New Years Lantern Festival in Thailand
Route: Old City, Chiang Mai, Thailand
My husband and I have always wanted to visit Southeast Asia. We pulled the trigger a few months back and booked a trip to Thailand, Cambodia and Nepal. One of the highlights of our trip was celebrating New Year's Eve in Chiang Mai to see the Lantern Festival. We knew we wanted to capture the moments of this special day with photos from Flytographer.
We really wanted to do a cooking class in Chiang Mai but almost everything shuts down around the New Year's Holiday (restaurants, shops, etc.) until at least January 3rd. In Chiang Mai, we enjoyed just getting lost walking around the city and visiting temples (don't forget to wear the right clothing!). We stayed at the Astra Condo which was nice to have our own space, and it was easily walkable to the Night Bazaar and into the city walls. We wish we had more time to explore areas outside of the city like Doi Suthep, Pai and Chiang Rai. We also visited Phuket/Krabi/Phang Nga. In Phuket, we'd recommend visiting Tiger Muay Thai to get fit and Island Poke Bowl for breakfast and/or lunch. In Phang Nga, we camped on the roof of Sametnangshe Boutique, which was the most beautiful sunrise we've ever witnessed (go ahead, Google it!). You can book their standard hotel rooms, cute bungalows or through their Facebook page for camping (camping is incredibly reasonable pricing!). In Phuket, we stayed at Peace Laguna in an over-water bungalow which is centrally-located right near Ao Nang. We booked a 2-day private speedboat through GetMyBoat to visit Kong Island/Phang Nga area day one + Phi Phi Island/4 Island day two. It was awesome and the scenery in the area is unreal! We also visited Bangkok and stayed at Riva Arun, which is a great location in the heart of Old Town Bangkok and even has a restaurant that overlooks the Chao Phraya river and Wat Arun. Seeing Wat Arun light up at night was incredible! We enjoyed walking around the city to see as many Wats as possible and visiting the Grand Palace. We did a day tour to the Railway Market, Floating Market and Ayutthaya with Bangkok Smile Guide Mandy. She was so knowledgeable and made the entire day so easy! Our trip also included quick stops in Cambodia and Nepal. In Cambodia, we were able to visit Angkor Wat which was incredible and my husband's top bucket list item. Mr. Keo on TripAdvisor drove us around to all of the temples on a day tour in his tuk-tuk, and we would definitely recommend him to anyone looking for an easy day of sight-seeing at Angkor Wat! In Nepal, my top bucket list item was a helicopter tour to see Everest and have breakfast at Everest View Hotel with Outdoor Himalayan Treks. Unfortunately January is a tougher season with weather so we weren't able to go on the tour. It sounds like the best time of year is April-May, so we'll definitely be heading back to Nepal very soon!