A fun thing to do when you travel is check out the buildings and architecture. I'm no architect, I know nothing of the names or significances of the styles, but I do love to admire their uniqueness. And if you can learn some of those tidbits, all the better!
When you travel, notice the architecture of the homes, offices, in markets, official buildings, places of worship, schools.. Just try to check it all out! See how different (or similar) it is to where you live. Note how modern or ancient, how plain or intricate, how lavish or simply sufficient it is. It's great fun!
Here's a little slideshow of some Thai Architecture:
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A Popular Souvenir
A hugely popular thing to do in Thailand is have custom clothing made. Tailors are densely populated in the big cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai leaving you with a lot of homework to do in advance to pick a good one or if you aren't picky, the convenience of them being everywhere.
My husband had planned to get a suit in Chiang Mai and had researched topped reviewed tailors before our arrival. The top tailors were so busy that many times we were not even acknowledged when we entered and even when we stood around for 10 minutes or more. Totally understandable that they were swamped. With so many other options, we decided why not spread it around a little, right?! I'm glad we did.
Our Choice & Perks of Bespoke Clothing
Don't Be Afraid Of The Street Massages!
In Chiang Mai you will see massage opportunities EVERYWHERE! They range from a chair on the sidewalk to upscale spas. Don't feel like you have to break the bank or spend a whole day at a spa to enjoy a massage while you're here. In fact, almost anyone could squeeze a massage in during their day,
This massage cost only about $3 USD for a 30 minute foot and leg massage. For $3 you could also enjoy a back and shoulder massage for 30 minutes. Of course there were longer and more pricey packages, but we didn't have time and didn't want to commit to one place. So many places to go and masseuses to try!?!
Don't be mislead when you see these Thai ladies-- they are STRONG! I legit got a bruise on my one leg from one of these ladies- haha!! But I'm telling you my legs felt so good after that!! Also, feel free to tell them if they are being too strong for your taste. I just wanted to power through at full strength.
With street food all around, it's easy to grab a bite and get a foot massage. You may also want to do some studying or browsing on your phone or tablet. But ideally, if you can spare the half hour without multitasking: Just relax and enjoy!
Shady Massage Places To Avoid
If Shoes, No Service
Here in the US, at times you see a sign that says "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service" meaning that you need to be fully dressed to enter the establishment.
But here in Thailand, that's not always the case. ;)
At this restaurant located in the Old City, Cooking Love, shoes are not permitted. So leave them at the door and come on in for a meal!
Cooking schools and classes are an awesome activity to add to your travels. It's a fun way to connect with the people you are traveling with and you will undoubtedly meet some characters at the other chopping blocks.
These classes enable you to learn about the food culture of the place you are visiting, see and use local ingredients, and go home with a super-full belly! And the best part is... you don't have to do the dishes!!!! (hopefully ;) )
These classes can range from fancy schools with upscale kitchen setups to right in a local's home kitchen.
Chiang Mai has a ton of options for cooking classes and we decided to go with Thai Farm Cooking School.
What You Can Cook
If you want a great location, the Duangtawan Hotel may be for you!
It is primely positioned to be in the center of the action - Chiang Mai's Night Bazaar. This is a hugely famous shopping area of Chiang Mai and really all of Thailand and it's not to be missed.
Getting There From The Airport
The hotel has a shuttle service you can request or you can get a taxi. I would recommend a taxi - cheaper!
Duangtawan Hotel has different rooms and rates and it seems that a lot of this has to do with what floor you are on. We chose a room on the 20th floor. It had an amazing view. (see photo above). The curtains just kept pulling back and back and the window was immense and glorious. There was a desk by the window - what a great backdrop to get some work done or make some FaceTime calls back home.
Our room had a large bed, two nightstands, a small round table and chairs, a TV stand/drawers/refrigerator, a vanity with two drawers, a comfy bench seat, another bench, a closet with hanging room and place to leave your luggage as well as a safe. The bathroom was equipped with a glass stand up shower as well as a soaking tub, hair dryer, and some toiletries.
I really enjoyed the style in our room as it has some lovely Lisu fabric accents. Very cool!
Feeling like a VIP in the Horizon Lounge
While there are a number of options for traveling longer distances in Thailand, when we went up to Chiang Mai we opted to fly on Thai Airways. It's true that there were some nominally cheaper flights on other airlines, and there is always the sleeper train, but to be honest... I just wasn't feeling that this time.
What Does It Cost?
The flight between Bangkok and Chiang Mai is just over an hour and we booked "early saver" seats at 1320 baht per passenger including taxes. That's about $35 USD. Not too shabby!
There's Free Food?!