Chiang Mai {2016}

Elephant Nature Park dropped me off at my hostel that I had pre-booked in Chiang Mai. I booked three nights in D-Well Hostel. This was my first hostel that I had ever stayed in. When people use the word ‘hostel’, I always used to think the worst; turning up to a mattress on the floor infested with cockroaches. This hostel was far from it. I had done a lot of research into the best hostels in Chiang Mai and D-Well hostel got mentioned time and time again, and due to the location not being far from the night market and Tha Phae Gate, I booked it for £9.00 per night. I was given a top bunk in a female only dorm. My dorm had 6 beds in it. The rooms were really clean and I liked the idea of having your own curtain around your bed, your own light and your own plug sockets. I also got my own spacious locker which I secured with my own padlock. The bathroom area was also very clean. Toast in the mornings was also available!

My main concern about travelling by myself was meeting people. Was I going to meet people I could do day trips with or travel further with them?! Of course I did. I had only been in D-Well Hostel for a couple of minutes, checking in, when I was approached by a couple of guys asking if I wanted to go get some lunch with them. I have Connor, a scouse lad, to thank for opening my eyes to 30 baht 711 cheese and ham toasties! These became my saviour throughout the rest of my trip in Thailand! I’d eat them for breakfast, I’d eat them after a night out on the way home, I’d eat them whenever I had a chance to!

Connor asked me if I wanted to join him and a couple of other people to visit Mae Sa waterfall. I of course went along and had an amazing day! We jumped in a red songthaew which took us to Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. We paid 100 baht each to enter the national park and hiked to the top of the chain of 10 waterfalls up in the mountains of San Doi Daen.

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Mae Sa Waterfall

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Map of the different waterfalls at Doi Suthep-Pui National Park

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Level 10 – Lan Thay

We managed to find one waterfall that had no-one else there so that’s where we spent the rest of the morning.

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Cooling down in the waterfall

After spending a couple of hours here, we got the red songthaew back into the city to get some lunch. Being back in Chiang Mai meant I could have my favourite curry again – Khao Soi!

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Khao Soi curry

In the evening I met up with the two girls from England who I met at Elephant Nature Park, Laurel and Natalie. We got some dinner, browsed the nightmarkets and ended up my favourite evening spot in Chiang Mai called Ploen Ruedee Night Market.

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At Ploen Ruedee Night Market

The next day was probably one of my favouritest days in Thailand. One of the girls in my dorm, who was actually volunteering at Elephant Nature Park the same week as me, had mentioned that she wanted to visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. I wanted to as well so we both went together.

We walked through Tha Phae Gate and along to the Vocational Training Center of Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution. We arrived early as you cannot book in advance and paid 200 baht for a full body 1 hour traditional Thai massage. The massages are carried out by female inmates participating in the prison’s jon-training rehabilitation programme.

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Tha Phae Gate

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Having a massage by a female prisoner is an experience!

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After the massage, we caught a red songthaew to Doi Suthep and climbed the 300 steps of the intricately carved mythical Naga Serpent Staircase which leads to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.

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In a red songthaew to Doi Suthep

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300 steps to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

When we got to the top, we was greeted by a stunning golden spire which decorates the centre of the mountain top temple. When visiting temples in Thailand, you must remember to be respectful by dressing appropriately and removing footwear.

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We spent an hour or so looking around and even got blessed by a monk!

There was too much haze to be able to see anything from the viewpoint which was a shame!

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The view from the viewpoint

We got the red songthaew back into the city, stopping off at Catmosphere Cat Café! If you love cats as much as I do, you’ll love this place! We literally spent hours here eating brownies and playing with the gorgeous cats!

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Catmosphere Café

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My brownie and chocolate shake!

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Happy kitties!

I then spent my last evening in Chiang Mai visiting the night market and Ploen Ruedee Night Market before heading off to Pai the next morning!

Next stop: Pai