Exploring Northern Thailand

The sound of murmuring monks gently welcomes the morning. Their chants are mysterious and beautiful, bringing an air of serenity over the town. I wake up in my bamboo bungalow and step outside to catch the first few rays of light over the rainforest-clad mountains.
As day breaks, I think to myself that I never have seen anything more beautiful and like most travellers to Northern Thailand, I never want to leave.

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If there is one mistake you can make on your trip to Thailand, it is overlooking the North. Most visitors to Thailand head straight to Bangkok, followed by full moon parties, and beach days on Thailand’s idyllic islands. But travel just north of Bangkok and you will
be rewarded with astounding natural beauty, smiling locals, and fascinating history. True adventure-seekers will discover the heart and soul of the country lives in Northern Thailand.

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Your base in the North is Chiang Mai, which forms part of the Golden Triangle with neighboring Myanmar and Laos. Chiang Mai is both ancient and modern, home to more than 300 Buddhist temples, with the old part of the city surrounded by a wall. At the same time, Chiang Mai is developing a reputation for being South East Asia’s creative capital with a hip scene of cafes, restaurants, bars, chic boutiques and art galleries to spend your days or nights.

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Rent a scooter or hop on a bus and brace yourself for one of the most amazing drives of your life, through the mountainous countryside, stopping by cascading waterfalls and up winding roads on what is known as the Mae Hong Son Loop. Just a three-hour drive from
Chiang Mai on the Mae Hong Son Loop and you’ll find yourself in the laidback hippie town of Pai, a place I found myself not wanting to leave.

So what are you waiting for? Book a flight and get ready for Thailand or “The Land of Smiles”. Northern Thailand is a destination that will excite even the most seasoned of travelers in a wonderful sensory overload of sight, sound, smell and taste.

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Things to do in Northern Thailand:Exploring Northern Thailand-Vida magaz

• Don’t miss a trip to the Elephant Nature Park where visitors can play, feed and bathe with Asian elephants ethically.
• Get a Thai massage or learn the art of Thai massage yourself.
• Take a Thai cooking class up your culinary prowess by adding rice paper rolls, massaman curry and pad thai to your repertoire.
• Visit Thailand’s Wats (temples) and learn the ancient practice of Vipassana Meditation.
• Shop for unique gifts in South East Asia’s best markets and bazaars right in the heart of Chiang Mai.

Sasha Shumarayeva

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