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Chiang Mai with Kids

A travel highlight of 2012 was Hong Kong’s Dragonair announcing its route to Chiang Mai, a beautiful city in Northern Thailand.

When to go

We were there for three days in mid May.  Whilst there was no rain, temperatures were oven-like (hot season runs Mar-June).  For cooler weather, go Nov-Feb and expect rains Jul-Oct.

How to get there

From Hong Kong, you can fly direct with Dragonair four times per week.  The flight is just over 3 hours and departs HKG at 15:35 and the return departs Chiang Mai at 18:35.  If the Dragonair schedule doesn’t suit, you can easily fly indirect via Bangkok.

Where to stay

Chedi Hotel Pool

We stayed the stylish Chedi Hotel, located on the banks of the River Ping.  Whilst it doesn’t bill itself as a ‘family friendly’ hotel, I found it extremely accommodating to families from the enormous size of the Club Rooms furnished with baby cot, baby bath and steriliser to the fab kids menu and the colouring kits they’d bring to the kids by the pool.  Here is my review in more detail of the Chedi.

The Mandarin Oriental Dhara Devi looks fabulous but pricey and its Lanna Kids Club offers activities for kids 4-12.

Highly recommended from friends is the Tamarind Village which comes in much cheaper than the above hotels and is well located in Chiang Mai’s old town.

What to do

There are so many excursions on offer in Chiang Mai.  Hotels and travel agents offer lots of packages or you might prefer to go at your own pace and hire your own driver for a few hours.

  • Have a stroll around Chiang Mai’s old town.  If pounding the streets gets too much for little feet, jump in a passing tuk-tuk and have them take you on a personal tour of the city’s many beautiful Wats (temples)
    Chiang Mai Temple 2
  • Drive 20 minutes out to the Paper & Umbrella factory.  In addition to watching the umbrella making, they’ll paint any design onto your own bag, t-shirt etc.  My daughter loved picking out a design for a personalised fan.
  • Chiang Mai Umbrella FactoryEnjoy a day to remember at the Elephant Nature Park, a rescue and rehab centre.  A visit includes the chance to bathe the elephants in the river and take a ride through the forest.
  • Soar through the air at  Flight of the Gibbon, a zipline tour through the jungle.  Kids must be a minimum height of 1 metre and young kids might ride in tandem with a guide.
  • Cook your own pad thai!  The city is dotted with cookery schools and are happy to offer sessions for kids as young as 3.
  • Keep the kids up late for the Chiang Mai Night Safari with trams running 7 – 10:30pm.  The Safari, 10km from the city centre, is twice the size of Singapore’s and well worth a visit.

 

Where to eat

  • The Chedi Hotel’s restaurant, the ex British Consulate is a picturesque place to dine with delicious food
    Chiang Mai Chedi
  • We loved The House, an eclectic restaurant and lifestyle store.  Very difficult to leave without buying some of their amazing household goods!
  • I found my Thai dinner average but the setting is nice at the Riverside Bar & Restaurant

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