|Subject: Re: Chiang Mai, Thailand|
Hi Christine -
We were in Chiang Mai December of 2003 and I thoroughly enjoyed it there.
As for Bangkok, too hot, too congested and too polluted for me.
We were really happy with our hotel, Chiang Mai Plaza Plaza. Their web site is http://www.cnxplaza.com/. If you put the hotel's name into Google, you ll come up with lots of web sites that will offer you really good deals. Don't let the cheap(compared to U.S. )prices fool you into thinking this hotel isn't very good, because we liked it a lot and would stay here again if and when we return. The rooms are very, very large and all of the furniture is solid wood, no plastic here and very, very clean. Our price included the cost of quite a large and tasty buffet breakfast.
The experience of a life time for me was the elephant ride - don't miss it. Before the ride, there was a wonderful show with the elephants performing quite unbelievable accomplishments. After the elephant ride we went on a river raft ride - only me and my husband with a young man using a very long pole to keep it moving. No white water here at all. Then we went on an ox cart ride to a really elegant spa where we had a delicious buffet lunch. But after lunch it wasn't over. The entire afternoon we visited various places. The cost per person was about $30 or $35 for the entire day.
Another day we took a tour into the country side and visited a temple or two and a village hill tribe and I really forget what all else.
If you stay at the Chiang Mai Plaza, you'll be within 2 easy walking blocks of the Night Market, which I loved. But I would like to mention that it's far enough away from the hotel that you'll hear absolutely no noise from the goings on. They have so very many bright lights on to highlight their wares I was sweating from all the heat the lights generated. I wouldn't have missed the Night Market. An experience as they say.
One block away from the Hotel is the most marvelous restaurant called the Whole Earth. It's set in a traditional Thai-style wooden house amid landscaped tropical gardens. You can either eat inside or outside on the veranda. The place is spotless and the food out of this world with prices you won't believe. For the two of us including appetizer, main course, drinks and dessert ordered ala carte I believe the cost was somewhere between $20 and $30 but I think closer to $20. Mostly vegetarian, but they do have some meat dishes - so yummy! Again, if you put 'Whole Earth Restaurant in Chiang Mai' into Google, you'll get all the information you'll need about the place.
We also had a terrific meal at a - and probably the only - German restaurant in town. I don't remember the name, but it's across the side street from a very new and modern pharmacy located on the main drag where the Night Market is. The place was very, very busy and provided a wonderful change of pace from the very delicious Thai food we had been having.
As for trekking, can't help you at all with this. Have yourself an absolutely wonderful time and enjoy! Rose - Los Angeles