Powered by Blogger.

Travel Guide: Three Nights in Chiang Mai's Old City

If you’ve been sticking with me, you know that I recently got back from a solo adventure through Singapore and Thailand. I’ve posted my recap of my Singapore trip here, and my first night in Thailand was spent at Chai Lai Orchid, which you can read a recap of here. As much as I loved, loved my time in Singapore, I was pretty excited to jet off and spend 12 nights exploring two different areas of Thailand.

While researching my trip to Singapore, I very quickly realized that flights to others destinations in Southeast Asia were very affordable, and I thought to myself “If I’m traveling all the way there, why not add another destination and make the most of it?” I narrowed down my choices to Bali, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. I know a few people who have gone to Thailand and have raved about the food, the people, the beaches and well, pretty much everything about it. As much as I was really drawn to all the destinations I had on my short list, there was just something about Thailand that felt right.

After my night at Chai Lai, which was an hour outside downtown Chiang Mai, I made my way into the city to spend three nights here. Adding Chiang Mai to this trip was the very last decision I made while putting together my itinerary because initially, I had only planned on visiting beach destinations. But so much of what I read online spoke of the amazing food in Chiang Mai, the really friendly locals, the beautiful temples and it was said to be a more authentic Thailand experience. It was hard to pass up the opportunity to explore everything Chiang Mai had to offer, and I'm so grateful that I decided to work it into my trip. It was definitely a highlight for me.

Wat Chedi Luang.

Ethical Elephant Tourism in Chiang Mai, Thailand: My Night at Chai Lai Orchid

When I decided to visit Thailand, it may surprise most people to know that an elephant experience wasn't on my radar. I’ve always loved animals, and any opportunity to interact with one is something I would have jumped at in the past. But I think we all know at this point how horribly elephants in Thailand have been treated in order to entertain tourists. I had just thought the days of any kind of ethical experience with an elephant were over, and for good reason.

And then, while putting together my itinerary for my time in Chiang Mai, I discovered Chai Lai Orchid. I began to wonder if it was, in fact, possible, as they claim on their website, to still have a loving and caring encounter with an elephant in Thailand while still supporting responsible tourism.

So, I began to do my research. I wanted to ensure that if I decided to do something like this, my money was being given to a place that truly had the elephant’s best interests at heart, that they were being treated with kindness and love, and also, their care was first priority. After much debate, I decided to spend one night on the grounds of the Chai Lai Orchid.

Photo by James De La Roche of DLC Photo Tours

Travel Guide: Three Days in Singapore

When I was first planning my trip to Southeast Asia, Singapore was the only destination on my itinerary. Once I was down the research rabbit hole, my quick little week-long trip to the Little Red Dot, as its also called, turned into an almost 3-week adventure through both Singapore and a couple regions of Thailand. And guys, it was quite the journey for someone who has never really left North America.

So, why did I choose to travel to Singapore? This was a trip Josh couldn’t join me on, so I’d been doing a lot of research on safe destinations for women solo travelers. Singapore was on quite a few of those lists I stumbled upon, and the idea of going somewhere far away that pushed me outside my comfort zone was oddly appealing. I didn’t really know much about Singapore, to be honest, so I started to look into things to do, and immediately, I was so drawn to it and just felt like I had to experience this little city/state. I loved how futuristic it was while also being very connected to nature and tradition - in fact, they refer to Singapore as many things, one of which being a Garden in a City. Being the nature-lover I am, Singapore appealed to that part of me, while also feeding my urge to explore a new urban destination. On top of all that, I'd read that it was a very easy city to navigate in English, making my first few days in Asia relatively stress-free.