Amazing Thailand: Back in Chiang Mai

I ticked off an item from my Thailand bucket list - we took a trip to Chiang Mai a week and a half ago.

On my first trip to Thailand nine years ago, I visited Chiang Mai for work reasons. I immediately fell in love with the city and with Thailand.

I felt giddy and excited when I learned Jed could bring us with him. I am so excited to bring Javi to the places I had been to before.

At the northern part of Thailand, Chiang Mai means "New Walled City." In fact, visitors can see the original 1296 earthen ramparts while going around the city Chiang Mai reminded me of Cebu. The two cities have similarities as the second largest city outside the capital in terms of economy. Chiang Mai prides itself of having more natural forest cover than any other province in the north and it has Thailand's two highest mountain peaks. It attracts visitors who love nature and want to be close to nature.

What I loved about our recent trip to Chiang Mai:

1. Thai Airways

For this trip we didn't fly via budget airlines. One can really tell the difference. We never felt so important and special as we had Javi with us. We were first to board. We were given bulk head seats. They even served meals, not just crackers, on domestic flight. Fortunately for us, there was an empty chair beside us going to Chiang Mai, the little boy had more room to play and was kept busy tinkering with his own meal box.

2. Shangri-la Hotel, Chiang Mai

I am not saying this just because my husband works for the Shangri-la chain. The hotel in Chiang Mai - a city resort - is a beautiful property.

I was too happy to have found the Kid's Room. Instead of watching our hotel room got ransacked by the little boy, he was busy going around the Kid's Room playing with different toys and other kids staying at the hotel.

Kiddie sink and toilet

A new place I checked out with my two boys is one of northern Thailand's most sacred temple atop Doi Suthep's summit.

The road to the temple reminded me of the road to Tops in Cebu.

As I entered, I saw gold-plated Buddha statues. I have never seen that many Buddha states in my life.

The temple's famously photographed gold-plated chedi topped by a five-tired umbrella erected in honor of the city's independence from Burma and it's union with Thailand.

So many bells

Posing under the heat of the sun

4. Maesa Elephant Camp

It felt surreal going back to Maesa Elephant Camp. I fell in love with elephants after my trip to the camp nine years ago.

We watched the elephant show and the program was more or less the same as before.

Musical talent show and dancing

Elephant Football League

Elephant Artists Show

Dart Game Show

How elephants work - logging and lumber work show

We didn't get to ride the elephant as Jed had to be in another appointment. It turned out to be a great idea as Javi is terrified of elephants. We discovered this while we had our photo beside them.

5. Shopping at the Night Bazaar (and Tesco Lotus and Airport Plaza Mall and even the hotel shop)

We found out stuff are cheaper in Chiang Mai. Jed ended up shopping. He had his suit made. He found shoes on sale. I shopped for my Starbucks City Mug. I now have Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

I have always loved the night bazaar. On my first trip, our hotel was smacked right in the middle of the night bazaar. I remembered how my colleagues and I would have dinner and drinks at the Kalare Food Center. To my delight, this place still exists. Sadly, we didn't get to eat there. When we were supposed to go back to the Night Bazaar, it rained so we ended up staying at the hotel.

After a busy day looking after and running around with the little one, I love ending my day with a glass of wine.

Chiang Mai, I want to go back. I have yet to try the famous Khao Soi (northern chicken curry noodle), ride the elephant with my two boys, go back to have dinner at Khun Kantoke and visit a few more tourist spots.

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