Tips on Chiang Mai:
1. Rent a scooter here! Its super affordable, we paid $26 for all 5 days we spent in Chiang Mai. Remember to get helmets with a shield for your face or at least your eyes. Driving at night on the highway can cause many bugs to hit you in the face or fly into your mouth.
2. Visit the Night Bizarre Market to purchase your souvenirs.
3. DO NOT DRINK THE TAP WATER. Not even to brush your teeth. Bottled water is seriously the only way to go. If you have the fear that you will end up on a trip with no bottled more water, I highly recommend purchasing a "life straw" by the red cross on Amazon.
4. Always bargain with people on their prices for anything.
Taxi From Airport to Banthai Village Hotel: We used the Taxi service right outside the Airport. They charged us 150 Bhat which is more or less $5
Our Hotel: The Banthai Village Hotel; 19 Thapae Rd Soi 3, Tambon Chang Moi, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand. This hotel is about a 10-15 minute walk from the Chabad House, a 10 minute walk from the night life, 1 minute walk from laundry and 30 min drive from the airport. The room we got cost $50 a night and it was really nice for two people.
Chabad House: 189/15 Chang-Clan Road (Near Night Bazaar, Between Shangri-la to the Empress Hotel) | Chiang Mai, Thailand. This Chabad has a wonderful meat restaurant. In their location they have a modest selection of groceries you can buy. Mo and I bought Pita, Tuna cans, Mayo and Bissli for our day trips and always came to the restaurant for dinner.
Shabbat meals here are technically free of charge but it is nice to give a donation if you are able to.
Travel Agency/Tour Booking:
We used a Travel Agency that is right next door to the Chabad House, to the left. I don't remember the name but an Israeli man helped us book all of our tours for a pretty affordable price.
Taxi from Hotel to Airport: We pulled a Tuk Tuk (taxi) off the street that morning and paid him 150 baht to drive us to the airport.
Today we flew Air Asia to Chiang Mai, Thailand. The flight was about 2.5 hours and a very pleasant ride. When we landed we took a Taxi from outside the airport that cost us 150 Bhat which is just under $5.00 usd. We stayed at the Banthai Village Hotel which cost us about $50 dollars a night. The room of this hotel had such nice vibes to it. The whole hotel felt like its own oasis and was so relaxing to be around. After settling into our room we walked about 10-15 minutes to the Chabad of Chiang Mai. We ordered lunch – Schnitzel with Israeli Salad – which was really delicious. Two store fronts to the left of the Chabad house is an Israeli Tour company and with them we booked our tours for the time we’d be spending in Chiang Mai. After booking our tours we walked down the block – toward the right of the Chabad House – to a scooter rental place with a Yellow awning. We rented a scooter for 5 days and paid $26.00 for the entire time!! We decided to chill in the afternoon the first day we got to Chiang Mai and went to check out the Night Bizarre Markets for a little and went to bed. The Night Bizarre Market is a lot of fun if you like to barter with local Thai people for the goods they’re selling. You have anything from knock off designer items to clothing to paper crafts to soap.
Day 6: Flying Squirrel Zip Lining & Spa
Today we went zip lining to Flying Squirrel Zip Lining. This tour is not for the faint of heart or anyone slightly scared of heights unless they want to face their fears. My Husband was fearless the entire tour as we did 30 different lines which consisted of 3-4 rope style bridges. I on the other hand was shaking in my pants the entire time. The tour guides were very patient, helpful, and encouraging even with the little amount of English they spoke. Looking back on the experience I can admit it was pretty epic and nothing we have every seen before. For anyone adventurous or looking for a thrill this tour is for sure up your alley and I highly recommend it. Our tour included lunch but since we keep kosher we packed our own sandwiches and had some fresh fruit there. We booked a 3 hour honeymoon spa experience through our hotel. It cost us $600 baht. The spa picked us up in an air conditioned car and drove us to their facilities. We had a body scrub, facial and massage. I loved every second of it and felt so relaxed afterwards. My Husband said it was way too long for him. If you and your spouse enjoy the spa experience and fully relaxing, I recommend doing something like this. We went to a custom suit shop where we ordered a custom tuxedo blazer, two suits with matching bow ties & pocket squares, and a shirt for $500.00. Then we went back to walk through the Night Bizarre Market to see the other half that we missed the night before.
