A Chiang Mai Based Break with Kids

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A Get-Away That’s Great for the Whole Family

As you may have guessed by now, our little family loves to get out of Bangkok and explore Thailand whenever we can. After 7 years in the Land of Smiles, we can proudly say that we’ve visited/been through just about every one of the over 70 provinces in Thailand. The exception being, for obvious reasons, the provinces of the deep south. This past weekend, we decided to take a city-break in Chiang Mai. What follows is a breakdown of all our very family friendly visit to Thailand’s second largest city.

We caught the 6:30pm flight to Chiang Mai on AirAsia out of Don Muang. After collecting our luggage and rental car at the airport, we found ourselves at the Night Bazaar by 8pm. A bite to eat and a quick trip around the market was all we could muster as it was, by then, way past the boys’ bedtimes. So off we headed to our hotel(1) for a well deserved sleep.

We awoke rested and refreshed the next morning and drove down to the town of Lampang some 100kms south of Chiang Mai. This place is famous for its ponies and a temple which once housed the Jade Buddha. We indulged in a carriage ride which took us around to the most famous temples and a little museum/cafe which is well-worth visiting! The 50 baht entrance fee includes a cold mug of tamarind juice and sweet rice cake snacks – a big hit with both my boys!

Expecting Expats - Chiang Mai Based Trip Photo 1

Expecting Expats - Chiang Mai Based Trip Photo 2

Located further out of town is one of the loveliest temples I’ve seen in a long time: Wat Phra That. The province is also well known for their ceramics. There is a market in the parking lot across from the wat selling local pottery at very good prices. I must have bought 12 bowls of various shapes and sizes for the princely sum of about 300 baht.

That evening, back in Chiang Mai, we visited the Chiang Mai Night Safari(2). Despite the on and off again rain, we had a great time. My four year old is still talking about feeding the animals and petting the deer. And for those of you who might be wondering… as far as zoos go in Asia, this is one of the better ones.

Expecting Expats - Chiang Mai Based Trip Photo 3

Sunday morning saw us driving back down south again to visit the Thai Elephant Conservation Center. A lot has changed since we were last there 7 years ago. The site has undergone a bit of a facelift which no doubt reflects the donations that are pouring into such a world renowned center. Yet still, it remains a place where the main goal is the rehabilitation and care of Thailand’s majestic elephants. Unfortunately, dual pricing is very much in effect here and foreigners will pay nearly double that of Thais. I believe that we paid 170/adult. Entrance for the baby was free though. For your money, you get to see the elephants get a bath in the river, the elephant show (which is meant to educate the public about the roles that elephants used to play as true working animals. However, it still contains a certain amount of circus style tricks), a visit to the elephant nursery(3) and a visit to the elephant hospital. Elephant rides cost 200 baht for ten minutes or 500 baht for 30 minutes. And don’t forget to stop off at the gift shop and buy paper made from recycled elephant dung! You can also purchase paintings made by the elephants themselves. Prices range from 200 baht to 1200 baht. Talk about an original piece of art!

Expecting Expats - Chiang Mai Based Trip Photo 4

Expecting Expats - Chiang Mai Based Trip Photo 5

After seeing the elephants, it was straight to the airport to catch our flight back to Bangkok. We did all of this in less than 48 hours and not only was it easy, it was thoroughly enjoyable.

Over the years, we’ve learnt that there is a lot more to Thailand than Bangkok and the beaches. We’ve also learnt that we need to consciously carve out time in our ever increasingly busy work schedules to make time for family. And I would be the first to acknowledge that saying that is a lot easier than actually doing it. But this weekend reminded my husband and I just how precious these times are and how fortunate we are to be in country as amazing to explore as Thailand.

1. I almost always use Agoda to find great rates on hotels. This hotel did not charge extra for a rollaway bed or for children in the room. There is a pool, and breakfast is included.
2. When purchasing tickets, you can get “Thai rates” by showing a Thai drivers’ license. I would suspect that a copy of your work permit would be accepted as well. This saved us 500 baht per adult ticket. The baby was free.
3. We were lucky enough to see a 20 day old baby elephant with it’s momma this past weekend. It was truly something special to see. My 4yr old yelled, “Mommy! It’s Dumbo!”.


My name is Jodie. I'm a 38 year old Canadian working and living in Bangkok, Thailand. My husband and I are both international teachers - though I'm taking this year off to be a full-time mom.

When we're not busy with other people's kids, we try our hand at raising our own very curious nearly four year old son and his 9 and half month old brother. When it comes to parenting, like most of us, I’m making a lot of it up as I go along .

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