Hi there :)
I visited Chiang Mai for more than a week last summer and didn't really 'feel' this place. It was one of those places people just couldn't stop praising. It quickly became the one place I couldn't wait to explore during my trip around Thailand. Things turned out a little different and I can't help but wrinkle my nose now at the mere thought of Chiang Mai. I'm returning to SEA this summer and I can't persuade my travelbuddy to skip Chiang Mai. So, does anyone have any suggestions on what to do/see around Chiang Mai area (Chiang Rai, Pai, Mae Rim, Mae Hong Song)? We plan on staying at least four nights, but can easily extend our stay.
I don't want to do overly 'touristy' things (so no tiger temple, doi suthep, elephant rides or hill tribes). I read a lot of good things about Elephant Nature Park, so that's one thing I really want to do. Any eco-friendly places/organisations to do a jungletrek with?
Charlotte, you might consider having your travelbuddy go to Chiang Mai and you head somewhere else that appeals to you more. You guys aren't handcuffed together (at least I hope not) and there's nothing wrong with splitting for a while and linking up again latter at some pre-determined point. Just food for thought.
Hey Charlotte, I cannot recommend the Mai Hong Son loop enough, really beautiful, and quite an antidote to the banana pancake circus. We recently published a blog about the place: Mae Hong Son loop, Vagabond Tribune