Experience · Travel

A day in Chiang Mai (Doi Suthep Temple, Bhubing Palace, Night Safari)

After an ‘easy’ day (you can read here), the next morning we went to mountain area around 10 am with my friend. Before that, I went to a nearby market to find breakfast and bought a grilled pork skewer, then continue checking out the market area. It was a small market and a clean one too.

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I went back to the hostel first to eat the pork skewer. It was very delicious! Too bad I only bought 1 piece. And after I finished, my friend told me that they usually come with rice as well. Ugh.. missed a nice meal!

Around 10am, we left the hostel heading to mountain area. It took us around 1 hour to reach there. The best way to reach the mountain area is by motorbike or red car taxi. We went there with his car and it was hard to find a parking spot for the car. Very crowded with all the car parking around the area.

red car taxi chiang mai

Parking spot at Doi Suthep Temple

Doi Suthep Temple

Our first destination in the mountain was Doi Suthep Temple. There are many temples in Chiang Mai but this one is the most famous one. The entrance fee is 30 baht for a foreigner, and free for local. Before you enter the temple,  make sure you wear proper clothes. No tank top, No shorts, No mini skirts, etc. You don’t need to wear a long sleeve but you need to have a sleeve. For the bottom, need to be at least under your knee. Safer if you wear long pants or long skirts, but if you don’t have those clothes you can put on a scarf or borrow a cover from a counter there.

Doi Suthep Temple Entrance Area


Climbing up to temple area

One of the building in temple area
View from Doi Suthep Temple
View from the top. It was foggy at that time 😦
Doi Suthep Temple Chiang Mai
Many visitors inside the temple area

I don’t know much about this temple since my friend can’t explain anything to us, but it is a very beautiful and magnificent temple. It has a great view of the city as well (if not foggy). There is an area where you need to take off your shoes and walk barefoot, and this area is the main hall of the temple. Many Thai people do a prayer or ceremony there. It can be very crowded in there so be careful of your belonging.

Doi Suthep Temple Chiang Mai
People pray in Doi Suthep Temple

Doi Suthep Temple Chiang Mai

Doi Suthep Temple Chiang Mai


Doi Suthep Temple Chiang Mai
Pouring oil
Dragon Sculpture Stairs Doi Suthep Temple
Beautiful Dragon sculpture all the way down the stairs

On the way out, I saw one of the shops selling pork skin. Bought one bag pork skin with fish sauce for 60 baht.

Deep Fried Pork Belly in Fish Sauce

Royal Palace (Bhubing Palace)

Our next destination was Royal Palace of Chiang Mai called Bhubing Palace. It is located at the higher end of the mountain. We went up by car about 20-30 minutes and looked for a parking spot again. This time it wasn’t that bad. They have a parking area.

The weather there was cold for me! Luckily I brought my jacket. To enter the palace, we need to buy a ticket at the counter, 50 baht per person. For this palace, please wear proper clothes as well.

Once we entered the gate, the security guy asked us where are we come from. Then he ushered us to a lady who gave us a map and explanation of how to explore the palace based on the map.

Map of Bhubing Palace
Map of Bhubing Palace

This royal palace’s area is very huge. Make sure you’ve eaten before you visit it. I was hungry when I arrived there but thinking to just visit first for a short time. It wasn’t a short time in the end! We were inside for more than 1 hour and still have some areas which were not explored!

There are a lot of beautiful flowers. I love their giant rose. It was so big, as big as my face! (Nah, I’m exaggerating a bit… but it was really a big rose though). The buildings have a classic style. It is a very nice place to enjoy the nature and fresh air. You can easily spend 2 hours in that area.

I almost fainted when I exited the palace area. Too hungry! We immediately looked for food at nearby restaurants. No idea which one is good, we just went into the restaurant with most customers. The menu was on the table including the price. Luckily I was with my Thai friend so he read the menu for us. No English menu. We ordered Khao Soi, Laab Pork, and Pork Sausage. Khao Soi is one of the specialities in Chiang Mai, so you have to try it if you go there. I love it. It is a noodle dish with curry and chicken.



