Volunteer in Thailand with Friends for Asia

Chiang Mai Activity Reviews

Millions of tourist flock to Thailand every year to see everything the country has to offer. Exquisite food, stunning natural beauty, ornate temples, and kind smiles are just a few of the things that greet you when you travel to Thailand. While this may be enough for some people, others yearn for a more personal experience when they travel. Volunteering in Thailand gives participants and unique way to experience the culture of Thailand first hand in a way that tourist often miss out on.

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Based in the northern city of Chiang Mai, volunteers who participate in Friends for Asia in Thailand have a wide variety of activities to do. Whether you seek outdoor excitement or world-class food, Chiang Mai has something for everyone.

Chiang Mai Dining Out Options

One of the best things Chiang Mai offers to those living there is food. Food is not only everywhere but also delicious. All of your favorite Thai dishes like Pad Thai, green curry, and sticky rice are never far away. Chiang Mai’s Old City offers a wide variety of cuisines and caters to many of the travellers with Mexican, Italian, Burmese, Indian, and Japanese restaurants. A popular place for street food is the North Gate and Chiang Mai gate, respectively. These areas have food stalls open until late at night serving all kinds of dishes and snacks. You could eat something new everyday and still never eat it all! Plad Tawanron is a beautiful restaurant half way up the mountain that has not only great food, but also panoramic views of the a mountain lake with the city of Chiang Mai in the backdrop. Riverside Restaurant and bar, along with Deck 1 are some of the nicer river view dining options that are only minutes away from our Chiang Mai volunteer accommodation. There are so many eating out options in Chiang Mai, we can’t mention them all. Here’s a blog with some new great eat out places.

Volunteer Adventure Activities

With all of the tourist that frequent Chiang Mai it’s no wonder that the city boast some great attractions and activities. Surrounded by beautiful mountains and lush jungles, many choose to see this area’s stunning nature through trekking companies. Mountain biking and ATV’s are also a popular activity and most attractions are surprisingly affordable. Need a bit more thrills? Bungee jumping, skydiving and other extreme sports are also nearby. The X-Center has a bunch of great activities for thrill seekers. Although there are a bunch of different options for zip lining in the area of Chiang Mai, we suggest Eagle Track. Their dual line and harness safety precautions, well trained staff and affordable prices make it difficult for us to recommend anyone else. Active Thailand is definitely the company to go with if looking to do a trek, bike and kayak day, etc.


Cooking Courses and Cultural Activities

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Cooking courses are fun both at home, and when you are traveling. Chiang Mai has a lot of cooking courses to choose from, and sometimes it can be difficult to know which is the one that will work best for you. For volunteers and travelers to Chiang Mai, that are looking for a fun, personal, and informal experience in the art of Thai cuisine, we recommend Smart Cook. Their school is located down a quite side lane minutes away from Tha Pae Gate. Most of their cooking courses begin with a tour of a small market, and then onto the school, where students learn some of the secrets of Thai cuisine from fun bi-lingual course instructors.

Although one can see some touristy hill tribes on a one or two day trek, we recommend getting to know the hill tribe community of Chiang Mai a little better with the experienced, knowledgeable and well spoken guides and ethnic hill tribe cooking course instructors at Thai Akha Cooking School.

The Old City of Chiang Mai, and Buddhist Temples

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Chiang Mai certainly doesn’t lack sightseeing. The Old City itself is surrounded by an ancient moat and remnants of an old, brich wall. Inside the moat the city has one of the highest concentrations of Buddhist temples in the world, not to mention all the temples in the surrounding areas. Temples with historical Buddha figures, venerated by locals, spiritual spots of worship and rituals that go back hundreds of years are regularly present and spread throughout the old city. There are the “must see” places of Doi Suthep, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phra Singh, and many others. However, while visiting these iconic Buddhist landmarks, we highly recommend that volunteers and culturally sensitive tourists also visit some of the more local, unseen spots where residents of Chiang Mai quietly partake in Buddhist rituals and traditions that tourists rarely get a glimpse of. Wat Ket is one of the best spots to see real Thai Buddhism right at its core. Other spots are Wat Champu (no link available), which is a neighborhood temple of our office and volunteer accommodation. Whichever the spot, we do recommend that all volunteers and interns briefly take in the daily routines of a local, non-touristy Buddhist temple spot in the city to get a feel for how Thais really connect with their religion and beliefs.

We can’t list everything on this page, but if you are check this out for information on everything “Chiang Mai”