I promise to myself that I would be back!
Yes! That was the effect that Chiang Mai had on me. Being a family member of AirAsia, one of the advantages is to fly more often and visiting places that we never even dreamt of visiting earlier. So,I grabbed this opportunity and my first destination Chiang Mai, about 700km northwest of Bangkok, Thailand.

I arrived there at about 1130hrs on 1st Jan 2009. It was a great start to a new year. My Thai friends say that it is cold there in the Winter (Dec – Feb) , which made me decided to go in January, to personally experience the temperature. However, I guess that I was ‘over excited’ as it wasn’t as cold as I expected and imagined. The weather and temperature was just nice to walk around in our short sleeve t-shirts , but not to the extend of needing a thick sweater and scarfs πŸ˜‰

Even though I had issues communicating with the locals in Chiang Mai as they really could not understand English, I really felt safe through out my stay. Chiang Mai is a very safe city – I could walk around in the city alone, as late as 10pm. I could just stop a red taxi or tuktuk, jump in, and show the map of the places that I would like to go to the driver ( they didn’t even charge me extra or try to cheat me!) and arrived there safely.

The red taxi

I didn’t have any fixed plan and where to visit, but a few recommendations from my fellow colleagues, I ended going to Doi Suthep (the temple in the mountains) , I visited the Chiang Mai Zoo on the way down ( I touched my first elephant and lion cubs here!!) , went to Night Bazaar (I recommend this to the shopaholics – much better and cheaper than our PS Boutique) and other temples / Wats in the city .For people who prefers going out at night, they do have good hang out places such as pub & restaurants and nightclubs!

The stairs going up to Doi Suthep

And the food…let’s say if I were to have a guide, it would be easier to find halal food. Well, without them, I still managed to enjoy and with its low cost of living, you could just end up eating and eating while walking in the city!

The local strawberries which was eaten with sugar and chilli

With about RM300, for a 3 nights stay, I managed to get a decent and clean room at one of the guest house in the middle of the city, transportation to go places, food and drinks and a little bit of shopping. Not bad!

I have fallen in love with this city and will definitely return to Chiang Mai.

P/S: A special note to my friends in Chiang Mai; Tum, Nok, Tin, Ump and Sina – even though you guys were very busy, you still had some time to spend with me. Thank you!


Safina started her journey with AirAsia as an instructor at AirAsia Academy. She love everything that happened in the Academy. Be it teaching, facilitating, handling visitors, motivating, every single thing. She’s passionate about teaching and sharing her life experiences. She's currently based in Jakarta with Indonesia AirAsia team. Apart from loving her job very much, she also love basketball (once a basketball coach), diving (she said it's the only place she could float and "fly" like superman!), running and writing. So, here she is, being part of the World's Best Low Cost Airline, hopefully to share all the experiences, stories, places or anything and everything under the sun :-)

  • Muqaddis

    Well glad that you are in favour of Chiangmai, I would recommend you travel further up to Chiangrai and experience a different scenario. The Golden Triangle will indeed provide you with abundance of memorable notes in your travel journal.

  • Almond

    my next destination might be chiang mai or hatyai..if i go to hatyai maybe i can write about it :)

  • Safina

    Muqaddis – On my next trip I will definitely visit Chiangrai and the Golden Triangle. Purposely save that for later so that I could fly to Chiangmai again πŸ˜‰

    Yes almondstar looking forward to your writing!

  • Talal

    I finally found the website. The place looks beautiful. The strawberies look yummy, but how did they taste with the chillies.

  • Azlizam

    Although I have visited many spots in Thailand, my current favorite place is “Chiang Mai”.

    In my opinion, Chiang Mai is perfectly placed for a relaxing holiday,very cosy, laid-back lifestyle and friendly atmosphere.

    I will difinetly come back here again !

  • Supreeda

    hi Safina …. there are a lot of Halal food in Chiangmai … such as at Masjid Changpueak area or Masjid Changklan area and so on ..
    I’m Thai I have been many times in Chingmai and also around nothern Thailand I’ll recommend 1 of nicest place in northern Thailand there is Pai .. have u heard this town before ? … if u have not !! try and try to get there especially during winter so cool guys !!! and there are alot of Muslim people in Pai as well , Pai is the district of Maehongson province u can get there by 4 hrs local bus or 2 hrs by van .. my favorite way is local bus guys .. u can share nice time with them along the way to Pai .. for the Malay muslim traveller don’t be worry about Halal food … it’s not too difficult to find out … see ya there hehehe

  • Afizal

    i will travel to chiang mai on march next year. i need the info about the halal foods and low cost hotels nearby.