Oh don’t mind me, loving life 😊
If you haven’t been, why don’t you add it to your bucket list?
If you have been, why don’t you bring me with next time?
*This is NOT a sponsored post- we had an almost scary situation and as female travelers, the Chaing Mai Royal Guest House made us feel safer than a child in the womb.*
I know, the options seem endless. Choices can be daunting, you hop off your train and 20 hostel owners are trying to lure you into their property. Don’t fall for it! I’m sure there are plenty of respectable and beautiful places, but I can only vouch for one. The Royal Guest House Chiang Mai is a charming (in the looks, not size sense) place to stay for any traveler. We saw the traditional gap yah backpacker, families, older couples, and of course, female travelers.
You walk up a lush, vine covered walk-way to a beautiful pool where just enough people are to make you comfortable, but not too many to disturb your peace. The open-air lobby is traditionally decorated with a fountain and gorgeous, thick wooden furniture. There is a bar and restaurant serving amazing Thai and some Western food. The music is great, relaxing during the day, and a little more upbeat as the night goes on and guests trickle in to chat and laugh. Don’t worry, the music doesn’t get loud enough to reach the rooms. You can even drop off your laundry to be done by the evening- and it smelled AMAZING!
You have multiple room options for every budget. From shared bathrooms, to fanned rooms, to AC, to second floor with exquisite decor, any one can feel comfortable at The Royal Guest House Chiang Mai. The front desk girl is SO sweet and helpful, always smiling and ready to answer questions. Oh, and free wi-fi.
As female travelers, we felt extremely safe, even though we had a precaution to take. We had a slightly concern about some men that were making us very uncomfortable and unfortunately they knew our room numbers (now brothers and boyfriends, don’t jump me. It was via a tour) Although it wasn’t that big of a deal, we were still concerned. When we returned to The Royal Guest House Chiang Mai, I spoke to the front desk agent, a young man. He took it very seriously, asking plenty of questions, letting me know about the cameras, and spoke to both the security guard and the bartender. I even sat in the lobby area for an hour calming myself down. Every time a man walked in, all three of them perked up. I can’t express how relieving that was, because sometimes people don’t take these things seriously. The professionalism of the employees made the experience all that much better.
The best part? It is family owned and operated. As we were checking out, I was able to talk to the son, and compliment him on his employees. He was very interested in what we genuinely thought of the place and approved of his employees behavior. You can tell he truly cares about his visitors and his families business. I highly recommend this place for any traveller. Here is a link to their and hostelworld account –
As I said, this is not a sponsored post! I was so ecstatic to have The Royal Guest House Chiang Mai take our female traveler concerns seriously and hope the best for them.
First time in Thailand? Don’t be like me Avoid these rookie mistakes in Bangkok and beyond to ensure a majestic trip.
I’ll admit it. I’m a Thailand rookie. I booked my trip 3 weeks before I made my first trip and did minimal research, just like I did on my Europe trips.
Silly, silly girl.
Rookie Mistake # 1
Imagine this. Arriving at your Bangkok airport earlier than usual, about 1.5 hours before the flight, patting yourself on the back. You leisurely stroll into the airport and check the screens… Alas, your flight time isn’t up… Strange… You look around, realize this wasn’t the airport you flew into. In fact, you have no idea where the feck you are. Except that it’s the WRoNG FECKING AIRPORT !
Rookie Mistake # 2
So you sprint outside with bags and dismay in your face. A cabbie grabs you, gets you in the car, and then while driving says he will charge you 1700 baht- over 3 times the amount it took to get there. Your friend starts pleading for the meter, you start screaming to be let out of the cab. Your friend finally calms you down because of your first rookie mistake, you are in no position to bargain. He is the first person you don’t tip in Asia.
Rookie Mistake #3
You finally get to Chaing Mai, one of the most beautiful places you’ve ever seen. You’re comfortable, because you’re staying at -The Royal House Chaing Mai (lovely place- post coming soon!) and already have an overnight train booked. You and your friend are ecstatic about your first overnight train together, with AC and some wine… But then, the day before you leave, you get “the email”. In this email, you find out you are being bumped from a train to a friggin overnight bus. They swear up and down its very nice, has wifi, clean bathrooms, and you even get food! Lies from the tablecloth, my friends, lies from the muffuggin tablecloth. It was definitely an experience, but not one I’d recommend.
So in a nutshell
1) There are 3 airports in Bangkok. Remember which one is yours.
2) Always always ask the price before getting in a cab. We were properly screwed on this one, as most of Bangkok is metered. But in the rest of the world, I always ask 😤
3) DO NOT BOOK A TRAIN THROUGH 12GO! We had a reservation number and everything and they still bumped us. Bullshit in the purest of forms.
Overall, Thailand is super easy to navigate and 99.9% of people are genuine. Don’t let my mistakes deter you from visiting, learn from them loves!
Have you ever made a drastic rookie travel mistake?
There is an extremely responsible and ethical alternative to riding elephants in Thailand. No, I’m not referring to elephant nature park. Although they are a legitimate sanctuary, they aren’t the only one. Since last April, the Elephant Retirement Park has been housing and caring for former work elephants. Located about an hour from Chiang Mai, the operation is much smaller, only housing 6 elephants currently. There is absolutely no riding on the elephants. They don’t use bull hooks, which many people insist are necessary to make these majestic creatures “obey.” We were shown this is simply not the case.
- Baby Lanna being clumsy- the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!
These two were the only ones separated from the group because the baby could get crushed and the mother is still extremely protective. However, they were very trusting of humans which is beautiful.
We walk about a mile up the road to the sanctuary itself. After hearing each elephants back-story and details of the history of elephants protected status, we were able to meet them and feed them. Elephants are extremely sensitive creatures- they can die from broken hearts just like humans. So, you must meet them and earn their trust before playing.
After the meeting and feeding, we had lunch.
All you can eat Thai food, water, and tea/coffee.
We discussed more how to approach the beautiful creatures and avoid injury before swimming / bathing them. Then, we went out in the pouring rain and played.
We helped them cool down with mud. Had some fun, and then bathed them.
Without any hooks or harsh commands, the elephants honestly loved the attention. They weren’t made to do any tricks at all, and all the visitors were respectful.
That night, Tara and I went to the owners house and had dinner. We discussed that they are doing okay but without government funding, money is tight. I don’t even think they have a donation option online, so I’m setting one up. Medicine is the main thing they are worried about.
Not only should you research the park, and potentially donate, but if you have the chance to visit as an alternative to Elephant Nature Park, you should! The small scale offers more room and attention for each elephant from the handlers. They are given water to play in, bananas, sugar cane, and so much love. I fell in love with the Elephant Retirement Park and will be returning to volunteer 😊
* you shouldn’t ride an elephant because it can seriously injure them. They are not designed to be ridden. If you notice, their backs have a hump, unlike horses which are curved and are able to hold riders. Elephants strength comes from pulling and pushing with their trunks and strong legs. Not the back!