WOW! We landed in Chiang Mai and instantly fell in love with this mountain town. It was such a nice change of pace from busy Bangkok. The weather was cooler and there was a bit of a breeze. Chiang Mai is full of ancient history, delicious food and beautiful scenery. We knew there were so many things we wanted to do and see in this wonderful city so we started exploring right away.
We started our trip with a visit to Wat Suan Dok, a temple where ashes of former Kings of Chiang Mai and the Royal Family are kept.
The next temple we visited was called Wat Phrathat on Doi Suthep Mountain, which was founded in 1383 A.D. A road was built in 1935 to the top but many people still choose to continue to climb the 309 steps to the top. Once you arrive at the temple, you can see a 360 degree view of the entire city and explore the beautiful temple.
The next day we decided to take a bicycle tour of the southern part of Chiang Mai. We biked 25km (around 15.5 miles) through plantations, rural local neighborhoods, temples and the McKean rehabilitation Center.
We biked along the Ping River and ended up at the McKean Rehabilitation Center, which houses a former leper colony. The main road is lined with identical houses that used to be filled with people who had Lepersy from all over Thailand. Now only 16 eople reside in these houses. The people that live there were cured from lepersy but their families are still too scared of the disease to allow them to go back home to their families. We met one woman who has lived in the community for over 50 years and her family still refuses to interact with her due to the fear of contracting the disease, even though it is not possible. The last known case of Lepersy in Thailand was diagnosed around 20 years ago but was cured in a few months. The community members have access to free treatment and health care as long as they live there. The government also feeds them three times a day. To learn more about the McKean Rehabilitation Center you can visit click here.
We continued to bike and visited a local temple and fed the fish, which the monks told us was good luck.
We biked through plantations, a fish farm and rice fields.
We loved every second of the bike tour and would highly recommend taking one in Chiang Mai.
We both LOVE cooking; well I love to cook, he loves to eat…so it was only natural that we took a cooking class in Chiang Mai! We decided to take a class at a family owned and operated cooking school by the name of Baan Hongnual Cookery School and had a blast! We started our class by shopping for our food at a local market, then we headed to the school to make our meal. We made curry, stir fry, soup and coconut bananas for dessert. We made all of our food gluten free.
I will do a blog post soon about tips for getting around Asia and staying gluten free.
We are both animal lovers so we really wanted to see Thai Elephants during our stay. After almost a year of research we chose to visit Patara Elephant Farm and we had a great time! We learned all about how to take care of elephants, feed them, bathe them and make sure they are healthy. I will do a more in depth post about our experience at Patara later because I do believe the topic of elephants deserves it’s own post. Until then, here are a few pictures from our wonderful experience!
We chose to stay at Ratilanna Hotel and Spa and loved every minute of our stay! It is a smaller hotel which was a nice change of pace from the Shangri-la in Bangkok and it was an added bonus that we were upgraded to a suite! During our stay at the Ratilanna, I enjoyed a foot massage and we both enjoyed the best couples massage we have ever had!
We were very pleased with the Ratilanna and would defiantly stay there again. For more information on the Ratilanna Hotel and Spa click here.
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The Traveling Honeymooners