It was my first trip to Northern Thailand and I really kinda fell in love with it. Wished we had spent more days there so we could have covered more towns and cities. For the trip, we covered Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and also a night up in Phu Chee Fah! It was a pretty affordable trip where we spent around $400 each all in including some shopping and many massages done for a 5.5 day trip!
We put up at a B&B place called Plern Plern Bed & Bike, and the place was super lovely. It had a rather minimalist and industrial design to it, plus you get to ride the bicycles for free. However, getting a songthaew (the red truck taxi) can be a little tough here because it is a little more out of the way (although still very near) so you might be charged a little higher for your ride.
However, the best thing we've discovered almost all trip is this The Sun thai milk tea stall located at the road junction outside of the B&B place. LOL IT IS SO GOOD I had to have it almost every time I walked past the stall...
We randomly hopped into some eatery because we were starving and surprisingly, this meal was the cheapest and one of the best that trip. Pretty sure the fact that we were starving contributed to this... or maybe not.
Doi Suthep (Golden Temple)
We took a trip up to Doi Suthep for the evening and were in awe with the interior of the temple.
Also made a pit stop halfway down the hill for this panoramic view of Chiang Mai city.
Saturday Night Market & Sunday Night Market
Personally, I preferred Sunday night market over Saturday night market although it was smaller in scale. Saturday Night Market was simply waaaaay too crowded and it was really stuffy and humid. I don't think I'm meant for the crowded places. My mood just turns terrible when stuck in a crowded and hot place. Also, both markets sell roughly the same things at the same prices. It was just a matter of how many vendors were there selling the same thing.
Just one of the nights, we decided to try out their mookata buffet that costs only about $7sgd? Instead of having their hot plate and steamboat combined like the mookata we are familiar with, it is separated here at this restaurant. My fav part of that meal was actually playing with the ice kachang machine LOL
We got a day driver for one of our days there so we got her to drive us to Mon Cham (& Huay Tung Tao lake)! Our driver was pleasantly surprised at our (mainly H cos he planned hehe) choice of destination because she said Mon Cham is a local tourist place. True enough, we barely met any non locals there.
Tea break with a view~
July is an off peak season actually, so we met with a relatively manageable crowd.
Huay Tung Tao Lake
Huay Tung Tao Lake was also one of our stops and it was really beautiful. Straw huts and restaurants occupied a section of the lake and this would have made such a great afternoon break. We reached a little too late and the vendors were preparing to close, though. Hence we just strolled around the area!
Chiang Rai & Phu Chee Fah
For the remaining of our trip, we spent it at Chiang Rai and Phu Chee Fah. Tbh, I can no longer remember which one came first anymore! I'll just document according to memory :)
Bus ride from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai takes around 3 hours on the green bus and you'd get a nice comfortable seat. Bottled water will also be given and also a light snack :)
To get to Phu Chee Fah, you have to take a bus from Chiang Rai to Thoeng (1 hour+ bus ride, might have to stand all the way due to crowding), and then get a songthaew driver to fetch you up the mountain! Tbh we spent most of our money this trip on transport, since we kinda have to pay for the "empty seats" the songthaew "loses" out in earning by fetching just the 2 of us. Our driver was quite nice and actually fetched us to and fro Phu Chee Fah and Thoeng town itself which saves us the hassle and worry of transport problems hehe.
It was off peak season for Phu Chee Fah so it really felt like we have the entire place to ourselves!!! It's a really perfect place for a retreat and it is really cooling since it is up in the mountain and bordering Thailand and Laos.
We actually rented this entire place for just $27 a night. A very humble and no frills house, but it boasts DIRECT view of the sunset!!!
We just lied on the bed and watched the sun set and the sky slowly turning dark. What an amazing thing to experience with your lover omg. I would totally come back here if I have the chance again despite the inconvenience.
We had planned to hike up the Phu Chee Fah cliff in the morning to catch sunrise but I was feeling unwell so we gave that a miss :/ Still feeling a bit guilty because that was kinda the whole reason why we came up to Phu Chee Fah in the first place lol. But well, we were rewarded with a great retreat from everything else, coupled with great company, nice scenery and fresh air!
Chiang Rai is quite similar to Chiang Mai, except that it is alot less crowded and everything was a little more laid back, the stuff (food, shopping) were also occasionally cheaper.
We stayed at Na-Rak-O Resort, which was a very humble B&B place that was clean and rather spacious. There was another B&B place called Grandma Kiaw next to it and both places are located conveniently near the night market and the bus terminal. (within walking distance)
One of the most majestic and magnificent buildings I've ever seen with my own eyes to date. It is really so beautiful and IT SHINES right into your eyes. :O Seriously wonder how the temple is able to stay SO WHITE despite rain and dust and everything else?
I'm truly in awe.
Felt that this was a highlight of the trip too because we loved how we could shop freely and with a lot of walking space here. LOL totally unlike the crazy crowd in Chiang Mai! We could take our time to slowly browse through stuff and make price comparisons, walk a few rounds before deciding whether to get the same item. The food market here also serves super delicious food at very affordable prices.
The best "dish" that night was hands down this 35 baht ICE CREAM!!! 3 scoops of ice cream (coconut and mango) and with fresh mango slices, I totally want this like NOW again. There was a long queue for this but it is really worth every bit of that wait. I miss this the most.
Guess I am more or less done documenting this trip! These were the key places and highlights of the trip made earlier this year in July and pardon the slight incoherence in writing. & hope you enjoyed this little piece of sharing! hehe more travelogues to come!:)