Chiang Mai, Thailand

After spending our first few days in Bangkok, we flew to Chiang Mai for the second stop of our five-week Southeast Asia trip. Located in the mountains of Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is a completely different world compared to Bangkok. Within city limits we enjoyed visiting temples and trying different types of street food. Outside of the city we took day trips to zipline through the jungle and play with elephants at an elephant sanctuary.

We first arrived in Chiang Mai on January 30th. In total we spent six days in Chiang Mai, however we chose to make it two 3-day trips with a stop in Pai in-between.

One of the 300 temples in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Exploring the Temples of Chiang Mai

Founded in 1296, Chiang Mai has plenty of history to offer travelers. Home to over 300 temples ( or “wats”), one of the best things to do in the city is to walk the streets stopping at whichever temples catch your eye. Some of our favorite temples were Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, and Wat Buparam.

A golden buddha in Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Restored elephant statues on Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai
Dragon sculptures on Chiang Mai's Wat Chiedi Luang
A statue at Wat Buppharam Temple in Chiang Mai
A statue at Wat Buppharam Temple in Chiang Mai
Donald Duck at Wat Buppharam Temple in Chiang Mai Thailand
A golden buddha in Wat Buppharam in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Wat Buppharam with a bright blue sky in the background
Beautiful sculpture of dragons on a railing at Wat Buppharam in Chiang Mai
Flowers at Wat Buppharam Temple in Chiang Mai
A stray dog sleeping at a temple in Chiang Mai Thailand

The Back Streets of Chiang Mai

One of our favorite things to do in a new city is to walk the streets aimlessly. Rather than look a destination up ahead of time, we wander the streets and get lost. By doing this we usually end up in a part of town we wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

A street in Chiang Mai, Thailand
A large tree on a street in Chiang Mai Thailand
A fruit stand in Chiang Mai selling many types of fresh fruit
A white stray dog in Chiang Mai
A pink Volkswagen van in Chiang Mai Thailand
A street dog in Chiang Mai
Graffiti on a street in Chiang Mai Thailand
The view of Ratchadamnoen Road from the Phae Gate
A decorative elephant statue on a bridge in Chiang Mai

Flight of the Gibbon

During our first stay in Chiang Mai we decided to go ziplining with Flight of the Gibbon, who are located an hour outside of the city. Their course features 18 ziplines including one that is nearly 800km long! There really isn’t a better way to see the jungle than to fly from tree to tree on a zipline!

Kissing on the tandem zipline at Flight of the Gibbon in Chiang Mai
A girl riding a zipline at Flight of the Gibbon in Chiang Mai Thailand
The view from the top of a zip line at Flight of the Gibbon Chiang Mai

Elephant Jungle Paradise Park

We knew we wanted to visit an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, so we decided to book a day trip to Elephant Jungle Paradise Park during our second stay in the city. Not only were we able to play with the elephants on land, but we had the opportunity to give them a mud bath!

Three elephants at Elephant Jungle Paradise Park near Chiang Mai Thailand
Baby elephant taking a mud bath at Elephant Jungle Paradise Park
People bathing with elephants at Elephant Jungle Paradise Park in Chiang Mai
A girl about to be kissed by an elephant trunk at an elephant sanctuary near Chiang Mai Thailand
Bathing with elephants at an elephant sanctuary
Elephants playing in a river near Chiang Mai Thailand

Last Stop Bangkok

Next Stop Pai