The Lobby Observer

Two Weeks In Thailand: Welcome To Chiang Mai


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By:  Nick Smaldone ’19

This past summer I spent two weeks in the volunteering in city of Chiang Mai, located in northern Thailand. The following series of articles will deal with what I saw, experienced, and learned halfway around the world. Below is an introduction to the city of Chiang Mai, Thailand.

 

Nestled between the caves of Chiang Rai and the blue beaches of Phuket, lies northern Thailand’s largest city, Chiang Mai. With only four international destinations flying in and out of Chiang Mai airport, Chiang Mai is the perfect off-the-beaten-path location to live like a local thousands of miles from home.

Let’s start with one of Thailand’s most famous commodities- their food. Unlike areas riddled with tourists, you can’t go wrong searching for authentic Thai food. Whether you’re looking for in-depth instruction on Thai food or a quick bite, Chiang Mai has it.

Smart Cook Chiang Mai offers introductory class where you can learn to make several dishes from green curry to sweet mango sticky rice. If your on the go, quicker options, like bamboo worms from a food market, or the famed scorpion on a stick from the popular walking-street market will be sure to satisfy your craving with an adventurous twist. Also be sure to try to my personal favorite, spring rolls from McDonalds.

After a few good meals of rice and noodles, it might be time to try your hand at Muay Thai, Thailand’s age-old form of kickboxing. There are an infinite number of gyms in Chiang Mai with instructors available to teach you how to use your firsts, feet, elbows, knees and everything in between to get active.

But If you are not one for Chiang Mai’s dense urban center, Chiang Mai province still has plenty of exciting excursions to offer. Flying past cloud kissed mountains and lush rice fields, I got the perfect perfect birds-eye-view of the beautiful landscape with Eagle Track Zipline, and no thrill seeking trip would be complete without their 40 meter free fall finally line.

Further out of the city you can find some of Chiang Mai’s most popular characters: elephants. There are several great elephant sanctuaries across the province that couple life-saving service and fun interactions with these large creatures.

It is important to note that no one should never visit an elephant home if they offer rides. Repeated riding of an elephant can be extremely harmful, cause lesions, and create more harm to the already endangered species.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary is a great location I visited, with several day trip options that range from feeding to bathing elephants saved from abusive environments.

Fun attractions aside, there are three elements found in every corner of Chiang Mai that are truly essential to the Thai experience: the royal family, Buddhism, and nationalism. Representing the colors on the Thai flag, these three pillars are truly essential to the everyday lives of the Thai people.

To find out more about how these characteristics play out in Thailand, check back next week as the Lobby-O continues it’s series Two Weeks in Thailand.

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Two Weeks In Thailand: Welcome To Chiang Mai