Kim Visits Thailand
I had not been to Thailand for many years, so I was really looking forward to revisiting it when I had the chance recently.
We flew out from Heathrow with EVA Air and then flew on to Chiang Mai with Bangkok Airways. Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand and the former capital of the kingdom of Lan Na.
Our hotel for the next two nights was the Kantary Hills. The Kantary Hills is a 4* accommodation and all rooms come with a kitchen area, which are really spacious. They have 1 and 2 bedroom suites which are ideal for families or lager groups of friends.
The following morning we did a tour of some of the many temples in the area including Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, set on a mountain top overlooking the city. Thankfully we did not need to make the 5 day walk to reach the temple as there is now a road, but we did need to climb more than 300 steps to reach the top (there is a lift for less able visitors). We had lunch at the Tamarind Village, a small boutique hotel set within the walls of the city. It is in a tranquil and peaceful setting but really close to everything Chiang Mai has to offer, including the night markets. Our evening meal was at the unique Akyra Hotel, an ultra modern hotel which again is in a great location with a lovely rooftop pool and terrace overlooking the city.
Moving on the next day we took the 4 hour drive from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai on the mountain road passing through some beautiful countryside. Along the way we stopped off to visit the White Temple, which many people miss, but is well worth a visit. It is a relatively new temple, being only 20 years old and totally different to any other we had seen - it was as it's name suggests, white and silver. The murals painted on the inside depict current events with depictions of mobile phones, Elvis Presley, and the twin towers attack in New York. We then visited the hill tribes including the Long Neck Tribe, where women have rings coiled around their neck from the age of about 5 years until they are 25 years old or until they marry as they see this tradition as a sign of beauty.
Our Hotel for the next 2 nights was the beautiful Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort. The first thing that came to mind is "WOW". Whilst we were being checked in we were treated to a neck and shoulder massage - what a way to start your stay! This resort is set in vast grasslands with views of both Myanmar & Laos. This hotel is on an all inclusive basis, which also includes an activity per day, either a spa treatment, an elephant experience, a tour of the Golden Triangle, Thai cookery or Thai boxing.
We walked with elephants the following morning, a truly magical experience. We walked with two elephants for approximately an hour through the grassland and at the end you can wash them with hose pipes, which they seemed to really enjoy. There is another younger elephant that comes down to the terrace outside the breakfast room every morning and you can feed her bananas, a great way to start the day. We were then taken on the Golden Triangle Tour, onboard the hotel's executive minibus. This excursion included crossing the border into Myanmar, a picnic lunch in the royal park, followed by a longtail speedboat along the Mekong River with a stop off on an island belonging to Laos.
The following morning we were transferred to Chiang Rai airport for our flight to Bangkok, a journey of approximately 50 minutes. On arrival at Bangkok we were transferred to our hotel, the 4.5* LiT Hotel. This is a very modern hotel located a few hundred metres from MBK, a huge 7 storey shopping centre, ideal for last minute shopping. We also took a cruise on a rice boat along the famous Chao Phraya River passing by the royal palace. In the evening we had time to sample some of Bangkok's lively nightlife.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Thailand and would certainly like to return and sample more of this delightful country and it's wonderful friendly people.