Omg, I’m so excited to tell you about Thailand I don’t know where to start.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand reached out to me about their yearly campaign Amazing Thailand Women’s Journey. Every year in August, Thailand celebrates women & tries to make it easier for foreign women (solo or not) to visit Thailand. Every August. women get expedited lines at the airport (‘pink lanes’), free SIM card, deals on taxis, accommodations tours – you name it.
You know me, I love the idea of encouraging women to travel more – it’s very empowering and soul healing for anyone but as a woman who traveled solo a lot and was in some dodgy situations myself, I understand why so many of women are hesitant to take off on their own. And today, I want to tell you that I had nothing to worry about as a woman in Thailand.
This was my second time in Thailand and every time I love it more and more. I never ever felt in danger or disrespected, treated less of a human – you name it. Women in Thailand have a strong position in the society and I really like the gender dynamics there. Since it was supposed to be an all girls trip, I couldn’t take Michael with me (sad face) but instead I took my friend Lisa (who’s also an influencer) and I’m glad I did, because traveling with girls is so much fun in its own way too!
I want to share with you my itinerary so you can get an idea of what 10 days in Thailand can look like. In this post, I will talk about Chiang Mai, in the next ones I will tell you more about Koh Samui and Bangkok.
To be honest, I was never particularly interested in visiting northern Thailand only because I thought of Thailand as the land of beaches and ocean, so why go inland? If it wasn’t for this trip, I would not plan to go there, but boy, I would miss out big time. Chiang Mai was awesome!
Lisa and I got picked up by Tippie, our guide – a sweet lady in her 50s who always couldn’t believe how obsessed we are with taking photos 😃 For the first few days, I stayed at the Akyra Manor Hotel, one of the best designed hotel I’ve seen. It was very modern, had a giant outdoor bathtub right in the middle of your suite & a glass pool on the roof (epic photo to follow).
The following day we kicked off our trip with a two hour massage at Oasis Spa – I don’t think I ever had a massage this long but that was only the beginning of my massage overdose on this trip haha. For lunch we were supposed to try the traditional Northern Thai soup called Khao Soi (it’s a curry soup base with rice noodles). Up until that moment, I thought nothing will ever come close to my green curry obsession in my life, but I was wrong. KHAO SOI is THE BEST. Tippie took us to a small local market (hole in a wall kinda place you would never run into as a normal tourist). The soup was only 40 baht (a little over one US dollar) but it changed my life forever (I was devouring the soup at the table looking up restaurants in LA that serve the soup). So so good. If you ever run into a Northern Thai restaurant, do yourself a favor and try it! 😉
After lunch, we went to visit a few temples with my favorite one being the silver temple (no women allowed inside, but that’s okay, because we went to a few other temples later on).
That afternoon, we met up with Acyra Chiang Mai executive chef Phubase Chuprakong who took us shopping to a local market for some ingredients to make dinner with that evening. I saw soooo many fruit and veggies I have never seen in my life! So fun.
After we got back to the hotel, we went upstairs to try some super fancy drinks & I have to say it was one of the best moments in the entire trip. There were 7 of us – Lisa and I, Anita & Ilona (two magazine writers from Canada), Tippy our guide, Apple – a TAT representative & a hotel marketing manager (also a woman) and we were just laughing, sipping super fancy cocktails & having a really fun girls’ time. That night chef Phubase cooked a feast for us, but the best part was of course the green curry. I dare to say it was one of the best green curries I had in my life & chef was kind enough to share the recipe with me (posted all the way at the bottom of this post).
The next day, we moved from Acyra to Anantara & had yet another massage session. The bed was heated & soft as a cloud, I felt very relaxed. Our room at Anantara was huuuuge & I love that they serve Green curry for breakfast haha:-)
In the afternoon we drove out to the footsteps of Doi Suthep visit Naenna Studio. Naenna Studio (http://www.studio-naenna.com/products.html) is ran by an English lady called Patricia who employs women from local tribes to create beautiful sustainable clothing. I’m not so much into fabrics, but I was very inspired to meet someone as visionary as Patricia. The studio uses eco-textile and is totally faire trade – meaning that women get paid well for their work (textile industry is among the most corrupted and exploiting one in the world – think of all major multi-billion dollar clothing companies using sweatshops to make their products). It was very eye opening to see the entire process and realize how much it depends on me (buyer) when it comes to conditions textile workers live and work in.
That evening we had the most wonderful dinner at Villa Mahabhirom (which means ‘a place of great pleasure’ in Thai) – a hotel which is made up with old Thai villas shipped from all over Thailand. Lisa and I loved the design so much, we came back to the villa the following day to take some of these photos.
On our last day in Chiang Mai, we visited Patara Elephant Park. As a huge animal lover, ex vegan and now pescatarian, I always always check on elephants parks to make sure they don’t abuse/torture the animals. I also strongly encourage you to never ride elephants & do your own research about parks you visit. In Patara, I didn’t see any pokers or sticks or chains so to the best of my knowledge, elephants seemed happy, however checking on current reviews of every animal place is so important. If in doubt, it’s always good to look for elephant sanctuaries, not parks.
Just take a look at these beautiful creatures. Best day ever.
And then green curry recipe 😉
150 gr meat
50 gr apple eggplant
20 gr big red chilli
2 tbs fish sauce
2 tsp palm sugar
100 gr coconut mlik
20 gr chicken stock or veg stock
kaffir lime leaf
green chilli paste
10 N fresh green chilli
1 tsp black pepper seed
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp cummin seed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp galangal
1 tsp lemongrass
1 tsp kaffir lime skin
1 tsp coriander root
1 tbs garlic
1 tbs shallot
1 tsp shrimp paste