Thailand Honeymoon: Chiang Mai
After a few days in Bangkok, we flew to Chiang Mai, a quiet city in northern Thailand with a mountainous backdrop. We stayed at 137 Pillars House, a small boutique hotel with an unbelievable staff.
Mr and Mrs Smith suggested this hotel, and we couldn’t have been more pleased! When you book their honeymoon package, you are greeted with a bottle of Champagne and dessert. I had to pass on the Champagne, but the dessert was a pregnant lady’s dream 🙂 Pillars 137 House gets its name from the original house, which had 137 pillars as the foundation. 100 years and a massive restoration later, the original house is now the library and restaurant of the hotel.
Our favorite thing to do in Chiang Mai was participating in the early morning alms in the old town. It’s when you hand out food and flowers to Buddhist monk novices before the day starts. The food they receive is what they will have to eat for the rest of the day, and it’s believed to be good karma to do! This is done every morning at around 5:30a-6a when monk novices leave their dorms to go to Buddhist school. Just take a tuk-tuk from Pillars 137 to get there, the drivers will know where to take you. There is a food market that opens early in the same area where you can buy the meals.
Once you start seeing the monks make their way to school, you will find they carry small baskets. As you approach them – wearing modest clothes and with your head down, they open the top of their baskets so you can put your alms in. Don’t touch them, they go through a purification process otherwise. After you place your offerings in the basket, they will say a prayer to you. You can just keep your head lower than theirs when this is done, or remove your shoes and kneel down like the locals do.
One of the most recommended things to do in Chiang Mai is to visit elephant reserves, and help the staff with day-to-day tasks like giving elephants a bath and feeding, as well as learn about these amazing creatures that are the icon of Thailand. They book several weeks to months in advance, so make a reservation asap! We can only recommend visiting camps with ethical practices about their animals, and Elephant Nature Park was where we tried going. These gentle giants aren’t meant for carrying people on their backs all day, so an easy way to filter out camps is by the photos they show and you will quickly pick up on what is a tourist trap and what is a serious elephant reserve (the same goes for other animal attractions like tigers, monkeys and cobras). Chiang Mai also has a large evening market that opens after 7p. Though not as large as Chatuchak in Bangkok, there are many things here you won’t find elsewhere. Visiting Wat Phra Doi Suthep and its famous steps is a must see!
Flying from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is a short hour long flight, and the best way to travel in Thailand if you’re short on time like we were. Traveling by train to Chiang Mai would take about 8 hours, a precious day or night of sleep! We found the best places for domestic flights to be Kayak and Air Asia, but Mr and Mrs Smith’s concierge can also help you find the cheapest flights online. The luggage policy on both airlines we flew – Air Asia and Thai Air – are similar to the ones in the US in terms of carry on. Checked bags are charged a fee depending on the size, but you can get a discounted rate when you book with the flights.
What to pack for Thailand:
1. A pair of light colored pants, for cooler days and flying.
2. Short shorts are a nono outside of a beach resort in Thailand, so pack longer length ones like these bermuda shorts.
3. A maxi dress can also be worn for visiting temples instead of pants, just bring a scarf in your purse to cover your shoulders
4. A flowy short dress for walking around town
5. Comfy walking shoes and sandals
6. A hat to protect from the scorching sun
7. A white shirt that goes with everything, including your maxi dress and 1-2 tops like this one
8. A bathing suit for the pool and if you’re headed to the beaches
Mr and Mrs Smith also offers a Just Married Pass that covers room upgrades on all hotels during your honeymoon and exclusive perks to pamper yourselves. They can help you set up a honeymoon registry and suggest must see places and must do activities that will keep your honeymoon off the beaten path.
Visit our Honeymoon and Southeast Asia Honeymoon boards on Pinterest for more, and be sure to check out Mr & Mrs Smith for your honeymoon! Next week we will share about our next stop, Chiang Mai + tips on what to pack and how we traveled domestically in Thailand.
My husband and I visited Elephant Nature Park and it was the highlight of our trip. I also highly recommend spending time in the little town above Chang Mai called Pai. We had to rush through to make our reservation at Cave Lodge (also amazing) and I wish we could have spent time in that little paradise. Also, renting motor bikes to go up to Cave Lodge was a highlight! Such a great post, thanks!
Some our photos from that area, if anyone is looking for more info!
This post is just beautiful. Now all I can think about is summer time and beautiful beaches!
This post is really informative, but i like the pictures, nice combination of colors… !!
Thanks for the post.
Chiang Mai would make an absolutely perfect honeymoon destination! I was lucky enough to visit this past summer and was amazed by the scenic views while riding up the mountain to that gorgeous temple with the golden serpents. Hope you had a wonderful time! <3
Hello! I’m so glad I ran across this post. My fiance and I have picked Thailand as part of our honeymoon. I was a bit apprehensive about it at first because of the whether during this time of the year (end of September/early October). We debated about it for awhile, but ultimately picked to go right after the wedding (the fiance’s request) and we had always wanted to visit Thailand. So we are braving the weather and the political turmoil. With that said, we have a full 2 weeks including travel time for our honeymoon. So far we have decided to got to the Maldives for 4 nights (flying out from Bangkok the day after we arrive) and then return to thailand for a full 7 days before leaving to go back home. We’ve booked flights and hotel for the maldives but are now just trying to figure out what we’re going to do during the 7 days in Thailand. We definitely wanted to see Chiang Mai because it sounded like a great cultural experience and adventurous area but less busy than Bangkok. We don’t know how much time to spend there. We fly into Chiang Mai late Sunday night. We leave to return home from Bangkok the following week also on a late Sunday night. Any recommendations on how to spend our time?
Chiang Mai is absolutely beautiful! Your accommodations were amazing.