A recap of my experience in Chiang Mai, Thailand: what to do, see and eat in three days!
Chiang Mai is hands-down one of my favorite places that I have traveled to. Not only is the food AMAZING, the people are so friendly and the culture and sights are inspiring. After an overnight flight from India to Thailand, my husband and I made it to the most anticipated stop of our SE Asian trip: Chiang Mai, Thailand. First order of business was coffee because, let’s be real, we didn’t get much sleep on our redeye and we wanted to be up to enjoy the day. We stopped at My Secret Cafe In Town and enjoyed an iced espresso and a Crownie, which was basically a chocolate chip cookie, a brownie, Reese’s, AND an Oreo all in one! Definitely need to work on recreating that one 🙂
Next, we were on a search for some real authentic Thai food. We quickly found that many of the top-rated restaurants were still on holiday, since it was the day after the New Year. So instead, we decided to check out one of the many small restaurants that the locals were dining at. Truth is, if it’s filled with locals it must be good! And it was. We found a little open-walled restaurant and sat at a cute table right on the sidewalk facing Wat Phra Singh, the Buddhist temple you see above. I had the Khao Soi, a delicious coconut curry noodle soup, and my husband had the Pad Thai, which he claimed to not-surprisingly be the best he’d ever eaten. After filling our belly’s we explored the Old City, checking out some of the shops and exploring the gorgeous temples. We finished the afternoon by getting a Thai Message. If you’ve never had one it’s a definite must do when in Thailand. It’s a mix between some serious yoga stretching plus a deep-tissue massage, and it cost a total of only about 7 USD. Money well spent!
During our first evening in Chiang Mai, we explored the Night Bazaar area by the river and dove into a variety of street food while enjoying live music in an open outdoor market. When in Thailand, just eat all the street food in sight. I promise you will not be disappointed!
For our second day in Chiang Mai, we had signed up for a 5-hour cooking class at A Lot of Thai, which is owned and run by wife and husband duo Yui and Kwan. This was by far the best cooking class I have ever experienced! After being picked up from our hotel by Kwan in their trademark blue Volkswagon van, we were brought to their home where we, along with five other couples, were taught how to prepare and cook three amazing Thai dishes by Yui herself.
Yui is a self-taught Thai chef with a passion for cooking and food, which was evident throughout the entire experience we had with her. You could just tell how much she loved food through her stories, her knowledge, and her understanding of flavors… and by looking at her expressions every time she took a bite of food. When I talk intuitive eating, she has it down! I vividly remember her saying that “food is not good or bad; eat what you like and enjoy what you eat. In the end it’s all about balance and everything will turn out well!” And this: “Stop listening to the media. If coconut cream was really bad we would have stopped eating it a long time ago.” I knew I liked her but this really made me smile!!
On our last day in Thailand we had the chance to help take care of six elephants at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary on the outskirts of Chiang Mai. We had a blast just hanging out with the elephants, feeding them bananas and squash, bathing them in mud, and washing them (AKA having a water fight with them!) in the river. Elephants are amazing creatures and truly gentle giants. Having the opportunity to interact with them at a sanctuary devoted to ethical and sustainable care of elephants was one we won’t forget. We finished the day by getting a chance to taste some local cuisine and take a short walk to a waterfall. All in all a great experience, one that should not be missed when in Thailand!
Our trip to Thailand was truly inspiring. Getting out of our little bubble allowed me to reflect on what inspires me and really understand and appreciate another culture. Cooking has always been a passion of mine and getting to try new flavors and cook with some of the best home cooks in Thailand really motivated me to continue sharing delicious recipes from all over the world with all of you all and my son at home!
I’m excited to announce that another way I will be doing this is by offering personal and group cooking classes in the Boston area. These classes are for kids, adults and families. I love to share my passion for cooking with you all and help you find the joy out of cooking and eating again!