When our order arrived, I just realized that I should haven’t ordered Laab Pork! I was so tempted to order because I only remembered how delicious is the minced pork meat dish. I forgot about one important detail… it is VERY spicy 😦 The Khao Soi was not bad for me, but for my Thai friend it was bad and expensive than the one in the city. Well, kind of expected for a restaurant at a tourist spot. The pork sausage was very spicy as well! It has chilli inside it. I couldn’t eat more than one. In total, our bill was 415 baht.

After lunch, we headed back to the hostel. At least that was my plan because my camera was out of battery and I needed to charge it first. My friend suggested us to go to Night Safari right away but I told him that I would go there by Uber later. Apparently, he wanted to not let us waste any time so he silently drove us there!

Night Safari

I love seeing animals and especially in Safari, and I’ve never been on a Night Safari before so this is very interesting for me. From the outside, it looks huge and beautiful. Very promising! To enter the safari, we had to buy a ticket at the counter. There are differences in the prices between local visitor and foreigner. For example, the price for set B Night Safari for a local is 300 baht, while for a foreigner is 800 baht. It is pricey! We bought set B. It includes night safari (savannah safari and predator prowl), jaguar trail (walking route), night predator show, and tiger show.


Night Safari Chiang Mai Thailand

Main Stage Night Safari Chiang Mai


Activities Show Time



There is a timetable for each show so you better check it first and arrange how will you do the activities as efficiently as you can. The night safari has 2 routes at different places. The difference is at the type of animals shown there. Also, each route of night safari has 2 lines of queue, one has a Thai guide and the other one has English guide. Both start at 6.30pm. You can buy a basket of food to give to the animals as well before you enter the queue for the tram.

From my experience, you need to prepare some things before you do this night safari. First of all, you need a jacket because it’s gonna be very cold! Especially if you come from tropical country or city. The second thing, if you are like me who like taking photos, is a good camera for low light situation or just use it in video mode. I tried taking photo with my camera (after charging it with power bank) and it turned out bad. Couldn’t get a nice photo since the tram only stopped for a while and it kept moving so all the photos were blurry. I couldn’t use faster shutter speed due to my lens limitation, so I tried taking photos with my phone instead.


Failed attempt at photographing a deer


The Jaguar Trail or the walking route is really nice. I like it. The things that annoyed me was the group of tourists who didn’t respect the rule. It is said to keep silent and not to speak loudly, but they just keep talking as if they were inside their house. Also, another rule is not to use flash when taking a photo, and they did… I was so annoyed that one time I told them not to use flash.  They didn’t care about the animals at all, it is just a show for them.


Speaking about a show, I watched Tiger Show because it is included in Set B as well. I don’t like it at all. The tigers and lions were skinny and they looked scared. While other visitors were enjoying the show, I just sat there quietly.


After finished watching and doing the night safari, we looked for dinner. There are food stalls in the middle area. We bought some snacks to share, pork mushroom (20 baht), roasted squid egg small (60 baht), roasted squid small (70 bath) and orange juice (35 baht). They were quite nice. We finished on time just before the water fountain started.


Water fountain on the schedule was at 8pm, but it didn’t start yet. There was a dancing show which was started at the same time, and it was at the main stage. Everyone went to the main stage area to watch the dancing show and I was too lazy and tired to see so I just waited for water fountain show.

It lasted quite a while and we didn’t wait until it finished. I ordered Uber and waited at the designated location. If you want to use Uber, the best meeting point will be near the entrance to parking lot, away from red car area. You need to walk a bit but it is better than waiting near Giraffe Restaurant. Total cost from night safari to our hostel was 177 baht.

Beautiful sculptures at Night Safari Chiang Mai
Deer water fountain
Night Safari Entrance at night
Night Safari Entrance

Evening Snack

Yup, we were hungry again once we arrived at the hostel. Therefore we walked to the food market nearby and bought some buns and mango sticky rice again (yeah! they were so good and cheap that I could eat it every day).


That was it! I hope it can help you organize your trip in Chiang Mai and itinerary on how to spend the day there. The next day we didn’t go anywhere because it was raining the whole day. But we did go to a delicious burger place for lunch and tried a famouse pork rice for dinner! I love staying in Chiang Mai 😀

Thank you for reading this post!


