Best Of Northern Thailand
Welcome to Northern Thailand, a region renowned for its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant local communities. From the bustling city of Chiang Mai to the tranquil countryside, Northern Thailand offers a unique and unforgettable travel experience.
Northern Thailand is home to a diverse range of attractions, each offering a glimpse into the region’s fascinating history and culture. Discover ancient temples and shrines, including the iconic White Temple in Chiang Rai and the ancient city of Wiang Kum Kam. Immerse yourself in local traditions and customs, from traditional hill tribe villages to indulging in Thai food and even floating down the river on a bamboo raft. Let’s also not forget the amazing elephant rescue sanctuaries that you can visit and even stay overnight at while you feed, bathe and even play with these incredible giants of the earth.
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In addition to its natural and cultural attractions, Northern Thailand is also known for its delicious cuisine. Sample local specialties like khao soi, a creamy curry noodle soup, and sai oua, a spicy Northern Thai sausage. And of course, no trip to Northern Thailand is complete without savoring some of the region’s famous street food, such as grilled pork skewers and mango sticky rice.
With its warm hospitality, rich history, and stunning scenery, Northern Thailand is a must-visit destination for any traveler. Whether you’re seeking cultural immersion, outdoor adventure, or simply a relaxing getaway, Northern Thailand has it all. So pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through this remarkable region.
Meet The Native Karen Tribe
Visiting the Longneck Karen Village in Chiang Rai is such a unique and fascinating cultural experience! You will get to witness firsthand the incredible culture and traditions of the Karen people, known for their beautiful long necks adorned with brass rings.
As you enter the village, you will be greeted by the warm and friendly locals, who will be more than happy to show you around and share their way of life with you. You can admire the beautiful hand-made crafts and even purchase some souvenirs to take home with you.
Please be respectful at all times and ask before taking photos of people.
Release Lanterns Into The Sky: Yee Peng in Doi Saket
Yee Peng is a popular festival celebrated annually in Doi Saket, a district in the Chiang Mai province of northern Thailand. It is also known as the Lantern Festival and is usually held on the night of the full moon of the twelfth lunar month, which falls in November.
The festival is celebrated by releasing thousands of paper lanterns into the night sky, creating a spectacular display of lights. These lanterns, known as khom loi, are made from thin paper or cloth and are decorated with various patterns and designs. They are typically filled with hot air using a small candle or a fuel cell, which causes them to rise into the air. This truly is a magical event and shouldn’t be missed!
Visit An Elephant Rescue Sanctuary
One of the most incredible experiences you can have in Northern Thailand and certainly my personal favorite is visiting an elephant rescue sanctuary. These sanctuaries are dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating elephants that have been rescued from abusive situations, such as the logging and tourism industries.
You can get up close and personal with these gentle giants, feeding them, bathing them, and even playing with them in the mud. But what’s really special about these sanctuaries is that they allow visitors to interact with the elephants in a way that’s safe, ethical, and respectful.
By supporting these sanctuaries, you’re not only helping to provide care for these incredible animals, but you’re also contributing to the conservation efforts in the region. And with so many sanctuaries to choose from, you’re sure to find one that’s right for you and your travel companions right here on Tripio.
So if you’re planning a trip to Northern Thailand, be sure to add a visit to an elephant sanctuary to your custom itinerary. It’s an experience you’ll never forget, and one that will leave you with a deep appreciation for these majestic creatures and the incredible work being done to protect them.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Buddhist Temple
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Ratchaworawihan in Chiang Mai is a stunning Buddhist temple complex that is one of the most iconic landmarks in Thailand. This magnificent site is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Chiang Mai and is sure to leave you in awe with its breathtaking beauty and rich cultural history. Even getting there is fun with a ride up in a funicular.
Wat Phra Kaew: Temple Of The Emerald Buddha
Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is one of the most sacred sites in the country, drawing visitors from all over the world to marvel at its beauty and history.
Wat Phra Kaew is home to the famous Emerald Buddha, a stunning statue of Buddha carved from a single block of jade. This incredible work of art is considered one of the most important Buddhist relics in Thailand, and is said to bring good fortune and prosperity to those who visit.
In addition to the Emerald Buddha, Wat Phra Kaew boasts some of the most intricate and ornate architecture in Northern Thailand. The temple’s intricate carvings, intricate murals, and stunning gilded decoration are a testament to the skill and creativity of the artisans who built it.
You can also enjoy the peaceful gardens and serene atmosphere of the temple grounds. Take a leisurely stroll through the lush greenery, or stop to meditate and reflect in one of the temple’s many quiet corners.
