Chaing Mai is a gorgeous city with loads to see and do. There’s the markets, restaurants, elephants, cooking classes and temples. Oh the temples ! We were in the City of Chaing Mai for just over a week and it was jam packed! The only days we spent outside the city was when we went to the Elephant Nature Park and to Pai for the day.
As a woman I always worry about what is acceptable to wear in the different countries we travel to. Here I will describe the different outfits I brought and what I saw others wearing during my time in Chaing Mai.
Thailand is a hot climate with a touch of humidity, so you defiantly need to dress for the heat. Shorts and tank tops are fine to wear at all times except if your planning to visit any temples.
For temples you must wear clothing that will cover your knees and shoulders. There were days where we had specific temples in mind, and other days when we were exploring the different nooks and crannies of the city. For these days I would suggest wearing comfortable airy pants or a long skirt that will keep you cool and are appropriate for the temples. Bring your own, or you can buy many different types of skirts and pants in the markets around the city. The shopping is great in Chaing Mai, everything is cheap and prices are negotiable.
To cover my shoulders I would always have a long scarf with me incase we went inside temples or it became cool in the evenings. (We went in January and it would drop down to about 10 degrees C at night.) If you love tank tops these scarves will keep you covered and cool for the time your inside the temples.
Matt took precautions as well. As a man he still needed to wear t-shirts and longer shorts on our temple touring days. He had some comfortable pants we bought in Morocco last year that were light and long enough to wear in the temples. There are a variety of these genie pants in Thailand markets for men and women alike.
Comfortable and easily removable shoes are another most have for temple touring. If your visiting multiple temples you will be putting on and taking off your shoes all day. Sneakers with socks or strappy sandals will be a hassle, and there is not always a place to sit down outside the temple to don and doff your footwear.
Side note: if you do forget to bring clothing to cover you, most temples have clothing for you to rent. It’s about 10-30 Baht per rental. However, this can add up if your touring temples all day.
For the rest of your trip any type of clothing is suitable, shirt shorts, crop tops, wear it all! If your a shopper, I would suggest packing light. There are loads of cute cheap things to buy at the markets for you and your friends. I bought about 15 scarves and I think it came out to $50 CAD. These scarves are silk/cashmere and they would be about $50 each in Canada.
Chinese girls were always done up to the nines when they went out in the evenings. I’m glad I packed one pretty dress but I wish I had packed more.
For my purse I held off on bringing a bag to carry things in because I knew I would buy one in Chaing Mai. So I brought a reusable grocery bag with me that folds up into a small ball that you can put in your purse from GAP. I finally found a purse with elephants on it that did not seem too cheaply made at the large Kat market by the river. I purchased my new bag, and switched all my items over. The lady selling me the bag commented on how rare it is to get clothing from GAP and how expensive the reusable bags can be. I gave her my reusable bag, happy to br rid of it and give it to someone who would appreciate it and use it well. After all I have a closet full of them at home! She was so happy that I gifted the bag to her she gave me a gift set of stuffed elephant key rings. I told her I could not accept them, she insisted, and I resigned to take them gratefully.
**I found out later in Thailand you are supposed to refuse a present when it is first offered to you as a gesture of respect.
That was a very special moment for me. A moment between two women from different cultures, sharing, making each other happy. Such a simple thing, it made my trip honestly. We had beautiful experiences in Chaing Mai, and aside from the elephant sanctuary, the moment with that retail woman is something I will not forget.
If you go to go see the elephants I would suggest the Elephant Nature Park. It is the only park in Chaing Mai that does not abuse or train the elephants to obedience. And there is only three parks in Thailand to rescue elephants from trekking and forestry. This park was amazing! The knowledge of the care givers was outstanding, the food was great and the elephants were majestic. The elephants behaved as they would in the environment, walking in packs, protecting the calfs from the visitors. Plus, they rescue more than just elephants. You will see cats galore, dogs, even water buffalo.
For clothing at the nature parks wear weather appropriate clothes like shorts and t-shirt that can get dirty. I would also suggest bringing water, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. Wear comfortable shoes that can potentially get wet. There’s options of going on a short hike with the elephants, bathing the elephants and rafting from one side of the park to the other. This tour was the greatest treasure. We saw previously abused creatures living a lush life of relaxation, socialization and the gluttony they deserve.
Riding elephants and touching the calf’s is a practise that is cruel and outdated. Furthermore, elephants should not be allowed to walk on the public roads. They are currently trying to outlaw this cruel habit. Elephants are intelligent social creatures who deserve to be treated fairly. Please research how your tour company treats their elephants before signing up.
That’s all for now! I hope this article helped you! Feel free to post your comments below.