Contributed by Johnny Graves
For most tourists, international travel ends up in Bangkok therefore I arranged my family to take a trip outside the Capital. We all agreed that the best way to enjoy Thai culture would be to take a trip off the beaten path. Initially, we decided to go East, but that changed after my kids heard about Chiang Mai. Later, I learned that they had watched a documentary on BestChoiceTV in our hotel room.
What Is It?
Chiang Mai is the second largest city of Thailand, which is tucked in middle of nowhere at the end of rail track to North. From the first day, it became evident that Chiang Mai was a laid back city where people were not accustomed to the busy lifestyle of metropolitan cities like Bangkok. It is not unusual for Westerners to hang there because it is regarded as the adventure capital of South Asia. Once in Chiang Mai, it didn't take us long to understand why travelers would like it.
Within first three days, we had already taken elephant rides, bamboo rafting trips and elevated canopy tours. As for more subtle fun, we wandered off to local monasteries some of which were located on a desolate patch of land, well hidden from the scrupulous eyes of every day tourist. Actually, my kids never wanted to leave that place.