in Chiang Mai and around; I will write more about each part later in separate posts.
Baan Mon Muan Resort up the mountain
There are major differences between northern and southern Thailand — almost like two different countries. Despite the fact that most tourists travel to southern Thailand, it’s said that Chiang Mai in the north is Thailand’s most beautiful city. So, what are the differences?
The food in northern Thailand is different from the south that we as foreigners are most familiar with. In the north of Thailand, the traditional food is milder, salty and sour, but rarely sweet. Some famous dishes in northern are Nam Prik Ong / Nam Prik Noom, Northern-style curries and Sai ua sausage (also known as ‘Chiang Mai Sausage’). This tasty, spiced pork sausage is found everywhere in northern Thailand. Food in the old days was traditionally eaten at a small table called khantoke.
Northern Thai food on a khantoke table.