Experience · Travel

Just Sleep @Box Hostel Chiang Mai

There are many hostels in Chiang Mai that you can choose when you’re visiting. I have no idea about which area is good to stay, hence couldn’t choose which hotel or hostel to stay. One of my friends lives in Chiang Mai and he owns and works at a hostel so I decided to stay at his place.

The place is called Box Hostel. They have 2 branches in Chiang Mai which are close to each other. I stayed at the 2nd location which is located at 49/23 Chang Puek rd. T.Sriphum Tambon Si Phum. If you’re looking for it on google map, search for “Just Sleep @Box Hostel”. While the other one on google map is the main branch (under the name Box Hostel).

This hostel has ladies only room, guys only room, and mixed dormitory. I chose ladies only room, and luckily by the time I was there, there were no other people in the room. So I had the room all by myself! Nothing wrong with staying with another person. I just not used to it, so I was a little bit nervous at first.

Room at Box Hostel Chiang Mai

In my room, there are 5 beds, which are 2 bunk beds and 1 single bed. Each bed has its own reading lamp, an electrical plug, a pillow and a blanket. There is a locker inside the room as well so you don’t have to worry to leave your important stuff. Each locker has a number which related to which bed you’re sleeping in. And each of them has separated keys.

Lockers at Box Hostel Chiang Mai

On the other side of the room, there is a small balcony with cloth hanger. They provide washing machine (it’s 20 baht per operation if I’m not mistaken), then you can hang your clothes on the balcony. From my room, I can see the terrace area as well.

In the bathroom, there are soap and shampoo. The shower also has a water heater so you don’t have to worry taking shower in cold weather. Chiang Mai is colder than Ho Chi Minh City. The average temperature when I was there was about 14 degrees Celcius. You have to bring your own toothbrush, toothpaste, hair dryer and towel. I brought all that plus my own soap, shampoo and face cleansing foam.

View from my room at Box Hostel

There is kitchen area with tables and chairs. You can use microwave and coffee machine there. They also provide snacks in a jar. There is a refrigerator as well, in case you bought something that needs to be stored in cold storage. They also provide water for drink and glasses.

The living room also very nice. There is a television but no cable tv, only local show and news. That is why they also provided many DVDs. We actually watched some movies during our stay there. There is a desktop PC which makes it easier to do online check-in or browsing something. There is free wifi as well though, so you can browse at your phone as well. It’s just that I like to do online check-in on a PC, more comfortable to see and confirmed.

Kitchen Area Box Hostel Chiang Mai

I especially like their terrace. Sitting outdoor while enjoying the birds singing (and sometime neighbour’s dog barking, only sometimes). Breakfast on the terrace is really nice!

They also provide cleaning service to tidy up your bed and wash the dishes, just like in a hotel. It was very quiet at night as well which is good. I could get a nice “me time” in my room without any noise. I didn’t turn off my reading lamp though because I can’t sleep in a pitch black room (plus I was thinking about Thai horror movie! Sigh.. me and my imagination..).

The only problem I had after my first night was the bed. The mattress is very hard. I’m not used to a hard mattress, plus I don’t have enough fat to cover my bone so it feels uncomfortable for me at first. I knew from a research that hard bed is actually good for your back. It prevents your lower back from collapsing when you lay on it. But after 2 nights, I got used to it and sleep really well on it. It’s amazing how the body can adjust to different mattresses.

DVD Collections at Box Hostel

Living Room Box Hostel Chiang Mai

On our check out, it was so early that the staff was not there yet. But they have provided a box to drop off the key. It was convenient and easy. We just dropped the key there and left to the airport.

Location wise, the Box Hostel is quite good. I like it because it near a market in the morning, and also near Chang Phueak food market in the evening. For lunchtime, you can walk about 15 minutes and there is an area with good restaurants. It also near several temples and a monument.

On booking.com, the rating for Box Hostel is really good as well. So, you should consider staying there if you’re visiting Chiang Mai. Thank you for reading!



Experience · Travel

Trip to Thailand (First Destination: Chiang Mai) – Part 1

This trip was actually very exciting because it was not planned! I needed to go somewhere to clear my mind and spend Christmas somewhere other than Saigon. Thailand is picked because I have several friends there (which I never met before, but I knew them for 7 years through an online game, and this was one of the reasons for the excitement).

