The journey to get to Chiang Mai from Koh Tao, was like being in an episode of The Amazing Race. We left Hin Wong Bay the night before, at the same time as a large storm erupted. We got soaked hiking out of the accommodation, and then had a really scary ride driving up and down the 45 degree angle roads in a 4 wheel drive car, through some newly formed rivers.
We got to the pier where we booked an overnight ferry to the mainland. The ferry left at 9pm, and arrived at 5:30am in Surat Thani. We had never slept on an overnight ferry before, which was a fun experience. The entire ferry was floor to ceiling with bunk beds. The ferry was mostly local Thai people, and at about 10pm, it was ‘lights out’ and everyone went to sleep.
When we arrived at Surat Thani, it was a case of ‘how many people and their luggage can you fit into an open mini van’. The number was 10 in the back, one in the front with the driver, and one last person standing on the back bumper, holding onto the back. We were taken to the offices of the taxi company, where we were then loaded onto another taxi that took us to the bus stop. we then waited for the airport shuttle bus to come past, which we then took to the Airport. After quite a long wait at the airport, we finally boarded our flight to Chiang Mai. On arrival in Chiang Mai, we caught a taxi to our hotel, which was “Chanya’s room” at Thana hotel. The whole journey from Hin Wong bay to the hotel in Chiang Mai was just under 24hours, so we were happy to relax for the evening.
Our accommodation was really good value for money, we had a great room with all the amenities, as well as a little balcony overlooking the swimming pool, and a full breakfast was included every morning.
Chiang Mai is a great little town, with loads of temples, restaurants and night markets. It was much cleaner than other towns we had seen in Asia, and very green. The people were really friendly, and the food was really affordable and extremely delicious.
We went to see some of the fun attractions that the town has to offer, such as The Castle, which is an interactive ghost house / horror experience, which was very realistic and gave us some good scares. We went to the Flying Squirells adventure course, which is a fun zip-line / obstacle course through the jungle. We spent the day zipping between trees high above the jungle floor, using various different types of ziplines. Some of the routes were climbing nets, swinging steps, and even a huge stainless steel slide.
We went to the Chiang Mai Zoo, which was saddening. We went specifically to see the Panda bears in the breeding program, and it was our first time seeing a panda in person. The rest of the animals in the zoo we felt were not happy with their living conditions. The zoo was really big, but the enclosures were small and most of the animals looked very unhappy, especially the elephants, which were chained up and unable to move at all. We decided that we were no longer going to support zoos after our experience.
We visited the 3D art museum in Chiang Mai, which was very similar to the one we had already seen in Indonesia, but still a great way to spend a few hours.
While walking around and exploring the town, we came across some interesting looking streets, such as one completely covered by coloured umbrellas. We did a lot of walking around the old and new town. The old town is surrounded by an ancient wall, and parts of the wall are still there today.
Chiang Mai was our last town in Thailand before we left for new adventures in Laos….