Exploring Chiang Mai as a solo female
Ryan and I had been to Thailand before, but we visited Bangkok and Phuket. We had a fantastic time the previous time we went to the country. The food was simply divine, the people were friendly, and the beaches beautiful.
I knew being back in Asia I had to come to Thailand. I had heard amazing things about the north, specifically Chiang Mai. I was told it had a very relaxing feel to it and wanted to check it out myself.
I remembered our first time in Thailand having massages for 5 - 10 USD. One of the first things I sought out to do was get a massage. The trick here is that you need to review a place before stepping into it. I have some pretty funny stories on what happened while I got a massage at a place we didn't review, let's just say it involved vaseline. Normally you can just walk into these places and get a massage on the spot. Please do remember to tip the person massaging you as they don't earn much from the business itself. One of the places I really loved for a massage is White Orchid massage.
Another thing to do is see all the intricate temples in Chiang Mai. There are over 300 Buddhist temples in the city. I stayed at a hotel called Villa Thai Orchid. It was next to a lot of different temples and allowed me to go explore them throughout the day and have a nice home-base close by.
A tour I ended up choosing in Chiang Mai was a hiking expedition to Doi Inthanon by Wonderful Eco Tours. It was a 2-3 hour hike through the forest learning about medicinal plants, local tribes and enjoying the local waterfalls along the way. My group had two young kids in it which I wasn't expecting as it was meant to be a full day trek. However, it was a really easy going day!
There are tons of markets happening every day, night and also on the weekend in Chiang Mai. I stumbled upon a few throughout my wandering. I thought it was really fun to check out the weekend market happening all around the old city. I also had a great time checking out the Night Bazaar market in the evening! I was hesitant to go because it was at night, but I felt really comfortable in Chiang Mai after a day or so.
I had such a delicious time exploring the restaurant scene in Chiang Mai. I am primarily vegetarian and was loving getting to go to all these amazing vegetarian restaurants. My favourite place I went to a number of times was, Morning Glory Thai Vegetarian Restaurant & Home Cookery Classes.
In Chiang Mai, I learned what airb&b experiences were. Since I really enjoy photography I took a class on using a vintage film camera. This was a private experience and allowed me to get to hang out with someone as well as have a local take me through some of the off the beaten path spots in Chiang Mai. I also got to snap pictures with a cool as vintage camera. Nutth, my host, showed me a really beautiful village filled with items made by local artist I would have never found on my own. This village is called Baan Kang Wat. The name of the experience was Snap Chiang Mai with a Vintage Camera.
Part of the reason I wanted to go solo-travelling was to figure some things out. I felt like I had been searching for something for a while and wasn't quite sure what that was. While researching things to do in Chiang Mai, I came across an experience called Soul & Energy Healing in the Forest. Something I failed to mention before was that I had received a bunch of coupons through Airb&b because they had to cancel some of my upcoming places to stay in Tokyo. These coupons were for experiences and accommodation. This enabled me to get to do a bunch of experiences for free. So while researching things to do in Chiang Mai, I came across this experience that happened to fall on my last day while in Chiang Mai. It ended up working perfectly because I wasn't sure what do on my last day since I would have to check out early afternoon and my flight to Tokyo wasn't until the evening. Also, it was summer and incredibly hot so the thought of walking through the city, sweating and then getting on a flight for 6-8 hours sounded awful.
I was picked up from my hotel around check out and was going to be dropped off at the airport for my flight. I knew I needed to do some soul-searching and wasn't sure what I was getting into but thought it was a good decision.
In this experience I met Naiyana, she has a retreat situated in the mountainside of Chiang Mai called Yardfahmadin. It was here that I sat silently for a few hours and reflected on my life and everything that had led me to that present moment. I got to speak with Naiyana about issues, and she explained my situation from the Buddhist perspective of karma. I won't go into great detail in terms of what occurred, but I highly recommend her to get you back in tune with yourself. She is a very beautiful person.
Overall, I had a really wonderful time exploring Chiang Mai on my own. I made new friends, got to explore a beautiful city and find what it was I was searching for. I felt completely safe and was greeted very nicely by strangers as well as offered food from monks.