Escape to Chiang Mai

New year in CM. We went out early for a simple Thai meal and then came back to the balcony at the hotel, loaded with drinks and snacks to enjoy the festivities from our lofty position looking towards the mountain. Fireworks started early, spasmodically, but at midnight the firework display was immense. Huge balls of colour, the sonic bangs slicing through the warm dark night, one after another all over the city, a psychedelic explosive extravaganza. Fantastic.

A trip to the Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden was on the cards and we left early, wearing jackets in the cool morning air. It takes 30 minutes, I get in for free now, I’ll take all the concessions I can get! The park is 6,500 acres of prime forest, the gardens immaculate and the grass manicured like a bowling green, flower beds as far as the eye can see. We head straight to the glass houses which were slightly disappointing compared to previous visits but then nothing is as it was….I think the gardens have been closed until recently but I’m sure it will return to its former glory. Still amazing. My favourite glasshouses are the bromeliad (air plants) and the cacti.


The walkway which is the longest in Thailand follows the tops of the trees with a view of all the surrounding mountains and jungle. It’s named after the Flying Drako Lizard only found in CM. You need a head for heights standing on clear glass and an enormous drop….great to see some of the indigenous Thais, the Akha out and about in their colourful national dress and state of the art mobile phones!

The zoo in CM is at the base of Doi Suthep in the foothills. I know zoos aren’t ‘fashionable’ or very eco but this one was started for all the right reasons many years ago, looking after injured animals from the surrounding jungle and forests. They were looked after by tribal Thais and it got bigger and bigger. The Thai King gave a large chunk of land to the state and it is one of the best zoos I have been to, mainly for its natural surroundings, warmth and huge enclosures for the animals. It’s a great 3-4 hour walk and you can buy food and feed the animals, it all helps. It’s very reasonable (compared to the UK and Europe), £3.50 for 2 of us. My favourites are the binterong, red panda and the fenic fox. I also had a long conversation with a couple of parrots and was attacked by an aggressive pheasant much to Chris’s amusement.

Fenic fox
A sleepy binterong

The coffee in Thailand is second to none. It’s grown extensively in the mountains especially in Chiang Rai in the North and coffee shops are everywhere.

An organic coffee costs less than £1, I have become addicted to Iced coffees and have at least 2 a day. There is real skill with the preparation and presentation and we especially like a young guy whose family grow the coffee organically and roast it, he serves it from a roadside hut with a glass of water and a charming likeable manner. Costa and all the other ‘known’ coffee shops could learn a thing or 2 from these guys.

Huay Tung Tao reservoir is about 15 minutes out of town. It is 100 baht to go in as a foreigner or 20 baht as a Thai. I keep trying to tell them I’m Thai but they won’t have it….people fish, there is a zip line if you need an adrenaline boost and long lines of cute reed thatched huts just hanging on the waters edge.

You can have food and drinks brought to you as you dip your feet into the cool waters with a view of the green, lush mountains. You can stay in huts overnight and there are still huge straw animals which have survived the rainy season surprisingly, always good for a photo op, grrr

6 thoughts on “Escape to Chiang Mai

  1. Thanks for sharing your fantastic photo’s, they are stunning. Love the post that are so wonderful to read.. Keep the pics coming.. Enjoy your adventure xxx

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s