I stayed in D-Well Hostel for 3 nights. Priced at approximately £9.00 a night, including a basic breakfast, the hostel was a great find for my first time in a hostel.
The rooms were really clean and I liked that I had my own curtain around my bed, my own light and my own plug socket. I also got a spacious locker for my belongings, which was secured with a padlock. The bathrooms were also very clean.
The location was great too; it wasn’t too far from the night markets and Tha Phae Gate.
Apart from Elephant Nature Park, which was an organised volunteering experience so I knew I would be with like-minded travellers, Chiang Mai was my first stop where I was completely solo. Before I left the U.K. I’d done quite a bit of research into the best hostels in Chiang Mai, and D-Well Hostel came up numerous times which lead me to book it. My main concern about travelling solo was meeting people, but I didn’t have to worry! As soon as I arrived at D-Well Hostel I was approached by a couple of guys asking if I wanted to head out for some lunch with them. I have Connor, a scouse lad, to thank for introducing me to 30 baht 711 cheese and ham toasties! These became a saviour throughout the rest of my trip; I’d eat them for breakfast, after a night out on the way home and whenever I had a chance to!
After lunch, Connor asked me if I wanted to join him and a couple of other people to visit Mae Sa Waterfall. I 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 10 waterfalls up in the mountains of San Doi Daen.
We managed to find one waterfall that had no-one else there, so that’s where we spent the rest of the morning.
After spending a couple of hours here, we got the red songthaew back into the city and had Khao Soi curry for lunch.
In the evening I met up for dinner with the two girls that I’d met at Elephant Nature Park, Natalie and Laurel. We headed to the night markets for some souvenir shopping before ending up at my favourite spot in Chiang Mai – Ploen Ruedee Night Market – where we had some drinks and listened to the live music.
The next day was probably one of my best days in Thailand. One of the girls in my dorm, who was also on my one week’s volunteering project at Elephant Nature Park, had mentioned that she wanted to visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. I also wanted to visit this, so we went together.
We walked through Tha Phae Gate and along to the Vocational Training Center of Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution for a massage. We arrived early as you cannot book in advance, and we paid 200 baht for a 1 hour full body traditional Thai massage. The massages are carried out by female inmates participating in the prison’s job-training rehabilitation programme.
After the massage, we caught a red songthaew to Doi Suthep and climbed 300 steps of the intricately carved mythical Naga Serpent Staircase which leads to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.
When we got to the top, we were greeted with a stunning golden spire which decorates the centre of the mountain top temple. Entry was 30 baht each, and you need to dress modestly to visit.
We spent an hour looking around and we both got blessed by a monk.
There was too much haze to see anything from the viewpoint which was a shame.
Once we’d finished at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, we got a red songthaew back towards the city, stopping off at Catmosphere Cat Café. This is a must-visit place if you love cats as much as I do! We spent the afternoon eating delicious brownies and playing with the gorgeous cats!
I spent my last evening in Chiang Mai visiting the night markets, again, and Ploen Ruedee Night Market before heading off to Pai the next morning.
Up next: Pai