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Clay Owen Studios

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The Red Eye to Chiang Mai

Posted on October 24, 2017 at 8:10 AM

So I have many tips for those traveling to Thailand so let's just start with the most basic. First of all if you sweat a lot in humid places I have something that is really going to save you... baby powder, bring it and use it. Unfortunately with all the walking around you will be doing your thighs are going to rub together and its going to very uncomfortable and painful, have this on to so that you can limit the friction, it will save you. Also just because things are cheaper does not mean you will spend less, in fact it means you will be compelled to do just the opposite. So be careful, get the Units plus app on your phone it is free and it can convert any currency, distance, temp, etc. you will need it to keep track.

Unfortunately there are no beaches in Chiang Mai but you know I asked other travelers here and they said they did not care for the beaches. Very little to do except play in the water and you can only do that for so long. It is also very overrun with drunk Westerns that are kind of obnoxious at times. Phone service. Turn Off that Data! Turn it off, don't make calls. If you have an IPhone and you can connect to Wifi you can text and facebook message from that, you can also call on facebook. Hotels do not generally let you make calls internationally. You can also purchase a SIM card that will allow you to call internationally, we did not go that route so I'm not sure how much it runs. There are so many wonderful places to go in Chiang Mai.

I will tell you about all of them and let you decide. If you like the country side and you like nature it is worth a 30 minute trip out of Chiang Mia to visit the hot springs. It will cost you 100 baht to get it which is roughly $3 American. They have mineral baths which are private baths that you can submerge yourself in which cost a little extra but still are not that expensive. You have access to the smaller hot spring often only waste deep. The hot spring is callled the Sankampaeng Hot Spring. You can not take a tuk tuk there you will need a car to drive you for use. As far as transporation goes most activities like the Zip Lining or Elephant Sanctuary include transportation. Since the hot spring runs more like a State Park you will have to find a ride but your hotel will help you. Everyone in Thailand is super helpful. 

Each section of the hot spring will be marked with the temperature, the ones closest to the gysers are the hottest. There is also a very fun tradition you can be a part of. You can purchase four eggs for 20 bath is a woven grass basket. You set the eggs is the designated hot spring to boil. The signs says 10 minute however it really depends where you place the eggs in the hot spring. We did no think it would be difficult to boil some eggs but after three failed attempts we got to split one fully cooked egg. We were not the only ones, the sign will lie to you haha it does not take ten minutes. However you can leave them and go about enjoying the hot springs. There are many families there and the grassy meadows that surround it are breath taking. Many families are there having picnics, older folks are chatting as they submerge their feet, and after you can get a thirty minute foot massage for 120 baht a person. There is also a very good restaurant on the grounds and a few gift shops. It is really hard not to want to take some of the stray dogs that run around there home, they are very sweet and will definetly let you pet them. This is no the only hot spring in the area, there is another down the road but it is more expensive and is more like a spa. This location is more of a cultural experience as it has many Thai people enjoying the park with their families.

If you are in Chiang Mia and need transportation that best and perhaps scariest way to get around is a Tuk Tuk, its a motor bike with one wheel in front and two wheels in back. It will take you anywhere in the city within reason for 200 baht. This is only if you are comfortable with weaving and bobbing out of traffic, often going into the oncoming traffic line, and getting inches away from other cares and motorbike on all sides. Traffic lines are really just a suggestion and motor bikes make their own rules, they go between cars, ride on the side walk, and often carry small children and adults with little to no road protection. In fact we were told that Thailand is the number one place for organs transplants because of all the motor bike accidents. So that being said enjoy!

Our hotel was so beautiful. It was definetly one of the nicest I have ever stayed at. The hotel itself was just amazing in the inside and they had an bar that was open until 9pm that served the best Mai Tais for $1.50 to $2.00.  They also had awesome food you could order which was really conveient. Every morning we got to enjoy a free breakfast buffet. Its not like the hotel buffets here. You had the choice of fried rice, noodles, cakes, eggs, bacon, free fruit, juice, and coffee. Below is a meal we ordered for dinner. The fruit plate was $8 and the spring rolls $6. It may be much cheaper for food in the night market though. Despite the warnings we never got sick from the night market food. However if someone is selling food served in an old shoe just use your best judgment. 

We could have stayed at a cheaper hotel however at the time I was booking I did not realize what $54 a night was buying with. Plus it was alittle cheaper because Expedia bundled it with our flight. The hotel was called Viang Thapae Resort. They have two beautiful pools and most of the rooms back up right to them. You just have to slide open your patio doors and take a dip!

Haha it really is good fun and if you like a little danger to spice it up than do it. The thing I loved about driving here is that even though you are constantly getting cut off and someone if an inch from touching your back tired, no one yells, no ones beeps ( unless in immediate danger) and everyone is pretty relaxed. Okay so here is the situation on the zoo. If you think you can walk all the way through it you are wrong, especially if you are not used to the humidity. The place is massive. A good thing to know if that the Panda Exhibit, Aquarium, and Zoo as well as the shuttle through the zoo ( which trust me you want) are all priced separately. You can go to the ticket office to get a package deal. We paid 460 baht to get into the zoo, tickets for the shuttle, and the panda exhibit. There was an option for more to add the aquarium on there but we were too cheap. However we helped up going to the aquarium to buy the tickets because we changed our minds and it was about 400 baht so we lost out on some money. The Aquarium does not look like much from the outside but trust me it is worth it, it has a lot of interested fish with full descriptions in English. We have some photos if you want to see the inside, it does not look like much from the outside.

Okay so I went to the spa.. and I thought it would be relaxing. If you are a westerner let me give you a tip.... DO NOT GET A DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE THE FIRST TIME. I remember lying on the bed thinking oh man this is going to be so relaxing I am going to fall asleep. No no these four foot ladies are like hulk Hogan on steroids. They mean business and they will rub tissues you did not even know that you had. Also if you scream out in pain they will say " oh you fine, its good for you". I am one of those very timid people who really has a hard time speaking up but I yelled out a couple of times. At one point I was laying there thinking dear god why did I get the 2.5 hour massage. It was about $75 American ( there are other thai massage places outside the city who will do it for way less but this location is walking distance from most of the hotels. Anyway you have to work up to the massage and tell them to take it easy on you the first time. I marked down a six for pressure on a scale of 1 to 10 for the sheet they gave me before my visit when I should have put a two. At one point this woman climbed on top of me hands and feet basically jumping on me. It was very painful but the next day I had a range of motion that was unbelievable. A little tramatized and sore but still felt so good after a bit. I did walk in for an appointment but they are busy so I recommend making a reservation.

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