Chiang Mai 2016 – Getaway Chiang Mai Resort & Spa, Escape Restaurant, Tha Phae Gate, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Bhubing Palace, Doi Pui Mong Village, Tiger Kingdom, Wualai Walking Street Saturday Night Market, Sankampaeng Hot Springs, Anantara Riverside Afternoon Tea, Anusarn Market, Kalare Night Bazaar

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Greetings from Getaway Chiang Mai Resort & Spa! It’s previously known as “Away Chiang Mai – Hot Springs Resort”. I reached in the evening, around 5pm and the weather’s cooling! What a great start.

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Stayed in Room 935, a stairways up on the second floor. Opened the door and found a neat woody themed room.

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The spacious toilet also offers folded hand towels that smell super good and refreshing when you wipe your face and hands.

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There’s rain shower available as well. The complimentary bath gel and shampoo smells light and refreshing. I consider this a luxurious bathroom and it would be better if they consider installing bathtubs!

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The room has high ceiling, extremely thick blankets, a soft and cozy bed and many pillows. I like how the curtains were tied up to give a warm and cozy homely feel.

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One good thing is the resort provides an external “hard disk” or whatever you call it, that has a lot of movies in it and you can watch them on the huge TV screen. There’s a complimentary fruit basket on arrival as well.

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The room’s balcony leads to an amazing greenery of mountain view, as well as fresh cooling air. Loved it. Feels a little bit like Genting Highlands in Malaysia. Hahaha.

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Overall, the room emits a luxurious and spacious vibe. I’m very satisfied.

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A little downside however is that the resort’s around an hour drive from the town area, and there’s nothing much around the resort area so it seems like you just gotta settle dinner at their restaurant.

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It’s called the “Escape Restaurant”. Food’s a little pricey, on average around SGD$10++ per dish. Staff’s friendly.

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Ambience’s okay though, quite classy with modern English Pop songs playing at its background. Black and white themed restaurant with mainly Thai food and western food.

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Mai-tai cocktail, khao soi pork, deep fried cat fish with thai herbs and holy basil for dinner. Decent Thai food, though a little expensive. No other choices within walking distance around the resort…

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Lady’s luck probably with me, as I got a special complimentary free lemon shot to digest all the food. It tasted very very alcoholic.

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Getaway Chiang Mai Resort & Spa also offers a huge swimming pool with waterfall and lightings that can change colour every now and then…

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Sadly, the water is very dirty and pictures turn out horrible right?

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I don’t know if it’s my imagination too wild, but somehow I feel those “rocks” behind me looked like some Halloween figurines?! Maybe I’m just being paranoid. But anyway, it’s a relaxing day as I returned to the room after dinner and jacuzzi and watched the movie “Frozen” before bed time. In fact, it’s the first time I watched Frozen. REALLY!

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 On the morning of Day 2, I woke up with a very sleepy face and headed to the same restaurant, Escape Restaurant, for buffet breakfast. The spread wasn’t much but it’s fine for me as I don’t usually take too heavy breakfast.

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After breakfast, I hopped onto the resort’s free shuttle service at 9am. This free shuttle drops guests in Chiang Mai Town, in particular, outside Tha Phae Gate. The journey from resort to town is about an hour.

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If you’re interested to read a little bit of Tha Phae Gate, you may wish to zoom in! Hahaha. Anyway, after reaching Tha Phae Gate, I hopped onto a taxi that looks like a pick-up and the friendly Thai sold me a package to three places – Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Bhubing Palace and Doi Pui Mong Village. I super like these 3 places! I’ll show you the pictures in a bit.
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Let’s start with Wat Phra That Doi Suthep! Look at the intricate details of these two lovely dragons!

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Looking at my smile, you can see that this stairways up was easy peasy and zero kick!

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Foreigners, aka myself, and all tourists, please proceed to buy the ticket for 30 baht per person before entering to visit this place of worship.

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Note: The highly respected Thai King passed away recently and it’s advisable not to wear yellow and red if you’re planning to visit any part of Thailand in these few months.

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The more dominant religion practiced in Thailand is Buddhism. However, many tourists, including me, who belong to other religions still need to adhere to the dress code in Doi Suthep.

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This is the very famous golden mount at the temple. The gold is extremely shiny, grand and magnificent.

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I was wearing shorts so it wasn’t an appropriate attire. Thus, I actually made a small donation to rent this beautiful turquoise cloth to cover my legs and then to return it after the temple visit.

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Inside the temple, you’ll find many Buddha statues.

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Most of the believers kneel down and prayed using joss sticks as a form of respect for the Gods.

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This temple is actually a little misty and cold as it’s situated in the mountains area. Nevertheless, I really like it!

