Backpacking Indochina: Tripping in Chiang Mai

Part of my original itinerary involved volunteering at the Elephant Nature Park. I imagined myself spending a day with elephants, getting close to them, walking with them, bathing them. But alas, the fates did not see me fit for this endeavor as there were no longer any slots available for me. So, what can a solo female traveler (who suddenly had a baht surplus but cannot shop!) do instead? The great thing about Chiang Mai is that there’s plenty of stuff to do! There are outdoor activities, day trips to Chiang Rai and other nature trips. But since I was feeling a bit bummed (and once again under-prepared!), I opted for some low-key tripping in Chiang Mai. After having exhausted myself with temple hopping for the past few days, I decided that it was time for a change of scenery.

Read more: Wats to see in Chiang Mai and 309 Steps Up Wat Doi Suthep

Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Park

The Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Park is an 80-hectare garden that features thousands of species of flowers and trees. It is named after Thailand’s national flower Ratchaphruek  or golden shower tree. Because of the vastness of the park, there is a tram available that picks up and drops off visitors at certain stations. Riding the tram is unlimited and is also a good way for resting and taking cover from the harsh tropical sun. I was there for only an hour and a half and it was definitely not enough to be able to see all the gardens. When I go back to Chiang Mai, I’d spend half a day here.

Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Park Backpacking Chiang Mai Chasing Jayce

The impressive gates of the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Park.

Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Park Backpacking Chiang Mai Chasing Jayce

First stop: the Orchid Pavillon.

Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Park Backpacking Chiang Mai Chasing Jayce

Inside the Flora Glasshouse.

Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Park Backpacking Chiang Mai Chasing Jayce

Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Park Backpacking Chiang Mai Chasing Jayce

 

Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Park Backpacking Chiang Mai Chasing Jayce

The Bonsai Garden and its mini trees.

Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Park Backpacking Chiang Mai Tripping in Chiang Mai Chasing Jayce

Since it was a Monday and it felt like I was alone in the entire place, I broke out into a dancer’s pose.

Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Park Backpacking Chiang Mai Chasing Jayce

At the Homage Garden.

Entrance Fees:
100 THB for adults
50 THB for kids
Tram Ride:
20 THB for adults
10 THB for kids
Golf Car:
600 THB for 1 hour, good for 3-4 pax.
Open daily from 8:00am to 6:00pm

 

Inside Out in Chiang Mai

Inside Out in Chiang Mai

Photo from: www.forbes.com

Yes, I saw Disney’s Inside Out while I was in Chiang Mai! Haha! I am always wanting to catch a film while I’m in another country and what better way to spend a hot and humid afternoon than inside a cold movie theater? The first time I saw a movie outside the Philippines was when I was in Ho Chi Minh and I had fun observing the moviegoing culture.

This time, I chose Major Cineplex at the Central Plaza Chiang Mai Airport shopping mall for my movie adventure. They were so high-tech there that I was a bit intimidated: tickets are bought from vendo-like machines and there were no ticket counters. The procedure was simple enough, though – choose a movie, choose a schedule, choose a seat (single or honeymoon), get the ticket – but I had to have this membership card to be able to do all those. So, I had to ask one of the attendants to assist me and she used hers so I can get my ticket. Pretty cool.

The one not so cool thing that I missed was that I bought popcorn from the Food Pavilion food court adjacent to the Cineplex. I forgot that the cinema has its own concessionaire and that they would not let my food court-bought popcorn inside. Oh, well.

One thing I noticed was there was only one checkpoint, located before all the six movie theaters.  They check the movie tickets and the bags there for food but there is no individual ticket-checking per cinema. Their honor system must be pretty solid since there’s no one to stop you from transferring to another cinema after your movie.

Meanwhile, the theater is cozy with only 10 rows with 16 seats each. The seats are plush and could probably be reclined depending on the weight of the moviegoer. The backrests however are relatively high, so I was hoping that if someone would sit in front of me, they’d be heavy enough to tilt down the seat. Good thing though that it was a Monday and there were only four of us the whole time. And good thing, too, because there was no one to witness me tear up towards the end of the movie.  Heehee.

 

First Time at the Fish Spa

I have always wanted to try the fish spa! Little fish nibbling on your feet’s dry skin and cuticle… but I never seemed to get around to trying it at home. So, after remembering that I’m not a fan of Thai massage, I just opted to do the fish spa. I went to the Beary Bear Fish Spa. It was pretty exciting!

Rates:
99 THB for 20 mins
150 THB for 50 minutes
249 THB for 2 pax for 40 minutes

Fish Spa Backpacking Chiang Mai Chasing Jayce

The little kid was having fun but the lady didn’t seem to enjoy it that much.

First, they asked me to wash my feet at the washroom. Then, I had to roll up my jeans before I lowered my feet into one of the aquariums where tiny fish swarmed to greet my toes. It tickled a lot! I was checking out the fish inside my chosen aquarium and I saw the biggest ones only resting at one corner. I was so relieved! So for the next 20 minutes, I was able to find out what it was like to be eaten alive by fish. I mean, my dead cuticle. It started out really well and fun but there was this one annoying fishy who bit a tad too hard. I kept on kicking it away whenever it went closer. But aside from that, it was a pretty good experience.

Fish Spa Backpacking Chiang Mai Chasing Jayce

Chubby legs and tired feet at the fish spa.

 

And that was it for my stay in Chiang Mai. The following day I would be off again to another exotic location: Siem Reap in Cambodia. I was pretty excited because I was finally going to meet up with my sister and some friends. I was already feeling a bit melancholic and wanting some company. It was the longest that I had travelled without company and I guess a week without friends could do that to you.

Watch out for the next post: 4D3N Chiang Mai itinerary, Budget and Travel Guide

Read more: My (mis)adventures while backpacking around Indochina.

August 24, 2015 Chiang Mai, Thailand

***Photos were taken using iPhone 6 and GoPro Hero 4 Silver

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Jayce Cairo

Jayce is a linguaphile who speaks four languages and currently works as a translator to finance her various interests. Scoring very high on “Openness to Experience” on the Big Five Personality Test, she is an avid globetrotter who aspires to retire at 35 and travel for the rest of her life.

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