I have 7 days until New Year, and I wanted to see Chatuchak Market in Bangkok on the weekend so the trip would be Chiang Mai first then Bangkok after. There are several airlines to fly to Chiang Mai, and I chose Nok Air because of the schedule was similar to my friend’s flight schedule. It has transit in Bangkok for 1.5 hours, at Dong Mueang Airport. I heard it’s a smaller airport compared to Suvarnabhumi Airport. And I never heard of Nok Air as well. It is one of the budget airlines from Thailand apparently!

On departure day

I went to Nok Air counter to check in. The staff asked me to show my return ticket back to Saigon. Hmm, this never happened before. Maybe because I only have visa now, no more resident card. I showed her my ticket and she finished the check-in. I also got a sticker along with a boarding pass. She told me to put the sticker on my chest once we arrived in Bangkok so that their staff can recognize me and issue the second boarding pass to Chiang Mai. Interesting. I’ve been in transit flight before but never had a sticker.

Nok Air Sticker

Since I still have quite some time I had breakfast first then when it was almost the time for boarding, I went to my gate. I sat on one of the seats there, and I saw a lady (the one that served me at the counter) was walking toward me and called my name. I was surprised to see here there, and surprised by the fact that she remembered me! She told me that she needs to change my boarding pass due to the seat next to me has a baby. She thought it would be inconvenient for me to sit with a family who has a baby. That is very thoughtful of her! I was amazed by the service.

I sat on aisle row, which was good. Easy to get out if I needed to go to the toilet. There were so many tourist groups in the flight. Mostly Vietnamese people, but there are some foreigners as well. The different thing about this airline compared to other budget airline is they gave us water! It was a small bottle, but still, very thoughtful. I saw the flight attendants also very detail on checking everything before taking off. They worked meticulously. If someone didn’t do something that they’ve been told of, the flight attendant waited until the person did it. It was not just a reminder.

They gave us an arrival card. I didn’t fill it out immediately which was a mistake because I had free time to do it on the plane and it could reduce waiting time when we transit. I will tell you more about this later.

Thai Arrival Card Immigration

Once we landed in Bangkok, I put on the sticker on my chest (as instructed) and tried to find the ground staff. But I saw no one. I kept walking by following the sign to domestic transit. There I found the counter of Nok Air and Air Asia. Yup, just two airlines, and small counter as well. I checked in to Nok Air and they asked about arrival card. I have to fill it up there because the next post is Immigration Passport Control. So I spent a little bit of time filling out the card, showed it to the staff, then she gave me my boarding pass.

Immigration counter was also smaller than usual. Only 3 counters there, and by that time only 1 was operating. After immigration, I had to go to security check where they don’t allow you to bring liquid. I had to throw away my water bottle there but kept the small water bottle from Nok Air.

Nok Air small water bottle complimentary

And voila! I was inside Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok. I heard this airport was smaller than Suvarnabhumi Airport, which is true, but actually, it was not that bad. There are a lot of places to eat, shops, cafes/coffee shops, and even 7-11. All needs are covered enough. So tempted to buy Anello bag but I survived! No shopping until I’m in Bangkok. That’s the plan. Although, technically I was at Bangkok airport…

Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport

I waited for my flight in one of the gates, but then I noticed the announcement for that gate was for another destination! Oh no! I was at the wrong gate! I quickly checked the schedule on screen again and found my correct gate. It was far… at the other side of the airport. Luckily it got delayed, so I still had time to walk and even wait there. Got delayed for 1 hour.

Arriving in Chiang Mai

When I landed at Chiang Mai airport, on the way to baggage claim I saw an airline staff hold a paper with my name on it. I approached her and she told me to follow her. She brought me to somewhere which apparently International Arrival Hall! Other passengers went to Domestic Arrival. Okay, so I flew on the domestic flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, but since I came from abroad I had to go to International Arrival. I was confused. My friend who flew from Indonesia at the same time was taking his bag at Domestic Arrival Hall. And I was on the other side of the airport! Anyway, I waited for my suitcase. It was taking so long to get my suitcase. An airport staff announced that there is a suitcase at the other belt. It was mine…

Chiang Mai International Arrival area

After I got my suitcase, the first thing I did was to exchange money from USD to THB. I exchanged it at SCB, seems like they have a good exchange rate compared to the other bank. But so much different though if you don’t exchange many.