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Within the temple itself, you will find many beautifully crafted statues. I’m sure many believers would find peace within their hearts while praying to these gods.

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There is also a green glass Buddha statue. I also noticed visitors holding a flower and/or reading a note while walking one complete round around the golden mount.

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With so many golden Buddha statues, this temple is definitely a sacred site to many Thai people.

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Anybody knows the exact name of this particular Buddha statue with this “shield”?

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I find Doi Suthep a very beautiful temple with a rich heritage and this is my favourite picture takeaway because of its bold colours.

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I even saw many small Buddha statues alongside the aisle of the temple as well. Could this possibly be one of the temples in the world with one of the most numbers of Buddha statues?

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The weather is a little fickled and unpredictable though – at times it’s bright and at times it’s misty.

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The whole temple scale is not that huge but if you spend time to scrutinize the details, it can get overwhelming!

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As I’m narrating, I’m very happy now because as I look back at this amazing temple, I felt honoured to be there in person to experience the wonders of Buddhism culture.

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If you didn’t already know, elephants are iconic of Thailand as well and this white elephant shire is one of Chiang Mai’s icon too.

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As what my top says, Thailand Thailand Thailand Thailand, unforgettable because of Doi Suthep!

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It was a great experience exploring Doi Suthep!!

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Apart from dress code reminders, I found a note on the gong that states “Do not pat gong noise” probably to warn children visitors / even some adults that get too excited if they have not seen gongs in their lives.

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It was misty at most times and thus it was a pity that I didn’t manage to capture scenic views from the temple. Oh well!

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This brown Buddha statue is amazingly huge, tall and incredibly beautiful. In fact, most of the temple is covered with gold / brown colours.

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A gentle reminder, once inside the temple grounds, footwear must be removed and placed neatly on the shoes shelves. All in all, Doi Suthep is a must-visit temple in Chiang Mai!

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Moving on, the next place of interest driving uphill from Doi Suthep would be Bhubing Palace where only the royal garden is actually opened for visiting at the price of 50 baht per person, which is about SGD$2.

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The dress code is very strict, you got to ensure that you’re wearing clothes that cover your shoulders and pants or skirts that cover your knees. Fret not, there’re a few street shops nearby where you could simply buy decent clothes there and have a makeover on the spot.

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I personally feel there is nothing much to see at Bhubing Palace as it’s just like a normal garden.

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There is a pavilion…

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A huge water reservoir…

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An eatery with cheap and yummy grilled pork balls…

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And a garden with lots of flowers.

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Doi Pui Mong Village is further up Bhubing Palace, within a couple of minutes drive. I super super love this Hmong’s hill tribes village for the shopping is cheap and it’s a more relaxed and slow paced area.

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I rented the Hmong’s costume for 50 baht. It’s a super colourful and flowery village.

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The hot pink themed Hmong’s costume is super super vibrant.

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By the way, this Hmong’s costume is very heavy! The dangling necklace is also very heavy and so is the pinky thing on my head!

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You can also view the Doi Pui waterfall for a small fee of 10 baht.

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The very next itinerary was a total surprise and it definitely was also my best memory and fulfilment in Chiang Mai. This was none other than an hour drive from Doi Pui all the way to TIGER KINGDOM MAE RIM CHIANG MAI! Do note that the do’s and don’t of tiger are very important reads as you would definitely want to make it out alive.

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You know, I chose to interact with the small tiger for 500 baht. But guess what?! I didn’t know when I entered, there were actually 4 small tigers roaming around me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Omg, they didn’t tell me it’s 4 and not 1?!

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The first tiger looked so fierce like it will eat me up anytime. I touched it firmly and its body temperature is extremely warm.

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I held the long tail of the second tiger. It was so heavy.

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When people start asking me whether it’s a real tiger, I had to post this mouth-opening pose to prove it’s real; it’s indeed real.

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I did not touch the third and fourth one as they were happily enjoying swimming in the waters.

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Tigers are wild animals after all so please don’t get too excited and always follow the cue of the staff and keep a safe distance even in taking photos. I’m so proud that I bravely survived the Tiger Kingdom!

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 So, keep calm and go to CHIANG MAI TIGER KINGDOM!

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Do try the mango smoothie fresh fruit drink at the Tiger Kingdom as well, it’s really cooling, thick, filling and simply great!

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The very kind and patient driver then dropped me at Wualai Walking Street Saturday Night Market for my favourite street shopping!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Woohoo I’ll show you my loots in a bit.

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Among all the typical night market food, these beef satays for 10 baht per stick were one of the cheap and filling bites.

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Wild eggs, sticky rice, bbq food, sushi, fruits, noodles, seafood, etc were also great food picks at the night market.

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These colourful irresistible chocolates I saw just pleases my eye. I didn’t buy any though, as I doubt I bear to eat them up!

