The amazing beauty of Northern Thailand: a country to fall in love with
Updated: May 20, 2022
Thailand is an amazing country. We visited the North, Bangkok, Kanchananburi and the South. We had the opportunity to do this trip together with local friends which made it even more special and authentic. A trip to never forget!
This first blogpost will cover the best places and things to see in the North of Thailand.
How to get there
As most people will be arriving in Bangkok, you have a few options to go to Chiangmai.
- The night train from BKK -> Chiang Mai (takes about 11 hrs/ cheap, but make sure to take first class): bookings
- Flight from BKK -> Chiang Mai (takes about 1h./ very cheap with Airasia)
- Car (hired) but then you will need to make a few stops, pass Ayutthaya and Sukhothai (takes 10 hrs. without stops)
As I like to experience all kinds of public transport in a country, we decided to take the night train
Pro’s and con’s:
- it’s an easy way to get to the North (when booking a first-class coupe) you will arrive early in the morning after a good sleep.
- You don’t need to pay a hotel night
- On board you have a toilet/shower and your bed is made up by the train staff
- When traveling as a family you have the option of taking two coupes that are connected
- The train stops a lot, also during the night
- As it is being dark at 6.30 pm you don’t see much of the landscape outside
- There was no food available on the train, so you need to buy it before getting on
- Although in first class, sleeping isn’t very comfortable
It’s best to book a car hire or a private driver to get around in the North. Chiang Mai has a lot of temples to visit, and they are not all close to each other.
Visited in the North:Chiang Mai – Doi Suthep – Chiang Dao – Pai – Doi Inthanon
In Chiang Mai you need at least 5 days to get around. If you can include a weekend, so you can visit the Weekend Night Market.
We stayed in Chiang Mai at Lamphu House and I would absolutely recommend it. This budget friendly hotel was very close to the city center and the airport. Very clean rooms, industrial design, nice swimming pool and great breakfast. About 25 USD/ night/room breakfast included. The only thing that was less is that the hotel has no elevator. (we stayed at the 2nd floor)
Fun things to do:
- Visit the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary . We did a lot of research to find an ethical and Ecological sanctuary where the elephants are well-treated. This elephant sanctuary convinced us because of the good work they have done to create a positive change in the perception of elephants. (no poaching, riding, overworking or abusing) We did the morning tour and had a lot of fun feeding, bathing and washing the elephants there. Pick-up from your hotel in Chiang Mai is included in the price and you get a well-cooked Thai lunch.
To read more about how to choose an ethical elephant sanctuary and the elephants in Thailand, take a look at this article from my dear friend Jenny Wren.