Taylor and I are trying to explore as much of Thailand while we are living here. That said, I am not going to write a blog post about every single weekend vacation because, well, I have a life. But here are some amazing places we have experienced while living in Thailand. I’ll keep these mini trips updated every few months and feel free to reach out with questions about any of these destinations!
Taylor and I spent two nights in Chiang Rai. I went six years ago on a day tour to the White Temple, but it was so much better this time. As it’s low season, it was very relaxed and not very touristy. We stayed at an AIRBNB just about a ten minute walk from the center. It was likely my favorite place I have stayed through AIRBNB and I highly recommend the host who offers free breakfast, motorbike rentals, and a nice and quiet place with only three rental rooms. It was only $13 per night! Also, eat at Heaven Burger if you need some non-Thai food. IT WAS AMAZING.
On Friday we explored the White Temple and Blue Temple. They were both absolutely beautiful and unique compared to other Buddhist temples I have visited. If you visit the White Temple, you will see that it’s a bit eerie as there are some creepy hands peeking up below the surface. I quickly Googled it and learned that it symbolizes the greed of the world. As you walk through, everything becomes more serene and beautiful and you leave the greed behind. It was amazing.
That evening we went to the Night Bazaar and listened to live music. Compared to Chiang Mai, it was quite eye-opening. It was very Thai and very local as to where the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is much more touristy. It was fun to watch the performers and see little Thai kids dancing in the audience. There’s tons of food and drinks for very affordable prices.
Saturday was likely one of my favorite days in Thailand. Taylor and I rented a motorbike from our guesthouse (200 baht) and went up north into the mountains. An hour and half drive away is Tea 101 Plantation which is a lush tea field in the hills. It smells and looks amazing, we did a taste-testing, and we walked through the fields for a bit. Luckily we dodged the rain. We were the only tourists on site and it seemed that we were very much in the middle of nowhere. Also, ginseng tea is the best. If you can rent a motorbike and make it here, it’s 100% worth the drive.
It was fun spending some time in Chiang Rai where it’s a little bit quieter than Chiang Mai. The bus ride is just a few hundred baht and three hours from Chiang Mai. Anyone who has some time to spare needs to head up that way.
In mid August Taylor and I went to Pai for a three day weekend. We took a mini bus for $25 round trip for the two of us from Chiang Mai. We left on a Friday night which was not the best since there was bad traffic. It took us about 4 hours to get there. The roads are pretty windy but it wasn’t too bad.
As soon as we stepped off the bus it was culture shock. Backpacker hippies, street lasagna, avocados, and dreads everywhere. The only Thai people were the vendors. However, it was a really cute little downtown walking street area and very lively. We crossed the river to drop off our bags at Canary Guest House which was a nice little hop away from the main town but only a five minute walk. It was quiet and only cost 1000 baht for three nights.
We spent the days at hot springs, motorbiking through the mountains, visiting the big Buddha, and going to waterfalls. It was beautiful. Pai is a really fun weekend trip which is also very accessible from Chiang Mai.
For Taylor’s 29th birthday we flew down to Krabi. It was also the same weekend as Buddha day so we didn’t realize we couldn’t buy alcohol for two days. OH WELL. But we had a four day weekend so flew down on a Friday morning and stayed through Sunday during the end of July.
It was rainy season but it really only rains about an hour or two a day. We got tons of massages, ate good Indian food, and relaxed on the beach during the overcast days.
Taylor spent a day with a private climbing guide at Railay and I walked all over Ao Nang (where we stayed). The following day we did an overpriced tour of the most crowded hot springs I’ve ever seen and the Emerald Pools. Honestly, it was fine, but it was just LOTS of people.
We had a little bungalow on the hill which I 100% don’t recommend as it was overpriced and my AIRBNB host would not stop messaging me. But overall, we had a great time. Ao Nang is really nice and we loved watching the little Thai kiddos picnic with their families and run all over the beach.
Ao Nang Beach
Taylor and I went to Chiang Dao in mid-June to celebrate our two year anniversary. Chiang Dao is about an hour and a half bus ride north of Chiang Mai. Our friends recommended that we spend a weekend here exploring the hot springs, caves, and Cave Bar. We stayed at Nest One which cost us 1000 baht per night. It was amazing. A cute little “resort” nestled into the lush greenery. Unfortunately, we went during the beginning of rainy season so hiking in the national parks was forbidden.
We spent the weekend swimming in the pool, exploring the cave attraction, and walking through the beautiful temple just down the road from our accommodation. When you get to Nest One, the staff give you a map with the attractions on it which makes it very easy to get around.
To get to Chiang Dao we took a 40 baht from a bus station that is just walking distance from our house in Chiang Mai. The bus dropped us off in town. From there we had the folks at the fruit stand call a yellow seongthaew for us so that we could get to our bungalow. This cost us 100 baht each.
Our “resort/cottages” had delicious western food and IPAs. The meal was a bit pricey for us but we went with it as it was just a weekend away. We loved spending the evenings at the Cave Bar about a 500 meter walk down the road. There were plenty of bar games and Buppha was the nicest bar tender!
We will go back to Chiang Dao as soon as we can hike. It’s a really easy weekend getaway from Chiang Mai.