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To mourn the passing of the highly respected Thai King, the whole streets of Wualai lights were dimmed at 7.09pm and everyone had to stand still and hold a lighted candle in their hands. The Thai national anthem was sang before all the lights were on again as business resumes.

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I actually took an hour ride of tuk tuk from Wualai night market back to Getaway Chiang Mai Resort. It’s a sky high price of 1500 baht (that’s SGD$60) considering that it’s late at night and a resort that’s out of the way for the locals. The driver drove at ferrari speed and the wind was so cold! I was even chased by a howling dog’s voice but still I made it back in one piece.

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It’s tiring but a fulfilling and eventful day 2 spent in Chiang Mai! I feel so accomplished with all these loots!

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To kickstart day 3, I had a yummy eggs benedict breakfast with orange juice at Escape Restaurant, yes, that one and only restaurant in Getaway Chiang Mai Resort & Spa! I never knew they had this to offer until I saw someone else eating it. Omg hahaha.

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After breakfast, I hopped onto the 9am free shuttle bus from the resort to Sankampaeng Hot Springs, which was a mere 10 minutes drive.

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The entrance ticket is 100 baht per adult, that’s about SGD$4.

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The hot spring temperature is 105 degrees Celsius and therefore you could even boil eggs in it. Soft boil it for 3 min, half boil it for 5 – 6 min, well done it for 10 – 15 min.

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You could also bathe in a mineral bath for 60 baht at the mineral water bathroom. A group tub would cost 500 baht / hour. The cheapest one would be a traditional style with a basin for only 20 baht. I didn’t opt for all these as I thought it’s quite weird to pay money to bathe in a bathtub?!

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Thus, I opted for the mineral swimming pool which costs 50 baht per adult and the bath towel for rent is 10 baht. Very big, warm and nice pool.

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The feet could also have a great soak alongside the mineral watercourse. Woooo~

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Dining is made easy at the Hot Spring Restaurant, where you can enjoy Thai iced tea and other local food!

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However, I prefer the cheap cheap 10 baht grilled beef balls / chicken balls / pork balls along the streets surrounding Sankampaeng Hot Springs.

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I hopped onto the free shuttle bus at 12pm from Sankampaeng Hot Springs back to Getaway Chiang Mai Resort & Spa and wanted to go for a swim, but realised that the swimming pool’s too deep, 1.6 to 1.7 metres! Gosh!

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These rocks and waterfall really made the swimming pool stand out from any other typical swimming pools!

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The sun and the waters are one of my best friends!

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After washing up, I went for my complimentary Anantara Vacation Club invitation at Anantara Chiang Mai Resort.

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I had my riverside afternoon tea at The Service 1921 Restaurant & Bar inside Anantara. The price is THB 880 per pax or THB 1,200 per couple, subject to 10% service charge and applicable government taxes.

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Sweet foods like macarons, chocolate brownie, mango vanilla rice pudding, strawberry pistachio cake, coconut passion cake, green tea financier were served. I loved the savoury ones like truffle ham and cheese croissant, chicken curry banana pie, seafood quiche lorraine, chiang mai sausage burger and croquette prawn satay. Very filling, piping hot, crispy and fragrant.I didn’t quite like the scones though, be it plain ones, raisin ones, strawberry jam, orange jam, and clotted cream were all not to my liking. However, the Swensen ice cream and sorbet was a refreshing kick! The hot chocolate was great and the refreshing cold lemon and lime drink in that cute little teapot perfected the lazy afternoon tea time.

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Anusarn Market was a stone’s throw away from Anantara and I walked over for my favourite night market shopping. Woohoo!

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The night bazaar is said to be one of the best night shopping places in Chiang Mai! Indeed, there are many many many things to see and buy.

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Similarly, Kalare Night Bazaar is a great food and shopping center. These places are very nearby one another, and almost connected, so there’s really too much shopping to be done!

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There happens to be a ladyboy show as well, and you could take a picture with them for 100 baht!

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After the long hours of shopping, I had an hour of thai massage for only 200 baht. Cheap leh, that’s only SGD$8 for an hour!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Lugged all my stuff back to Anantara and slacked on the couch while waiting for my complimentary pick up back to Getaway Chiang Mai Resort & Spa. Super shiok, like a shopping queen!

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Today’s loots were lesser than yesterday ones, but I’m still super happy and proud about it!

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Sadly, the next morning, it’s time to part Chiang Mai. Nonetheless, I tried Dairy Queen for the first time at Chiang Mai Airport. The sauce for the hot dog bread is super nice~

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Travelling makes me happy as I can explore all I want but it does get a little tiring at times too. Nevertheless, it was a great trip. Thanks for reading!

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