Take a window seat as you fly into Chiang Mai. Jungles cascade across rolling hills and the odd granite peaks tower above fields of green. Rice paddies line low-lying slopes, which are ferociously green for eight months of the year. If you land in Bangkok, it is hard to see much of the smog. Chiang Mai is cut adrift from the bustling city life; it was cut off from the rest of Siam until the 1920s, which means its culture has survived invasions from the Burmese, among others. When you touch down it will seem like you are in a small town, as you will experience a handful of quiet streets nestled beside a shady canopy of trees. Chiang Mai is much larger than it initially seems, however, you will probably only see the interesting old neighborhoods and a tranquil areas along the river.
After a long flight, this is an ideal place to land. You will be greeted at the airport and then transferred to a hotel on the riverbank, which is a five-star retreat that is hidden away from the rest of the population. Check in to the suite and relax. You may also wander to the on-site spa and settle into a one-hour couple’s treatment, which has an array of packages to choose from. Chiang Mai is Thailand’s spa hub, and there is a variety of traditional and contemporary treatments, as well as Thai fusion options. You will continue to relax around the pool and in the suite, perhaps just laying back on the balcony as the river curves before your eyes.
Chiang Mai is considered Thailand’s cultural hub as well. In reality, Bangkok has just as much to see, but other destinations must contest the claim. The attraction in Chiang Mai is how easy it is to experience this culture. It is an old walled city with pedestrianized streets that lead to night markets and ruined temples. This is a city where you will walk through the culture rather than drive to isolated attractions. Such a way of exploration will really help you feel immersed in the Thai culture, from a spiritual history to an enthusiastic way of life that continues to be based on traditions. You will find old Chiang Mai is a beautiful place to get lost while walking hand in hand.
Day 6 - 7