Wat Rong Khun: White Temple
Continuing on our journey through Northern Thailand, we come to another stunning temple, the White Temple, or Wat Rong Khun. Located in Chiang Rai, this temple is a shining example of modern Thai architecture and design, and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in contemporary art and design.
Unlike traditional temples, Wat Rong Khun is predominantly white in color, symbolizing purity and enlightenment. Its intricate carvings and decorations feature modern and unconventional motifs, including images of superheroes, movie characters, and even aliens. The temple’s unique design is a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of its designer, renowned artist Chalermchai Kositpipat.
You can explore the temple’s stunning interior, which is just as breathtaking as its exterior. The walls and ceilings are adorned with intricate murals that depict Buddhist teachings and modern-day themes. In addition to the main temple, the complex also features a museum and art gallery, showcasing the work of Chalermchai and other contemporary artists.
Wat Rong Khun is a fascinating contrast to traditional Thai temples like Wat Phra Kaew, and provides a unique insight into the modern culture and artistic expression of Northern Thailand.
Wat Rong Suea Ten: Blue Temple
As our journey through Northern Thailand continues, we come across another spectacular temple, the Blue Temple or Wat Rong Suea Ten. Located in the city of Chiang Rai, this temple is a relatively new addition to the region’s rich cultural landscape, having only been completed in 2016.
Wat Rong Suea Ten is aptly named, with its vibrant blue exterior and golden accents making it a truly unique and unforgettable sight. The temple’s intricate carvings and ornate decorations feature a mix of traditional and modern designs, creating a beautiful fusion of old and new.
Inside the temple, visitors are greeted with a stunning mural depicting the life of Buddha, rendered in shades of blue and gold. The mural stretches from floor to ceiling and covers almost every inch of the temple’s interior, creating a mesmerizing visual experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Wat Rong Suea Ten is more than just a temple, it’s also a hub of community activity, with local residents coming to worship and celebrate on a regular basis. You can take part in traditional Buddhist ceremonies and learn about the local customs and traditions that are so deeply ingrained in Northern Thai culture.
Wat Sri Suphan: Silver Temple
Pressing on, we come across another gem that is sure to take your breath away – the Wat Sri Suphan or the Silver Temple. Located in Chiang Mai, this temple is entirely made of silver, offering a mesmerizing contrast to the white and blue temples we have already explored.
The intricate details of the temple’s silver walls and ornaments are truly a sight to behold, and it’s no wonder that the Wat Sri Suphan has become one of the most photographed and popular temples in the region. You can explore the temple’s stunning interior, where they will find intricate murals that depict the teachings of Buddha in brilliant and vibrant colors.
But the Wat Sri Suphan is not just a feast for the eyes, it’s also a hub of cultural activity, with local artisans creating beautiful silverware and other handicrafts in the temple’s workshops. You can even participate in workshops themselves, learning the art of traditional silver-smithing and taking home a beautiful handmade souvenir to cherish forever.
The Wat Sri Suphan is also known for its beautiful and elaborate ceremonies, which are held throughout the year and draw locals and visitors alike. These ceremonies offer a fascinating insight into the rich cultural traditions that are still very much alive in Northern Thailand today.
Wiang Kum Kam
Moving on, we explore a fascinating historical site that is sure to capture your imagination – Wiang Kum Kam. Located just outside of Chiang Mai, this ancient city dates back over 700 years and is an important historical and archaeological site that offers a unique glimpse into the region’s rich past.
The city of Wiang Kum Kam was once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, and it is said to have been a thriving center of trade and culture. Today, visitors can explore the ruins of the ancient city, which include temples, palaces, and other structures that give a sense of the city’s former glory.
The highlight of Wiang Kum Kam is undoubtedly the Wat Chedi Liam temple, which features a stunningly preserved ancient chedi, or stupa. The temple also features intricate carvings and murals that depict the life of Buddha, making it a must-visit destination.
Explore The Region In A TukTuk
When it comes to exploring the vibrant streets and bustling markets of Northern Thailand, there’s no better way to do it than by riding in a tuktuk. These iconic three-wheeled vehicles are a common sight in cities like Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, and they offer a fun and exciting way to get around while taking in all the sights and sounds of the region.
Riding in a tuktuk is a thrilling experience, with the wind in your hair and the sounds of the city all around you. And because tuktuks are small and nimble, they can weave through traffic and navigate tight spaces with ease, getting you to your destination in no time.