The next thing I did was buying a sim card. I did some research before coming to Thailand and found out about this AIS sim card. It has a good internet connection and also a good deal for 7 days. Was 249 baht for 7 days internet, and surprisingly it lasts until now! So it is not like the tourist sim card that is expired after a certain time. My friend also bought local sim card but from a different provider. His was truemove, 299 baht for 8 days.

Thailand Truemove Tourist Sim Card

My friend landed before me with Airasia but he was at Domestic Arrival Hall, so I had to go there to meet him. It was a very easy access from Internal Arrival Hall. Once I got there, we were having a funny moment because I couldn’t find him nor contact him. His phone was out of battery! A friend came to pick us up and I never met him before so I didn’t know how does he look. It was so hard just to meet them even though the hall was not that big… Finally after about 10 minutes, I found both of them!

My friend came with a car so we went to his place easily, but if you don’t have anyone picking up you can always get a taxi to go to your hotel. It took us about 30 minutes to get to his place. He owns a hostel so we were staying there. It is called Box Hostel. Since there were no other customers, I could use the room by myself! Lucky me, because I never stayed in a hostel before and it kind of freaks me out a bit.

Chang Phueak Food Market

After resting for a bit, we walked out to a food market. There is one food market near the hostel, called Chang Phueak market. They have a lot of local food that we wanted! We walked around a bit and decided to order at Pad Thai cart. My friend ordered Pad Thai and I ordered Fried Mussel. We didn’t order drink because we still have leftover water from the trip.

Pad thai was really good. It was different than the pad thai that I ate outside of Thailand. Really recommended trying this. I love my fried mussel more though. It was so yummy and was not fishy (or maybe because I’m not that sensitive to fishy taste…). They were very cheap as well, 50 bath each. After dinner, I wanted to try Mango Sticky Rice. Of course, you have to eat this if you’re visiting Thailand! There were 2 places that sell mango sticky rice on that market, but the one which good was near the dessert cart, at the corner of the street. It was soooo yummy. I didn’t know that mango sticky rice can be more expensive than pad thai! It was 60 baht per portion.

Chang Phueak Food Market Chiang Mai

Chang Phueak Food Market Chiang Mai

Chang Phueak Food Market Chiang Mai

Dessert Stall Chang Phueak Food Market Chiang Mai

Best Mango Sticky Rice Chang Phueak Food Market Chiang Mai

Best Mango Sticky Rice Chang Phueak Food Market Chiang Mai

Best Mango Sticky Rice Chang Phueak Food Market Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

We walked back to the hostel and met my friend’s sister who was about to leave somewhere with their dog. She offered to drop us off at night bazaar. Of course, we took the chance! She drove us there and left us.

The area for night bazaar is really huge! They are selling any kind of stuff. Many stalls were there and very busy area as well. Be aware of pickpocket!

Chiang Mai Night BazaarDream Catcher Chiang Mai Night BazaarChiang Mai Night BazaarChiang Mai Night BazaarChiang Mai Night Bazaar

Most of the stalls here need to bargain, or else you will get a pricey item. You need to bargain at least 30% off. But this place is really nice to buy a souvenir. There are bags, shoes, ceramics, lamps, dolls, Thai seasonings (red curry powder, green curry powder, etc), watches, snacks, paintings, adult t-shirt, children wear, toys, and many more! I can’t mention it all. You can also get a foot massage and fish therapy. I think it is a fun place to visit if you don’t mind crowded place.

I bought some coin pouches for a souvenir. It is a handmade and very cute as well.

Chiang Mai Night BazaarFoot MassageIce Cream RollsAnusarn Market Chiang MaiCoin Pouches Handmade Souvenir Chiang Mai

There was a closed area as well, shops inside the building, but we didn’t see them all. I was tired and it was too crowded for me to continue, so we decided to go back to the hostel. We called Uber, and it costs us around 90 baht.

So far the first day was fine and nothing to worry. We rested for the day.

To be continued to day 2…