Chiang Mai

I didn't initially know what to expect when staying in Chiang Mai. It ended up being one of my favorite places in Thailand and I find myself always daydreaming about going back. It was so beautiful and the people were so generous. I had to document what I loved, what I wouldn't do again, and some tips. I refuse to mark Thailand off my bucket list because I want to go back again and again.

Visit the Local Markets
Local Markets in Chiang Mai are most popular on Sunday. There's a market that's open a few times a week that is underground. My oh my, it is insane. Mr. Schroeder kept saying, over and over again, "How do we go home and even explain this to people? It's THAT crazy!" I concur. The photos don't do justice, so you'll just have to go visit these markets. The food is so fresh and delicious!


Visit Elephant Sanctuaries (and do your research)
If you haven't heard already, Thailand has been infamous for elephant abuse. Before going to Thailand, I did a crap ton of research on the most reputable companies. There were so many videos going around on Facebook and Twitter explaining that tourists who ride elephants are so selfish because they aren't thinking about what those elephants go through. It's certainly very sad. Most of the sanctuaries won't actually allow you to ride elephants; however, some do! Be sure to do your research to make sure you aren't supporting awful animal abuse. I did some research and have left what I have found below for reference.

1. Thai Elephant Conservation Center
2. Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary
3. Elephant Nature Park

To view information on cost, what's included, location, and more details, click here. 

One thing I didn't even think about when riding an elephant was WHAT TO HANG ON TO. They didn't have anything except their cute little prickly heads to hang onto. You don't realize how high up you are until you're sitting on there looking at the ground, ha! Another thing we got to do was feed the elephants bananas and bathe them. It was a blast!

Visit Bai Orchard and Butterfly Farm
Mr. Schroeder and I aren't really into tours, but one private tour we went on took us to the Bai Orchard and Butterfly Farm. It did not disappoint. Though we only stayed there for a few minutes, the butterfly farm was unreal! Outside of the farm, you can walk around and view some crazy beautiful plants and flowers. I'd highly recommend visiting this, even if it's for 10-15 minutes. We loved it!

Eat Pocky's. Lots of Them. 
The other day,  my mom was like, "What's a pocky?" If you haven't had a Pocky, you can try them out by going to your local WalMart and navigating to the Oriental aisle. Personally, I absolutely love them. Trevor calls them "air food" because he thinks all they are is 'air.' But it's YUMMY air! ha! When we first got to Bangkok, I was completely dying over the selection they had. I wanted to try all of them. Here in Utah, I've only ever seen strawberry and chocolate. If you go to Thailand, please just try some Pocky's. And tell me what you think. I promise they're de-lish, even if they just taste like air! 

Go on a small hike (*cough* walk) to Mok Fa Waterfall
Initially, we were told that the Mok Fa Waterfall was a hard hike,but a short hike. I'm not quite sure what their definition of 'hike' was, but Mok Fa Waterfall is a must-see. As with most things in Thailand, pictures just don't do justice. The water was falling so hard and it was incredibly beautiful! Also, if you happen to bring a GoPro, good luck getting good pictures. Ha! Our GoPro is waterproof, yet still had water marks all over the camera. Must of been that crazy water pressure? 

Ride in a freaking TukTuk
Every piece of advice I read prior to going to Thailand mentioned the absolute need for riding in a TukTuk. We went to a couple of different temples and hired a TukTuk and had thee best time. It was nearly impossible to get a good photo, but this is a MUST! I'll be posting a video in the next few days that will show it better.

Visit Hundreds of Temples (but really..)
One thing that was extremely intriguing to me, even before we arrived in Thailand, was the Buddhist temples. I wanted to make sure to visit quite a few of them because of how gorgeous and interesting they were. One thing I would recommend is to stay in Old City in Chiang Mai! We stayed here and didn't need a taxi pretty much everywhere we went .We were able to walk everywhere and in the span of 2 blocks, you're guaranteed to see like 10-15 temples. It's pretty unreal and awesome! This particular temple below is Doi Suthep. We had quite the experience at this temple. My recommendation? Cover up! I didn't do my research (that was bad of me) and I was referred to the "immodest table" to get a long skirt and something to cover my shoulders and arms. Keep this in mind when visiting temples, as it is considered disrespectful to show a lot of skin.

Another thing that you will probably want to be aware of is that oftentimes, monks will encourage you to worship. Now, Mr. Schroeder and I had absolutely no idea what we were doing. We didn't know if it was a bad idea to worship in the temples and we had no idea how to worship. The monks encouraged us to come in, donate money to them, and pray to Buddha. They flicked water on our heads and tied a yarn around our wrist while chanting. Something I wish I would have done was get the prayer in English so I knew what was going on. It was super comical watching Trevor. He was so uncomfortable. He was super worried that we had become Buddhists without knowing it. Ultimately, I think it was a super great experience, just interesting. And comical, especially if you're traveling with Mr. Schroeder.

Drink Fresh Coconut Water (Well, if you're into that sort of thing)
Everybody told me that drinking fresh coconut water was a must while traveling through Thailand. I'm not a fan, but Mr. Schroeder was excited to try it out. I took the obligatory photo of him with his coconut. Then I happened to snap one to get his reaction. He didn't like it either. BUT. As my mama always says, it's something that everyone must try. So give it a shot! Nobody said you have to buy another one.

Tiger Kingdom
Tiger Kingdom was included in a tour that Mr. Schroeder and I did. When I got there, I instantly couldn't shake the feeling that these tigers certainly seemed like they were drugged or something due to how loopy they were (and, tired, like the little guy in this photo). Let's just say...In my own humble opinion, I don't think this place is entirely ethical. There are so many opinions out there, and while I don't want to cause any controversy, I don't think I'd recommend this place, nor do I think I would go back. As much as these sweet little tigers are the sweetest things to see and pet, it broke my heart more than anything.

And last..but not with your GoPro and take super awkward photos of yourself before lounging at the pool.

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