Day 7: Bird’s Smart Elephant Family Sanctuary & The Chiang Mai Night Safari
This day was THE BEST DAY EVER!!!!!! I am not even exaggerating. Now keep in mind that elephants are my absolute favorite animal ever and we were able to be up close and personal with them. Bird’s Smart Elephant Sanctuary was an experience like no other and exceeded all my expectations. We were the first tour of the day and happened to have been lucky because the two of us were the only one’s scheduled at that time so we had the whole place to ourselves. We got to feed, walk next to, and bathe three elephants. A 32 year old mother and her 5 and 2 year old babies. We made their shampoo from tree bark, fed them bananas and learned a few Thai commands the elephants respond to. We handed our camera to one of the workers there and he took the greatest pictures and videos of us. If you’re looking for a positive experience with elephants that is in no way harmful or abusive to these wonderful creatures this is the only place to go! Next on our agenda we drove our scooter to the Chiang Mai Night Safari. It was about a 25-30 minute ride wouldn’t have been bad for us. The only reason we it was bad was because it was pouring rain, we were driving on the opposite side of the road than we’re used to, and we didn’t have any face shields with our helmets so bugs kept hitting our faces. Even though that experience isn’t one we’d call ideal, it was a lot of fun and one we always look back on and laugh at. The night safari was really cool. We saw a lion and tiger show at the zoo and then waited for trains that took you on open cars through their safari to learn about and see different animals. Some animals came up really close to the cars – the friendlier species – while others were further from the track and behind fencing for our protection. We got to pet some deer, zebra’s, and fed a Giraffe!! That was really exciting because we never got to do that before. We drove back to the area we were staying in and hit up the Night Bizarre again. It’s a really fun place to go to people watch and experience a fun part of Thai culture. We were so fascinated by that experience we went almost nightly to explore it more and just to walk around and chill.
Day 8: The Grand Canyon Water park
Before we headed out for some fun we dropped out laundry off at a little place right down the street from our hotel. It cost us $16.99 for 13.5 kg/ 29.76 lbs of clothing! We drove to the Grand Canyon Water park which was a nice 20-30 minute ride from our hotel. This Water park is very unique because it’s a bunch of huge blow up obstacles floating in a lake within a canyon. The obstacles happened to be very challenging because some of the handles were torn off so it really helped us work as a team and each time we fell off or failed at pulling the other back on we had a good laugh. Being that it’s a little intense we got tired after an hour and called it quits. There is also a water bike there, little water park area for kids, and a short zip lining course. We did the zip lining which was short and sweet but still enjoyable. The water biking looked like a lot of fun but required a lot of coordination that I 100% was lacking after our attempt at the obstacle courses. All in all I give this place an 8/10 because a lot of the handles were broken but we did have a really awesome experience here. It was a lot of fun. We spent the rest of the afternoon getting ready for Shabbos/The Sabbath. We ate Friday Night dinner at the Chabad house and met some really cool people there. Then after hanging out for a bit we went back to our hotel to rest.
Day 9: Sabbath/Night Bizarre/Bar
We woke up and got ready to walk to the Chabad house for Davening/Morning services and lunch. We hung out with people we met the night before at the meal and then walked back to our hotel. We sat by the pool in our hotel and enjoyed a quiet and peaceful afternoon. We went back to the Chabad house to close out the Sabbath with Havdalah – the blessing said to bring the sabbath to a close – then went to the night market to buy all of the souvenirs we had our eyes on for ourselves, family and friends. After that we drove to a local bar 15 minutes from our hotel on a quiet road to play some pool and enjoy beers with two guys we met at the Chabad house. We went home and packed up all our belongings so we were ready to head out in the morning to catch our flights.
Day 10: Travelling back to New York
We were picked up by our Tuk Tuk (Taxi) which cost us 150 Baht and got dropped off by the airport. We flew Qatar Airways to Bangkok, Thailand for a stop-over that was about 4 hours long. Before heading to our terminal we stopped for an hour long foot and back massage before getting on two pretty long flights. Our first flight to Qatar ended up getting delayed a little bit so we tried to sleep in the airport, but it didn’t really work well. We finally got on our 8 hour flight to Qatar and caught some sleep. We landed there at 1:00am Qatar time and had a 2 hour stop-over. The security lines and bathroom breaks pretty much filled in that whole wait and we got onto our flight from Qatar back to New York. My least favorite part about vacationing far away is the traveling, especially if its broken up with a lot of waiting time spent in the airport. All in all the travel experience on our way home to New York was much more pleasant than the way to Thailand from New York.
** I hope you enjoyed the second and final part to our Thailand Trip! Thailand is a beautiful place to vacation and we definitely are planning to go back there in the future to checkout other areas.