**I was in Bali for a month where wifi never worked, hence the quietness of Curious Traveler Travelogues for such a stretch. I’ve been writing all along the way, so many of these are written as if they just happened – go with it 😉 And enjoy these throwbacks to an amazing whirlwind of a journey **
- Imperial Mae Ping Hotel – I stayed my first three days at this beautiful hotel just outside the Old City. I loved it so much I extended my original stay of two days for an extra night.
The grounds were stunning, the room clean (though the tv didn’t work. I’m sure they would’ve fixed it, but I preferred to leave temptation dead as long as possible), and the breakfast. Oh, the breakfast! I’ve never been a breakfast sort of gal, but I got up early to get downstairs to indulge.
Frangipani trees overlooked the pool area (they had two pools), and while I didn’t try it out, they had a spa available, as well. I booked online through Cheapflights.com and got a great deal of $60/night. When I booked the third night, unfortunately I had to do it through their website, so while I thought I was getting the same $60 deal, at check out they added on a ton of VAT charges, so it cost around $90. Strike against them.
- Libra Guest House – After my three days of luxury, I moved into this much more affordable accommodation just inside the North East corner of the Moat.
It’s a beautiful, family run guesthouse and I highly enjoyed my stay with them. I got a private room with fan and cold shower (who would want a hot shower in the heat of Thailand?) for 250 Baht – about $6/night. While they didn’t have a pool which was a shame, they had hammocks and stunning foliage which helped keep the area cool. The room was always constantly full of little critters such as geckos, ants, and a few flying friends, but I didn’t really mind. Mosquitos were the only real annoyance, and they weren’t terrible, but it would’ve been nice to have a net or more sealed rooms.
It was also quite a trek to any of the main areas of the Old City. I didn’t mind for the first weeks I was in Chiang Mai – I got to traverse more of the city and find all the little stores and markets, but everything was always farther than I thought. I’ve walked more in Thailand than I did in NYC.
My last few days in CM I stayed at the following hostel because it was centrally located, and I couldn’t spare the time all the walking took from Libra.
- Julie’s Guesthouse Part 2 – Excellent place for what it is – an inexpensive back packer hostel. Rooms and bathrooms were clean, and I didn’t have any trouble sleeping in a 10 bed mixed dorm. While I was hesitant to leave my towel and clothes to dry outside my room (requested by management to avoid stinking up the rooms), no one took my things. Ah, humanity. Surprising me is rare, but I love it when you do. I paid 120 Baht ($4)/night for a fan room. I always prefer fan rooms because AC always gets way too cold, and you are never given actual blankets here – at most a simple sheet. This hostel is actually right around the corner from the ENP office – very handy for getting dropped off and picked up early after a visa run 🙂
*Apologies – apparently I forgot to take any pictures of Julie’s! I was only there for a day or two before heading up to Chiang Rai, so it must’ve just slipped my mind.
- Pai Circus Hostel – One of the reasons I went to Pai was from hearing about the Circus hostel. I was pretty disappointed when I arrived – their instructor was leaving for the low season so there would be no lessons, but we were welcome to use the equipment. I stayed in a 4 bed mixed hut for 170 Baht ($5)/night. The first hut they had me in was probably the first one ever built and in miserable condition. The roof leaked and you had to be careful how you stepped or your foot would go through the rotting bamboo floor. When we had a massive rainstorm, one of the beds became a veritable swimming pool. The next day they moved us to a different hut so they could re-roof it. The second hut was much newer and nicer, and the ceiling didn’t leak. But I didn’t really come for the housing – I came for the community. There were such fantastic people there, and I spent a ton of time with the staff, where were super chill. I even stayed an extra day just because I didn’t feel like moving on just yet. The bathrooms were shitty and down the hill, the trampoline was ruined, and the pool didn’t work until the last two days of my stay. Despite all that, I had a truly wonderful time with wonderful people. I got to have the best chai of my entire life (so far!) thanks to running into a meditation group nearby, and don’t even start me on the rainbows. They are in the middle of a huge renovation of the place and building new huts, and I’ve heard that high season they have 150-200 people staying there. It might be cool to go back in the following years during peak and see the changes.
- Remember this video? Pretty much sums up the conditions. But you also got to see views like this every night:
- Mercy Hostel – I came across this hostel recommendation on one of the travel groups I’m part of on FB, and I am so glad! I’m not really a fan of Chiang Rai, and in fact was only here for 1 day, but this hostel is beautiful. It’s brand new, has excellent rooms, clean, shared bathrooms (SOAP with the sinks!), a pool and pool table, tv, and even a kitchen you can use. I would like to find more places with a communal kitchen – I dearly miss cooking. They’re running a special of 199 Baht ($6)/night for an AC, 8 bed female dorm. I wasn’t a fan of the AC, but they provided a comforter, which was nice. They also had maps of CR available, and were very helpful providing directions and advice. I would definitely stay here if I were staying longer or coming back – it’s by far the nicest hostel I’ve stayed in, yet!
*I’d arrived late and it was too dark to take pictures (the communal areas are outside), and forgot in the morning. But this was by far one of the best places I stayed in all of my travels!