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Visiting Thailand: 3 Days in Chiang Mai

Updated on February 2, 2013

First Day: Warorot Market, Wat Bupparam & Doi Suthep Temple

Upon arriving at the Chiang Mai International Airport, we proceeded to buy a taxi coupon for 50 Baht. Then, we took the designated taxi to our hotel, New Mitrapap Hotel (fare by meter).

After checking in, we decided to explore the nearby Warorot Market which is about 5 minutes away by walking. The market was full of small stalls selling food, snacks, clothes and so on. Definitely worth a visit but be prepared to encounter wet floors and strong-smelling stenches because it is an authentic market.

Next, we walked towards the old city and stopped by a temple, Wat Bupparam. In the temple, there are many statues of animals such as a giraffe, elephant and even Donald Duck! We had no guide with us so we do not know why the temple was designed as such.

Later in the evening, we took a songthaew (red truck which is like a taxi) up to Doi Suthep. It is about 45 minutes from the city and requires you to go up a long and winding road. Upon reaching, we had to climb up about 300 steps to reach the top of Doi Suthep. If it is too hard for you, lifts are available at the side.

Many locals and tourists were at Doi Suthep that day and most were praying to the gods there. In the temple grounds, there were also some performances with the purpose of collecting funds to fund children's education.

On our way down, we stopped at an off the beaten path place. We saw many locals having picnics there and kids jumping into the river for a swim.

At Doi Suthep

Ringing in the Bells of Blessings at Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Ringing in the Bells of Blessings at Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Sunday Night Market in Chiang Mai: A Must-Visit

Back at Chiang Mai, we headed straight to the Sunday Night Market. To our amazement, the market was really huge and it seemed like it never ended. You could just walk on and on and you wouldn't see the last stall. And there were stalls too on the left and right. The stalls sold a variety of goods from food to coconut ice cream to clothes to handicrafts. It was one of the best Asian night markets I've ever visited.

Day 2: Elephant Riding and Orchid Garden

On our second day in Chiang Mai, we took a tour which included the following for 800 Baht per person.

1. Mae Ping Elephant Village

At the village, we first watched an elephant show, which started off with the guides bathing the elephants. Some acts during the show included a musical performance where the elephants played musical instruments such as the harmonica and tambourine and a sports performance where they kicked a football and slam dunked a basketball!

After the show, we proceeded to ride an elephant for about an hour. It was the most uncomfortable ride ever in my life as I couldn't relax while sitting and had to constantly grip the side railings of our seats to prevent myself from sliding down. But it was definitely a unique experience.

2. Ox-cart Riding and Bamboo Rafting

After that torturous ride, we proceeded to another place nearby to ride an ox-cart. Each cart is pulled by 2 huge oxen and to get onto the ox-cart, we had to climb up a short flight of stairs. This time the ride was slightly more comfortable.

Next we had a smoother ride on the Mae Ping river while sitting on bamboo rafts. As water can seep through the bamboo, we sat on short benches placed on the raft. To shield ourshelves from the hot sun, we were also provided hats to wear. As we drifted by, we saw elephants feeding on trees near the bank. Some Lisu tribe members also waded into the waters to sell their handicrafts to us. That was shocking to me indeed as half their bodies were wet after wading in....

3. Tiger Kingdom

Soon, it was time for lunch. We proceeded to the Tiger Kingdom restaurant for lunch. While eating, you can view the tigers from far. To take photos upclose with the tigers, you have to pay extra to enter (which we did not do because we are not that brave!).

Huge Orchids in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Orchids as huge as a hand in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Orchids as huge as a hand in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Beautiful Orchids: The National Flower of Thailand

4. Orchid Garden

Our last stop was the Orchid Garden where there were orchids of different colours and sizes. Not much information on orchids, but there were many beautiful orchid brooches (Silver plating on REAL orchids) on sale there.

And then it was time to head back to Chiang Mai city. Before we ended our day, we visited the Night Bazaar. Unlike the Sunday Night Market, this was a disappointment. Most stalls sold similar items such as T-shirts with quirky signs/quotes.

Day 3: Visiting Borsang Umbrella Village and Exploring Chiang Mai City

On our last day in Chiang Mai, we made a second stop at Warorot Market for some snacks for our train ride to Bangkok later that evening. Then, we took a song thaew to Borsang Umbrella Village. There, we had the opportunity to see how the umbrellas were made. There were also a variety of goods on sale there including beautiful paintings.

After that, we explored the Old City of Chiang Mai on foot. We started off at Wat Phra Singh which was one of the largest temples in the city. It had interesting architecture and beautiful murals inside.

From there, we walked to the Three Kings Monument. It is located nearby the Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural Centre where there are frequent shows. However, we did not have the time to see one so no comments on the shows.

Our last temple stop in Chiang Mai was at Wat Chedi Luang. Besides having huge grounds, this temple is also a great place to visit because of the Monk Chat. Here, you can find out more about Buddhism by talking to the monks in English.

Lastly, we dropped by Tamarind Village Inn to view the interesting exhibition of photos and memorabilia of the tribes before taking the sleeper train to Bangkok, which I have listed as one of my top 5 favourite cities

Our trip to Chiang Mai was definitely interesting. We took many more pictures. There are many more places to explore including Doi Inthanon but I shall leave that for my next visit!

Have you visited Chiang Mai yet?

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    • lilian_sg profile image

      lilian_sg 5 years ago from Singapore

      Yeah..I was a little afraid of sitting on an elephant at first! I'm glad I decided to get on in the end =)

    • cherriquinn profile image

      cherriquinn 5 years ago from UK. England. Newcastle upon Tyne

      I visited Thailand in 1998. What a fantastic country and people!! I also did the elephant trek in Chiang Mai although very reluctant at first. I was soon educated on the fact that the keepers slept and worked very closely with the elephants. The elephants were not kept in captivity and had formed very close bonds with their keepers. What an experience!!

    • lilian_sg profile image

      lilian_sg 5 years ago from Singapore

      It is indeed a great place to retire as it is slow paced =) Enjoy Hua Hin!

    • Steve LePoidevin profile image

      Steve LePoidevin 5 years ago from Thailand

      We loved Chiang Mai and the night market. One of my top ten potential retirement destinations. This winter break we are heading to Hua Hin, south of Bangkok, to scout it out as another possibility.

    • lilian_sg profile image

      lilian_sg 7 years ago from Singapore

      You are most welcome Cupid51 =)

    • cupid51 profile image

      cupid51 7 years ago from INDIA

      These are very useful information, thanks for sharing!

    • lilian_sg profile image

      lilian_sg 7 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks hypnodude for your feedback. More pictures are available at

    • hypnodude profile image

      Andrea 7 years ago from Italy

      Very interesting. with some more pictures it would have been even better, nevertheless a very good and interesting hub. Thumbs up. :)

    • lilian_sg profile image

      lilian_sg 7 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks. Will do so when I go back the next time!

    • profile image

      Kevin Butters 7 years ago

      Hi Lilian

      This is a great post, you have visited many of Chiang Mai's finest places, next time you are planning to return, please let me know & I will give you a list of the fantastic places the tour guides don't usually take you!!.

      Best Wishes