Le Meridien

Trip Report: South Korea and Thailand – Day 5: Chiang Mai

Our second day in Chiang Mai started early with a roadtrip to Tiger Kingdom about 30 minutes north of Chiang Mai. As this was one of the top “attractions” in Chiang Mai we were very excited to experience it for ourselves. What is not to like about getting in a cage with a 1,000 pound, live tiger? Oh wait, nothing.

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Chiang Mai Street View

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First glimpse of Tigers at Tiger Kingdom

Now, some notables on Tiger Kingdom:

-Entry is not cheap; this one of the more expensive activities during our entire trip (approx. $40 USD per person for the Big+Medium+Small package)

-Included in the price of your ticket is short-term medical coverage as almost all health insurances would exclude coverage for any incidents resulting from a Tiger injury (as they should)

-You can hire a photographer to accompany you and it might make sense if there are only 2 people in your party; however, with groups of 3 or more it would not make sense as someone is always available. The photographer is not cheap

-The Small Tigers were the most active and, quite frankly, the scariest to me as they were the most unpredictable. The Medium and Big Tigers were relatively calm and used to human interaction

-The Tigers appeared to be well-cared for and we never felt like we were in danger but Tigers are large, live, dangerous animals (it is important to note that accidents do occur at Tiger Kingdom locations – a tourist was killed in the Phuket location several weeks prior to our visit to the Chiang Mai location)

Overall, I would recommend to future travelers to make the trek to Tiger Kingdom as it is an extremely unique experience that provides lasting memories.

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Tiger Rules

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Small Tigers

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Small Tigers

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Medium Tigers

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Medium Tigers

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Big Tigers

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Big Tigers – Did not appear to like my wife pulling his tail!

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Group Photo – Big Tigers

We arrived back at our hotel just after lunch and headed out to enjoy the rest of the day with no plans. Wandered out to grab some lunch, tour some temples, and ended up staying out at some local bars before heading back for the night.

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Temple

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Lunch

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Local Bar – Zoe in Yellow

Coming up: Early morning flight to Krabi on AirAsia and 2 nights in Krabi at the Sheraton Krabi.

 

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Trip Report: South Korea and Thailand – Day 4: Chiang Mai

Today was a travel day from Bangkok to Chiang Mai to start our adventures in northern Thailand. We had chosen to fly Bangkok Airways from BKK-CNX given the convenient flight times and price (~$36 per person). We took a taxi to the airport in Bangkok, which was uneventful and enjoyed use of the lounge Bangkok Airways provides for all passengers. I wouldn’t go out of my way to use the lounge but it was nice to have complimentary soft drinks, popcorn, and tea/coffee; especially considering the price paid for our tickets.

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Bangkok Airways “Lounge”

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Bangkok Airways (BKK-CNX)

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Thai Smile next door (BKK)

Flight was uneventful and soon enough we were landing in Chiang Mai. Took a taxi from the airport to the Le Meridien which we had booked using Starwood points (3,000 points per night). At the time I was a Starwood Platinum so my wife and I received an upgrade to a corner suite, pretty awesome!

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Le Meridien – Chiang Mai

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Le Meridien – Chiang Mai

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Chiang Mai, Thailand (view from the room)

After getting settled into the hotel we set out to explore Chiang Mai. The hotel is a convenient ~10 minute walk from the city center and has a number of good restaurants / bars close by (also a night market on the side street bordering the hotel).

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Walk into town from Le Meridien (notice the crazy power lines everywhere)

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Small night market near Le Meridien

First impressions of Chiang Mai are fantastic. The town is clean, compact and generally a pleasant place to wander. Lots of great food and drink so no complaints from anyone. After spending the day wandering around it was back to the hotel to refresh prior to our Thai cooking class that evening.

We had a booked an evening session (~3 hours) through Asia Scenic Cooking School in Chiang Mai. They picked us up from the hotel in a van and brought us to the cooking school in the city center. Experience was a lot of fun and engaging; resulted in some delicious food as well! The only drawback was the length of the class; the last hour seemed to drag a little bit. I would still highly recommend this outfit in Chiang Mai.

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Asia Scenic Cooking School

After our cooking class ended we had made plans to head over to the Sunday night market, which is a well-known Chiang Mai attraction. The cooking school is centrally located and probably only 1 block away from the center of the Sunday Night Market so it is ideal to do the cooking class on a Sunday evening and transition directly to the market. Had a great time wandering around for an hour or so and then decided to call it an early night as we were all exhausted from a busy day of traveling and walking.

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Famous Chiang Mai Sunday Night Market

Stay tuned for the next post detailing our 5th day in country and our visit to Tiger Kingdom north of Chiang Mai. Never in my life did I expect to get in a cage with adult tigers; still look back at those pictures and question my judgement!