Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chiang Mai Trip

We just returned from a 6D5N Chiang Mai trip last week. This is my third visit to Thailand this year after Krabi and Phuket and this is by far the most educational and interesting trip as far as the kids are concerned, they truly enjoyed the trip.

Based on the reviews on Trip Advisor, we booked the Siripanna Villa Resort for the 5 nights here in Chiang Mai and were very happy with the choice although the location was a bit far from the city. The rooms are spacious and cozy with traditional Thai setting. In fact, they are designed and decorated based on the Lanna style (Chiang Mai was a former capital of the Kingdom of Lanna from 1296 - 1768). Great buffet breakfast and service staff.

Resort's front desk area

Rooms designed in contemporary Lanna style

The setup intertwines specific references to the past with a modern twist

View from the balcony

The signature Siripanna Pool

Designed to symbolise the ancient Mae Ping river in the centre of the lost city of Wiang Kum Kam this is one the most unique aspects of the resort design.

Chiang Mai has a large and famous night bazaar for arts, handicrafts and imported products of all descriptions. The night bazaar sprawls across several city blocks along footpaths, inside buildings and temple grounds, and in open squares. A handicraft and food market opens every Sunday afternoon till late on Rachadamnoen Road, the main street in the historical centre.

After a lazy breakfast, we made a day trip to the Maetaman Elephant Camp.  It is located at Mae Taeng, about 50km from Chiang Mai City. Thai elephant used to be the symbol on the red Thai flag before the current three-coloured flag and Elephant has an important relationship with the Thais.

The day trip includes an Elephant show, Elephant ride, Ox-Cart ride and bamboo rafting along the Rivers. The kids were really impressed with the well-trained elephants.

The elephants taking a shower before the show commenced

The Elephant Show

Can you believe that these were painted by Elephants?

A ride on the bamboo raft

On the way back to the resort, we visited the Long Neck Village. We experienced and understood the different native tribes of Thailand, their dailyhood and their culture. Their lives are definitely not a bed of roses. It is really an eye-opener for the kids to witness their humble living environment and the hardship they are going through.

Story goes.... a long time ago when they were still many tigers alive, they ate people.
Men were given guns and woman were given neck rings so the tiger does not have such an easy time biting their head off.

The padi field in the village

The second day was a long one. We left the resort early and headed for the Golden Triangle where the borders of Thailand, Burma and Laos meet. It was an early morning drive through beautiful scenery, with a stop at the Hot Springs at Maekajan.

This was really relaxing...

... and yummy - Eggs cooked with the hot spring water

Before reaching the Thailand-Myanmar border, we visited the famous white temple - Wat Rong Khun. It is different from any other temples in Thailand, as it is designed in white color with some use of white glass. The white color stands for Lord Buddha’s purity; the white glass stands for Lord Buddha’s wisdom that "shines brightly all over the Earth and the Universe."

This is a great place for photography especially on such a fine sunny day.

We continued our journey and reached the Myanmar border after lunch. The 2 countries were separated by a small river. There was a busy market near the customs building and an interesting sight was the bridge connecting the countries. It is so much shorter than the Singapore-Johor causeway we are familiar with.

The Customs office
The bridge connecting Thailand and Myanmar. Notice the different flags along the bridge.
Chestnut hawker

Upon reaching the Thai side of the Golden Triangle, we took a speed boat ride to view the splendor of mighty Mae Khong River and ended up on an island the other side of the triangle belonging to Laos.

Cobra in Whisky

For the next couple of days, we explored the Chiang Mai city, lazed in the resort pool, tried Thai massage and a few interesting restaurants.

Chiang Mai's China Town is located around "Lao Jo" or "Lao Jow Street" and is one of the busiest shopping areas in the whole of Chiang Mai.

The Warorot Market is the most important single daily market in the whole of Chiang Mai, and is known locally as "Kad Luang" or Royal Market.

We had one of the better meals at Le Grand Lanna at the Mandarin Oriental, well known for their fine Northern Thai cuisine in a calm and beautiful layout and ambience. The dishes were well prepared and among the best interpretations of typical Thai cuisine in Chiang Mai. Be sure to look at the extensive wine menu but be prepared to spend more than at other restaurants in hotels of similar caliber in the area.

Northern Thai combination platter

Grilled pork skewers served with sticky rice

Papaya Salad

Northern Thai Pork curry

Ashley's favorite - Mango with sticky rice

First taste of Thai wine - Monsoon Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Thai dancers performing in the restaurant

We also enjoyed the dining experience in the resort restaurant "Slee Banyan and Slee Luang". The staff were very friendly and few of the dishes that we had were actually not found on the menu but recommended and specially prepared for us.

Grilled Salmon served with spinach and potato puree

Wife loved the lamb rack

Antique House Restaurant - The resort staff recommended this place which was a 10 minute walk from our resort but we felt the food here was at most average. I was more interested in the antique pieces than the dishes served.


  1. Hi,I'll be visiting Chiang Mai next week & your itinery sound fun. Can I find out something from you:

    1) Where did you book the Elephant Camp & the Golden Triangle Trips?

    2) How much does each tour cost?

  2. We booked the trip with a local tour ageny located opposite our hotel. Lady boss Paew is a very friendly lady and offers personalized services. She helped us customized the trip and suggested best value-for-money options. On one of those days that we did not have any tour and were looking around for Thai massage service, her daughter actually offered and drove us to a good massage center in the city! You can check out her website at and send her your requests and schedule. Honest and friendly. Highly recommended.

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