But there’s more to riding in a tuktuk than just the thrill of the ride. Tuktuk drivers are often friendly and knowledgeable locals who can offer insider tips on the best places to eat, shop, and explore. And because tuktuks are open-air vehicles, you’ll have an unobstructed view of the city, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Northern Thailand.
Go Bamboo Rafting
Now if you’re looking for a more relaxing and scenic way to explore Northern Thailand, then bamboo rafting might be just the thing for you. This popular activity takes you down tranquil rivers, surrounded by lush forests and stunning mountain scenery, providing a peaceful and unforgettable experience.
Bamboo rafting has been a popular pastime in Thailand for centuries, and it’s easy to see why. The rafts are made from sturdy and lightweight bamboo poles lashed together, providing a stable and comfortable platform for your river journey. As you float along, your expert guide will navigate the currents and steer you towards some of the region’s most breathtaking sights.
Along the way, you’ll be able to soak up the peaceful ambiance of the forested riverbanks, spot exotic birds and wildlife, and even stop off for a refreshing swim in the cool, clear waters. And because bamboo rafts are eco-friendly, you can enjoy your journey knowing that you’re not harming the natural environment.
One of the most popular spots for bamboo rafting in Northern Thailand is the Mae Taeng River, which winds its way through lush forests and past stunning waterfalls. Here, you can enjoy a half-day or full-day trip, depending on how much time you have and how adventurous you’re feeling.
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a nature lover, bamboo rafting is a must-do activity when visiting Northern Thailand.
Indulge In Thai Cuisine In A Lush Setting
Of course, with all the exploring and adventure to be had in Northern Thailand, you’ll need to fuel up with some delicious food. Luckily, the region is home to some of the best cuisine in the country, with a wide variety of dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.
Thai cuisine is known for its bold flavors, using a mix of spicy, sour, sweet, and savory ingredients to create dishes that are both complex and delicious. And in Northern Thailand, you’ll find some unique and mouthwatering specialties that you won’t find anywhere else in the country.
One of the most famous Northern Thai dishes is khao soi, a hearty soup made with coconut milk, spices, and either chicken or beef, served over a bed of crispy noodles. Other must-try dishes include sai ua, a spicy sausage made with herbs and pork, and nam ngiao, a tangy tomato-based soup with rice noodles and pork.
And if you’re feeling adventurous, be sure to try some of the more exotic dishes on offer, such as fried insects or ant eggs. While they may not be for everyone, they’re a staple of Northern Thai cuisine and are certainly worth trying at least once.
But no matter what your tastes or preferences, you’re sure to find something to love in the rich and flavorful world of Northern Thai cuisine. So don’t be afraid to indulge in some delicious food while you’re exploring the region – it’s all part of the experience…..right says me the vegan! My personal favorites are Pad Thai, Massaman curry, Mango sticky rice and Thai iced tea with lychees.
Bonus: Best Place To Stay- Chai Lai Orchid
Chai Lai Orchid Eco Lodge and Cafe is an incredible place that may be my favorite place on earth. This Eco lodge is home to rescued elephants. You can feed, bathe, play, trek with and even stay overnight right beside these incredible animals in a bamboo villa. There are several treks you can go on to temples, waterfalls and even ride on a bamboo raft down the river. The food is so delicious and full of flavor. Indulge in a Thai massage on-site or get involved in a cooking class. Whether you spend the day or a few nights (or 2 weeks like me), you are sure to never forget this wonderful experience.
In conclusion, Northern Thailand is a region that truly has it all – from stunning temples and natural wonders to delicious cuisine and thrilling adventures. Whether you’re seeking spiritual enlightenment, adrenaline-pumping activities, or simply a chance to relax and soak up the natural beauty of the region, Northern Thailand has something to offer everyone.
So why not plan a trip to Northern Thailand today using the Tripio app? With so much to see and do, and so many unforgettable experiences to be had, it’s a journey you won’t regret. From the vibrant colors of the temples to the stunning scenery of the rivers and mountains, Northern Thailand is a region that will leave you breathless and inspired.
I hope you have enjoyed my blog on the Best Of Northern Thailand. Download the Tripio app now and start creating your very own custom itinerary for your dream vacation. Travel has never been so easy. Get Tripio to generate a custom top 10 just for you. Your dream vacation awaits and it’s as easy as downloading the Tripio app. Our travel experts have spent countless hours researching destinations so you don’t have to. What are you waiting for? I will see you in our next destination, till then keep traveling!
Interested in more of Asia, check out: The Best Of Bali
Island Enchantment Of Southern Thailand
–Written by Gemma Winchester, Tripio Guru
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