It you’re considering a crazy getaway to the other side of world, Thailand is a great place for an adventure. Thai people in general are friendly, especially in tourist areas. They speak what I call “tourist English,” enough to converse and communicate and sell their wares to interested foreigners. Because the Thai Baht is so low against the dollar, Americans can ride elephants, hold white tigers, eat fabulous food and purchase a whole suitcase of souvenirs very reasonably.
Lots of Expats live in Chiang Mai so you will see and hear lots of English-speaking people. Houses are inexpensive to rent or purchase, thus Thailand is a popular place for retirees.
Getting Around –
We don’t often use a touring company, but in Chiang Mai if you are attending a conference, Southeast Asia Marketing (SAM) samassist.com is wonderful and affordable. They will give your group a host of options, times, transportation and reduced prices depending on how many are going in your party. Chiang Mai is a tourist town that holds lots of conventions. SAM is perfect for helping everyone find something fun to do.
If you are traveling on your own, many hotels offer tour company suggestions or do what Roger and I do, hop in a Tuk Tuk or Red Truck and have them drop you off at whatever fun destination looks like something you would like.
3 Places to Go
Elephants and Thailand go hand in hand. Elephants are considered good luck so you will see them on everything from pottery to pants. Riding an elephant is a fantastic once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not only can you ride one, you will learn all about their behavior and watch them play soccer, paint and “answer” questions.
On the main street at night from 6:00 p.m. on you will find hundreds of stalls and small shops selling really inexpensive clothes, jewelry, wall hangs, carvings, t-shirts and basically, all the crafts of Thailand. Everyone haggles and barters. Long Thai pants for gals or guys can be purchased for around $3.00. You’ll see people wearing these everywhere. There are loose and comfy, colorful and a great addition to a traveler’s wardrobe. They also make great gifts for family and friends back home. Thailand is known for great shopping. Take advantage of it. At the night markets there are areas where you can get a full body hour massage for around $4.50. You can also have small fish eat the calluses off your feet. It’s a crazy atmosphere, but really fun. Cash only at the markets.
Arts in Paradise
A great break from all the shopping and sightseeing. Take a couple of hours, a couple of friends, a camera and around $10 apiece. This museum is full of paintings in which you can actually be a part. Pose fighting a tiger, swimming underwater, falling off a cliff or splashing in the Trevi Fountain of Rome. Get a little crazy, get in the shot and make some awesome memories. So fun! Facebook friends will love your escapades.
Zip line with 20 line ride, Tiger Kingdom , Night Safari
3 Places to Eat
An expat hangout with super Mexican food, some of the best outside of the U.S. It can be a bit spicy because Mexican food always takes on the flavor of the country serving the food. This is yummy. Inexpensive.
A steakhouse, burger spot with loads of expats, a bar and really good food. Close to the Night Bazaar, McDonald’s and Haagen Daz
Butter is Better
1 Place to Stay
The rooms, the food and the service make the Empress a great place to stay. Buying a meal plan along with your room takes the stress out of looking for restaurants 3 meals a day. You can eat from a large breakfast buffet, Thai rice and noodle dishes for lunch and delicious Thai entrees for dinner. The Empress serves fresh fruits and veggies, some so unusual, you’ve never tried em. Thai food is traditionally hot, but you will quickly figure out what works for you. I enjoyed chicken dishes, pad Thai and lots of fruit. The Empress has a coffee bar as well. It kept me going through the jet lag. Close to the convention center.
Up for a completely different cultural experience? Chiang Mai, Thailand is for you!