What to do? Northern Thailand

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Sep 8th, 2007, 07:39 AM
  #1
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What to do? Northern Thailand

First thanks to all who have already helped with hotels and suggestions. I am booked at the Baan Orapin from Dec 9-15, and have finally contacted Sgt Kai...but, now it is a real WHAT TO DO all on my own for that time.

I know I want to do some cooking classes: any reccos?
and more than that I can not decide...all the day trips seem to run together, and I had thought of 3 days in Chiang Rai, but after some reading the idea is not so appealing any longer.
Thouhgts and Ideas much appreciated.
KrisMom is offline  
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Sep 8th, 2007, 09:41 AM
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What are your interests? Temples, shopping, spas, hilltribes, nature, elephants, markets, schools, orphanages, other non-profits.

I went to Chiang Mai Cooking School and loved it but I have never heard a bad report about other cooking schools as well. I would make sure that the one you take includes a visit to the food market.

Northern thailand is my favorite area in thailand. However I'm someone who would NOT recommend Sgt. Kai -- not because I've had a bad experience but because from what I've read on this forum he takes you to the most touristy places (and to my mind often the least interesting) in the area.

I have probably spent a month over the years in chiang mai and never run out of things to do. Some disagree but I much prefer it to bangkok (which I also love).

I would only go to the chiang rai area if you are really interested in exploring hilltribes and treking. Otherwise I'd make chiang mai your base and do day trips from there.
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Sep 8th, 2007, 01:00 PM
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Having made 2 visits to CM over the past 7 years I would say that 4-5 full days is more than enough unless you are going to take an overnight elephant or hiking trek. In 5 days you could even go on a long day trip 12-14 hours to Chiang Rai and spend 3+ hours in CR and 1+ hour visiting 1-2 hill tribes though there are a few in smaller numbers closer to CM.You can go to Lampany Elephant Conservanvancy and take a 2 hour elephant trek (go in the morning, less heat). Might want to go to Hong Dai the antique and furntiture center for 1. a day visit Do Suthep (?spelling) and 1-2 others for 3+/- hrs.). If you are there on a Sunday take a walk at 5 PM through the Sunday Market for 2-3 hours then to dinner. Thw Who;e Earth and 5-6 others are good to very good but not gourmet and run $35-$60USD for 2.The above would occupy 5 days with CR trip. We found downtown CM just o.k. and only spent a few hours there beetween both visits. The umbrella factories were so-so, in our opinion. The Baan Orapin is a nice hotel. We were at the Chedi just afyer it opened. It is worth a visit and maybe lunch. it is quite interesting and not far from you.
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Sep 8th, 2007, 01:25 PM
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Two years ago we were in Chang Mai for 6 days. We were coming in from LP and flights got messed up so we were sent to Chang Mai for longer than we had anticipated. I ALWAYS need something to do... I thought I would go nuts being there for 5 days ..... It was heaven. You can do the "temple" thing. There was a fun excursion to an elephant show and rafting trip ( can't recall the exact name. At first we didn't want to go because we thought it was too touristy but it turned out to be great. If you have time, you may want to drive up to Chang Rai .... and you MUST stay at the Anantara Spa. You could cross over to Burma for a day excursion, which we did. Good luck
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Sep 8th, 2007, 06:52 PM
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I just returned from BKK and Chiang Mai. I visited the Chinese pandas in the zoo. They are on loan. A special air conditioned habitat was constructed for them You can get a clear view because there are no obstructions. (bars or glass) There is also a nice orangutan exhibit. The zoo is on the way to Doi Suthep which should not be missed.



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Sep 8th, 2007, 07:05 PM
  #6
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Ah, the zoo...I love pandas and made sure that I saw them when we recently visited Vienna...thanks for the reminder!

Glorialf: my interests include all the things you mentioned! any suggestions for guides/drivers?

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Sep 8th, 2007, 10:01 PM
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Mom-
Gloria recommended Poon as a driver for you on this thread-http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=27&tid=35056813
You should try to contact her to see if she can drive you around CM or up to CR, if that's what you still want to do.
You may just need a driver, rather than a guide like Sargent Kai, esp. for CM.

Gloria, when you've used Poon as a driver, does she just drop you at places you want to go and wait, or does she go in with you? Where have you had her take you on past trips?
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Sep 9th, 2007, 12:09 AM
  #8
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Emailed the address and it is no longer working..any one have another emial address for Ratt or Poon?
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Sep 9th, 2007, 04:02 AM
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To reach Poon you contact her sister, Ratt. Try both of these:
[email protected]

[email protected]

Poon has both waited in the car and come in with me but mostly she has come in to whereever I am going with me. It's really up to you. She won't have meals with you unless you ask.

I love Poon and have used her often and will be using her again. She is a lovely woman. But she is a driver -- not a guide.

As to what to do and where to go:
1. DO take a full day cooking class that includes a market
2. have poon drive you to either Elephant Conservation Center or Elephant Nature Park. Do NOT go to any of the other commercial enterprises.
3. Lots of wonderful temples -- don't miss Doi Suthep and when you go there visit the Orchid Jade Factory at the bottom of the hill-- it's the only place I'd buy jade if you want any. Expensive but the real thing.
4. Shopping -- there are a couple of wonderful shopping streets with upscale boutiques. One is just down the block from where Baan Orapin is. The other is the area near the Rincome Hotel. Poon knows it. You can do a search and find plenty of ideas. For other shopping, do go to one of the celadon factories and if you have never seen it you can go to woodworking, silver making, paper umbrella making etc. Poon knows how to avoid the most touristy one.
5. Go to the forest temple
6. Try to get in to see John Shaw's private collection of ceramics -- go to his website to contact him.
7. Sunday market and night market. Lots of other markets for locals as well
8. DEFINITELY go to the School for Life. Do a search to learn more. It will be most of the day but will be the highlight of your trip.
9. Oasis Spa is fabulous
10. Hilltribe villages
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Sep 9th, 2007, 08:35 AM
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Another vote for Poon. we used her on our last trip for 3 & 1/2 days. She came with us everywhere. I only had to ask her to return to the car when we were leaving a few minutes before us to turn on A/C for we had some brutally hot days. She is so accommodation. Used Sgt. Kai on an earlier rip for a day and 1/2 and changed to Poon. His English was better but Poon became one of us with my wife and I. I also think, hard to remember, but Poon was less expensive since wew had her with us for about 36-37 hours on this last trip.
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Sep 9th, 2007, 11:12 AM
  #11
 
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In Northern Thailand, there are number of activities you can do, I really love to enjoy life there, also I love to trek and adventure like rafting in Mae Rim (Chiang Mai). There are many temples there. Elephant riding is one of most memorable experience, I never done before.
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