Thailand, Chiang Mai
This city situated on the country's northern rocky mountains is host to beautiful ancient temples, as well as a plethora of stunning natural attractions all within striking distance. Sacred mountains (translated in ‘Doi’ in Thai) such as Doi Suthep and Chiang Dao are close by and most notably, Doi Inthanon - the highest peak of the country at 2,565 meters - is less than a 2-hour drive away.
Just 20 minutes away by car, you'll suddenly find yourself amid seemingly endless rice paddies and jungle, as well as slow-paced local villages such as Mae Kampong, famous for growing and harvesting tea, and its numerous picturesque trails and waterfalls.
Ran Tong Elephant Sanctuary
Founded in 2009, this truly ethical sanctuary is devoted to rescuing abused elephants from all over Thailand and nearby countries. Every elephant rescued is brought to the sanctuary and cared for with the utmost passion and enthusiasm. It's the perfect place for the whole family to learn more about these gentle giants and their long history within Thai culture.
For a closer encounter with the elephants, animal lovers may participate in a volunteer programme to lend a hand doing tasks such as cutting grass to feed the elephants and showering them. Till date, Ran-Tong has rescued over 40 elephants and you too can do your part to support its vital work.
Doi Inthanon National Park
One of the most popular national parks in Thailand, the breathtakingly beautiful Doi Inthanon is known for its stunning waterfalls, nature trails, remote villages, viewpoints, sunrise/sunset watching, birdwatching and cold weather at higher elevations. Easily accessible by car, the main park entrance is located just 70 km southwest from Chiang Mai city centre.
Also known as "The Roof of Thailand", Doi Inthanon National Park covers an area of 482 km² and is part of the Himalayan mountain range with elevations ranging between 800 and 2,565 meters. The highest peak is Doi Inthanon Mountain, which is also the highest peak in Thailand. Make sure to pack right as the park has high humidity and cold weather all year round.
For the Foodies!
Chiang Mai is a foodie's paradise with a rich food culture and bustling street food and night markets.
The famous Night Bazaar is a must-visit for the whole family. People watching is a favourite pastime here, and you'll also find a sprawling collection of indoor and outdoor markets with separate sections. Some feature rows and rows of handicrafts, from purses to sparkling jewelry; while others are solely devoted to food stalls offering a mouth-watering selection of local delights.
Spend a few hours at the bazaar hopping from stall to stall and you'll soon be shopping like a local.