Private Tours In Chiang Mai
This will be my first trip to Chiangmai (Thailand) and feedback from friends and family who have been there would almost unanimously say, `It's a nice rustic place. Climate is cooler. Good place to relax as there's nothing much to do there. Definitely not a place for shopping. A short trip will be enough.' It was planned as the first half of a 9-day trip to Thailand in early November 2011 and the second half was for Bangkok. However, due to the floods in Bangkok, the trip has to be changed to Chiangmai for the whole stretch! Again my friends and family asked what I was going to do for such a long stay there since there was nothing much to do. I was tempted to cut short the duration but with my leave and air ticket booked, I just let it be. What should I do with the additional days there? That was the question that plagued me for over a week as I planned the unexpected extension. Much to my surprise, as I read reviews and gathered more information about Chiangmai from various blogs and sites like TripAdvisor and Tourism Thailand, I realized that you need to take a closer look at this rather quiet and un-hyped part of Thailand that is actually a rough cut diamond. I was particularly interested in the Elephant Conservation Camp and the bountiful waterfalls that can be found in Chiangmai and I wanted to visit a school where a friend and his wife had recently started in Chiangmai. Then I wanted to move up north to explore Chiangrai and its surrounds. All these activities would take up at least 4 full days where 3 of it would be physically challenging, so I will include rest days in between to take it easier by exploring the city of Chiangmai and soak in it's culture and atmosphere. Based on what I have read.
Chiangmai city has lots to offer for sightseeing and shopping. There is a large shopping mall near the airport called Central Plaza, a nightly bazaar surrounding the main city, an evening walking street bazaar on Saturdays and Sundays, and a bustling central market during the day called Warorot Market. If I have another day or two to spare, I will add more activities like attend a cooking class when in Chiangmai. With this rough plan in mind, I set out to book the local tours and attractions in Chiangmai and contact my friend for a chance to visit his school and hopefully, have dinner with him and his family. I chose 'Untouched Thailand Day Tours' to arrange a trekking trip to the waterfalls as they had rave reviews from customers who had engaged them and their quotes were fair when compared with other providers. I booked a one-day trip for the waterfall trek via email and will try them out before deciding on booking them for the Chiangrai trip. I have planned this to be the first day trip when I reach Chiangmai so there will be enough time to decide and negotiate on the next trip. I will bring along the information on the other trips they provide as a gauge for itinerary and price quotes. There are many elephant camps in Chiangmai such that the Thailand tourism site had this tip for tourists, 'Many elephant camps do not engage in Elephant-friendly practices. Avoid patronizing camps that exploit Thailand's elephants.' TripAdvisor has rated a few elephant camps highly with mostly good reviews but after reading the specific sites of various elephant parks, I was drawn to Baanchang Elephant Park for it's no frills and straightforward purpose. I booked a day visit to be a mahout (elephant keeper or driver). You can choose to have one to one elephant or share with another person which will in turn share the cost for one elephant. I asked the company what was the difference between two persons sharing one elephant and the one to one option besides the cost reduction. They replied that it would be less comfortable for the two who share the elephant. I decided to share as I was afraid of having one huge elephant to myself and I have never been close to an elephant before. My friend in Chiangmai replied my email to say he was able to accommodate my visit to his school and meet up for dinner too so I am looking forward to it. You might be wondering about why I did not ask my friend about places to visit in Chiangmai. Yes, I did ask him and found that he was so dedicated to his work that he has not been around Chiangmai much to give me enough information other than getting around the city. In my next article.
I will share the about the flight to Chiangmai as the last part of these series of articles on Planning a Short Trip to Thailand. ENJOY YOUR STAY .