Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 05:50 PM
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 9

My family arrived in Chiang Mai yesterday afternoon - we are in the middle of a 2 month trip around Asia. Our initial reaction here was surprise- didn't expect such a large, loud city with Starbucks, McDonald's and Subways! Not as quaint as we had thought it would be. We will spend the day here today walking around and getting to know the city better but would love some advice on interesting excursions that would involve light trekking in the countryside, see hill tribe villages. We plan on going to the elephant camp in Lampang and also to see Doi Suthep. Any advice for the best place to see the hill tribes? Have heard of Chiang Dow or the Long Neck Karen village, are these near each other? Thanks for any help!! FYI, we are going to Chiang Rai for 4 days after CM
rzt is offline  
Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 09:16 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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rzt -- I know how you feel. I had not expected such a big city either. I had visions of waltzing out of the hills into a quaint town with old fortified walls.

You can see the long necked tribe (though it's a bit sad I found and there is something very disturbing about being charged to look at people, as they're lined up in huts selling their wares) and Chiang Dao cave in the same day. We went to several other nearby hill tribe villages as well but it did feel commercial; our favorite trip was to a Hmong woman who weaves with hemp and batiks her fabric as well. She lives in the village where the queen sponsored gardening projects (I believe it's northwest) and we did that the same day we went to Doi Suthep.

Good luck !!
jenskar is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 01:15 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
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you shouldn't forget to visit royal flora in chiangmai.check my thailand travel pictures at
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Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 01:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Welcome to Chiang Mai RZT.

The major attraction at the moment is the Royal Flora Exhibition, which is also responsible for most of the congestion. Most people seem to make several visits.

There are plenty of operators who will take you trekking, most have an address around Taepae Gate.

For evening activities there are several Kantoke places around.

There is at least one organisation that arranges bike rides in the area and a trip on the Ping is also possible. If you are into adventure sports such as bungee jumping and paint balling, there is quite a lot of that available too. Micro flights are also available. A surprising number of people take cooking lessons.

Your hotel or Guest House should have available one of the many free monthly magazines giving details of what is currently on offer. Citylife brings out a fortnightly news sheet detailing activities over the following month.

If you wish to, give me a call on 0869139185 and we might be able to find something that more specifically meets your needs.
Tangata is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 07:56 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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If Chiang Mai is too large of a city for your taste I suggest heading to Chiang Dao and staying up there for a few nights. it is higher elevations so quite a bit cooler and absolutely stunning scenery!

There are several bungalow operations in Chiang Dao but we stayed at Chiang Dao Nest and fell in love with the place. You can check it out at:

The owner was a chef in London and she cooks up gourmet meals each night. Some of the best food we had in Thailand was at The Nest. They also do trekking from there and everyone who went trekking with them said that they received very individual treks designed to their interests.

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Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 08:39 AM
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euro -- I had been impressed by what I'd read about Chiang Dao Nest on the board and the restaurant was also recommended by a woman who lives in Chiang Mai however, I have to say, the day we went for lunch we received probably the rudest and worst service we got anywhere in Thailand. It was even stranger given that while we were out on our elephant just before lunch, we ran into a group of aussie girls who were staying at the Nest (had been for several days) riding elephants in the opposite direction who were staying at the Nest. They returned while we were eating lunch (and we had been the only four people there with our guide and driver before they came in) and the huge Thai smile came out in full force for her own group. I sat there thinking how differently I would have viewed the place had I been them. I always wondered if she had some history with our guide or something. We were certainly completely polite, not rushed or rushing her, and we mentioned we'd heard wonderful things about the Nest. She really could have cared less and the food was indifferent at best. It was very odd.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 08:57 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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jenskar, I am surprised to hear about your experience! We had nothing but smiles the entire time we were there (3 days). You may have even read my post about going into the kitchen late at night and drinking whiskey with the two lady chefs and the server?

I would guess it very well have had something to do with the guide but that is still no excuse.

Was it this woman?
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Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 04:09 PM
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 9
Thank you all for the advice! Today we are off to the elephant camp in Lampang and then we will do an individualized trek in Chiang Dao for the day. The rest of the time I am planning to take advantage of the inexpensive massages and will get a lot of shopping done. Thanks again.
rzt is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 06:55 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
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The Hong Dong town about 45 minutes is an interesting 3-4 hour visit if you want to see shops with 17-19 Century antiques (but be careful about certificates of authenticity if it is an item over $1000USD). The town is also well know for furniture building even if you don't want to buy. You have to be careful on furniture on confirming shipping costs and wood durability in colder climates.Have you visited any of the tribal regions, not the tourist attractions, but just having a driver take you about looking around? It can be interesting.
StanKase is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2007, 08:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I note that you are going to Chiang Rai after CM. You might want to consider taking the boat from Thaton (a small laid back river town about 170kms from CM. The boat trip takes around 4-5 hrs and leaves at 12.30 and cost 250 baht. The boats are really lontail, hold 12 people and you sit sideways so there is not much room to move. However you can hire an entire private boat for around 1800 baht and this lets you stop at places along the way that may interest you. From CM you can get an a/c bus for around 120 baht or hire a car/driver to get to Thaton.

You might consider staying a night here and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere along the river at one of several fair hotels. The Maekok River Village Resort is nice as is the Thaton Chalet. You could also take a tour to one of the last remaining real hill tribes or a Long Neck Karen village.
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Old Jan 5th, 2007, 09:31 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 360
Hi euro
Yes, that was her. She's obviously really nice to people who stay with her (she welcomed the aussies like family) so maybe the thing to do is make sure you spend a night. I truly haven't given a thought for the whole year, it was just rather strange. I bet rzt has a better experience.
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Old Jan 5th, 2007, 06:45 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 51
We spent 2 weeks in Chiang Mai, but part of the fun was the guest house we stayed at. We met people travelling from all parts of the world. We stayed at Libra guesthouse. They were very helpful in selecting places to visit each day. We went to the thai silk factory, to the Celedon factory, the umbrella factory and several chedis around town. We loved the weekend walking market, and all the little street places to eat. The best part of Chiang Mai is getting to know people which was more difficult in Bangkok. Mai Hong Son is better for trekking and meeting Hilltribes, and we also visited hill tribes in Soppong.
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