Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai, Thailand

My son Nevan and I embarked on a remarkable father-son trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was a special journey before he moved overseas, filled with unforgettable experiences, from exploring stunning temples to indulging in vibrant local culture and cuisine.

Day 1: Discovering the Heart of Chiang Mai

Our adventure began with a leisurely stroll around the center of Chiang Mai. The city’s old town, surrounded by a moat and remnants of ancient walls, is a charming blend of traditional and modern. We wandered through bustling markets and quaint streets, soaking in the local atmosphere and admiring the intricate architecture of temples and old buildings.

Shopping in Chiang Mai is an experience in itself. The vibrant Night Bazaar and Sunday Walking Street were perfect spots to find unique souvenirs, handcrafted goods, and local art. We enjoyed haggling with friendly vendors and discovering treasures to take home.

To unwind from our explorations, we indulged in a traditional Thai massage. The skilled therapists worked wonders on our tired muscles, leaving us feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. For a quirky twist, we also tried a fish foot massage. It was an amusing and ticklish experience as tiny fish nibbled at our feet, leaving them smooth and refreshed.

Day 2: Scenic Rides and Sacred Temples

Our next adventure took us on a scooter ride up the winding roads of Doi Suthep to the stunning Wat Phra That Temple. The journey itself was exhilarating, with breathtaking views over Chiang Mai and the surrounding mountains. It only took ten minutes for us to get booked by the police on our scooters, but as Nev aptly put it, “We’ve pretty much got a free pass now.”

Wat Phra That Temple, founded in 1383, is a magnificent Buddhist temple abundant with gold and bustling with tourists. The Naga stairs leading up to the temple are an iconic feature, and the temple’s rich history and spiritual significance added to the awe-inspiring experience. However, it was disheartening to witness the unequal treatment of women at the temple, highlighting ongoing issues within religious practices.

Chiang Mai’s local coffee culture is vibrant and inviting. We made a memorable stop at Hug Him Doi Coffee Shop on our way up to Wat Phra That Temple. On another occasion, a solid coffee served from a Combi van was a treat, and the atmosphere was warm and welcoming.

Exploring the old town parts of Chiang Mai was another highlight. We wandered through narrow streets, discovering hidden gems and enjoying random stops for Phad Thai and Chang beer. The laid-back vibe of the city and the friendliness of the locals made it a delightful experience.

Day 3: Muay Thai Night

As a longtime fan of martial arts, attending a Muay Thai fight at Thai Boxing Chiang Mai was a dream come true. Having watched “Kickboxer” a thousand times as a kid, I was eager to witness the real deal. The energy and intensity of the matches were thrilling, and though there were no resin-covered shards of glass on fists, it was an unforgettable night that lived up to my childhood dreams.

Day 4: English Pub Night

Our final evening in Chiang Mai was spent at the Red Lion English Pub and Restaurant, a cozy spot that perfectly blends traditional English charm with Thai hospitality. Located in the heart of the city, the pub is known for its welcoming atmosphere and a fantastic selection of beers.

That night, the pub was buzzing with excitement as fans gathered to watch an English Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham. The place was filled with English expats and tourists, all passionately supporting their teams. Nev and I, staunch Arsenal supporters on behalf of Nevan’s younger brother Liam, found ourselves in the midst of lively banter, especially with a table of enthusiastic Hotspur fans.

The energy in the pub was electric, and the English patrons were amused and surprised to see two Australians so deeply invested in an Arsenal win. The camaraderie and playful exchanges made the night even more enjoyable. The pubโ€™s authentic British decor, complete with vintage football memorabilia, added to the immersive experience.

Reflections and Farewell

Our trip to Chiang Mai was more than just a vacation; it was a bonding experience that brought us closer together. From exploring the city center to the exhilarating scooter rides, from the sacred temples to the vibrant local culture, every moment was filled with wonder and joy. We next embark on a three day hike up into the Hill Tribes in Northern Thailand, in what will surely be another unforgettable experience.

If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, I highly recommend exploring Chiang Mai. Its rich cultural heritage, stunning natural beauty, and vibrant local culture make it a destination that offers something truly special for every traveler.

Mike250

Australian. Sport. Passionate Cricket Fan. Go Pro. Abseiling. Snorkeling. Travel. Golf R. SQL Server Developer. Three sons. One daughter. Last Trip: New York.

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