Chiang Mai, the former seat of the Lanna Kingdom located in the mountainous north of the country, provides the perfect escape where you can live like a local. Join devotees as they offer early-morning alms to the monks; gain insight into Thai-family life with a hands-on cooking class in a historic house; and explore the streets and ancient temples by trishaw.
On arrival at Chiang Mai Airport, your driver and guide will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel.
Overnight in Chiang Mai
We’ll drive to the top of Doi Suthep Mountain at 1050 meters to visit Wat Doi Suthep. This serene and sacred temple features an elaborate gold-plated chedi with commanding views over the city and surrounding countryside.
Back in the old part of Chiang Mai we’ll explore the streets Thai-style – in a trishaw. We’ll pass through some of the most historic areas and visit two important temples: Wat Phra Singh, which houses the beautiful Lai Kham Chapel with its exquisite wood carvings and northern-style murals; and Wat Chedi Luang whose enormous pagoda was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1545.
For an insight into local life, we’ll visit Muang Mai Market which specializes in vegetables and fruits fresh from the nearby farms. Many of the local farmers come to this market to sell their produce direct.
Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Early morning at dawn, we have the unique opportunity to observe alms giving – a Buddhist tradition that dates back many centuries.
At a local temple we’ll watch as the saffron-robed monks accept alms and give blessings to the devotees. The small offerings of rice, fruit and other food placed in the monks’ black alms bowls provide the monks with their only source of food, and offers lay people the chance to gain merit to ensure a better incarnation in the next life. Almsgiving is an act of generosity which frees the mind of greed and selfishness and is practiced by all Thais. From early childhood, children are trained by their parents to give alms to the monks, especially to celebrate birthdays or on the first day of a new school year.
Today we’ll embark on a fun, hands-on culinary journey with a local family in their own home.
About 20 minutes’ drive from the city we’ll arrive at Hang Hong where the family live. Their traditional home is a living museum with a fascinating history. Our hosts will show us their family tree and old photos of their forefathers arriving in Chiang Mai on the backs of elephants over 150 years ago. We’ll learn all about their traditional way of life as well as explore the house and rice barn.
Together with the homeowner we’ll walk through the gardens and orchards to collect fresh herbs, mango, coconut and other ingredients for the cooking class. Together, we’ll then whip up some traditional northern Thai food full of flavor, freshness and plenty of spice! Finally, we’ll sit together with the family to find out more about Thai family life while sharing our delicious home-cooked meal.
This is an experience very different to the commercial cooking classes as it offers an insight into a traditional Lanna home and family.
Duration: 4 – 5 hours between 09:30 am – 02:30 pm or 04:30 pm – 08:30 pm
Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Transfer from the hotel to the airport for the departure flight to your onwards destination.