Chiang Mai reflects so many preconceptions often thought about Thailand. The city sits serenely beneath a mountain, deep in the north of the country. Crumpled city walls still stand, enclosing 700 years of history. Although the streets can be a little dusty, they are mostly pedestrianized with hardly any traffic once you cross a bridge and wander between temple remains. Until the 1920s, the only means of reaching Chiang Mai was to ride an elephant through the jungle or take a boat upriver through various rapids. This cultural hub was hidden from the world and was able to preserve its culture, incredible in comparison to other great Siam cities that were razed to the ground by invading armies.
Touch down, and it will be an easy transfer to your centrally located hotel. You can then stretch your legs with a wander on a lane of stupas and small shops before a tuk tuk provides your first genuine Thai experience. Squash into the back together and travel slowly through the streets, gazing out at red-brick temples and orange-robed monks. Thailand, especially a city like Chiang Mai, can be an enormous culture shock for adults and kids alike. In a tuk tuk you are anonymous, so you can just sit back and soak up all the new impressions with colorfully-dressed locals, swirling incense, temple bells, other tourists, market stalls, ornamental architecture, city walls. A tuk tuk is also an iconic means of travel and one that confirms that you have landed in Southeast Asia and are setting off on an exotic adventure together. Don’t take just our word for it - consider reading some of our travelers’ reviews of Thailand, and see how you can customize your own dream vacation.
Day 8 - 9