Destination wedding in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand

A little over a year ago, one of my best friends announced that she's finally getting married to her long time on-off boyfriend and that she wanted us to start saving our money for her destination wedding. I was so excited because I have never been to any destination wedding ever in my life. This would be the first.

The family chose Chiang Mai, the northern part of Thailand to be the place to have their intimate wedding reception. Both husband and I have never visited Chiang Mai so we thought it'd be interesting to attend the wedding and have one or two extra days as tourists. I didn't know much about Chiang Mai but I know the weather is cooler and pretty pleasant compared to the Islands (well of course, Asians like us just love the cool weather!) 

We flew from Singapore to Chiang Mai in January via Thai Airways. It wasn't an ideal flight because of the stopover in Bangkok but the timing worked for us so it was our only best option. We arrived in the afternoon, just in time for lunch. After we checked in to our hotel, we managed to have a quick nap and got ready for the wedding in the evening. 

The wedding was held in Ratilanna Resort, a luxurious hotel by the river. I must say it was probably the best wedding reception I've attended. The night was all about bringing the close ones together with games and performances with a mix of Thai tradition in the wedding. It was a perfect event.

Going around Chiang Mai is easy because there are Tuk-tuk and songthaew everywhere. These forms of transportation is famous in Thailand and they are considered to be more affordable than taxis. Be careful though, these people tend to overcharge so you always have to bargain! I find the songthaew to be cheaper because it's on sharing basis where else the tuk-tuks are able to accommodate only two people at once. So either way, it depends on what you are comfortable with. Sometimes it also depends on your bargaining skills. 

Chiang Mai is interesting because the city presents its own identity. Would I come here again? No. Simply because I have seen what I needed to see there. Even though we didn't do the famous Elephant sanctuary nor did we go to the Tiger kingdom, I think we've seen enough temples and enjoyed walking around the night markets. Not to forget, cheap massage that I always look forward to in Thailand. 

Here are some quick guide based on our stay:
Vieng Mantra Lanna - Located in the middle of the old city. It's comfortable enough if you're out and about most of the time. It's just a few steps from the famous Sunday Market and walking distance from some local temples. 

What to do:
1. Walk around old city and explore the temples around the area. Wat Chedi Luang is one of the attractions in old city. It's a Buddhist temple that was built 600 years ago.
2. Visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. This temple is located on the hills in Chiang Mai. The temple was commissioned by King Kuena, ruler of the region from 1367-1388.
3. Shop and eat local street food at Sunday Walking Market in Old City and Night Market in Chang Khlan Road.
4. Brave yourself to interact with tigers at the Tiger kingdom. Don't worry I heard they don't bite.  
5. Pay a visit to the Elephant sanctuary, which we didn't get a chance to go unfortunately.
6. Massage and spa. It's everywhere so all you need to do is look for a good place (with good bargain) and then you're set.

There's more to Chiang Mai other than temples and markets but it really depends on what you're looking for as tourists. I believe there are also nice waterfalls you can go to and some water sports activities. If you're looking for something different when visiting Thailand, Chiang Mai could be worth a visit.

Traditional Thai dance. Just one of the entertainment at the wedding reception. 

Beautiful moment captured in the middle of our group dance

Wat Chedi Luang is only a few minutes walk from our hotel at Old City

It's street food time! There's me just enjoying my Banana pratha. My favourite snack every time I visit Thailand. 100 baht for a whole crab? That's dirt cheap! 

The seafood platter was seen at the Sunday Walking Market. That's about 10 dollars. Not bad at all.


Our honeymoon story

Bali, Indonesia
Our quest to find a perfect honeymoon destination did not start until the final stage of our wedding planning. Well initially we thought we could postpone our honeymoon until the wedding phase is over.  But we were advised to go on honeymoon right after our wedding ceremonies before reality hit us hard. Glad we made that choice.

Bali is a huge island and because there are so many activities and places to go, ground arrangement is extremely important. Car and bike rentals are common among tourists. Traffic can get a little bit crazy and some places have very limited parking space so I would suggest renting a car with a driver to save time. We booked Pak Isme to arrange our tours because I’ve known him since he first started the business back in 2007 when I visited Bali for the first time with my family.  When he first started, he had no online connection, no official website and little knowledge about online marketing. Fast forward until today, he has about 14 drivers working with him. It's very helpful that he caters to the Muslim tourist so his drivers would know nice places to get Halal food.
Our first few nights were spent up north in Ubud exploring their arts and culture before we moved down to the central part of Bali for some sun and beaches. We stayed in a nice villa in Seminyak, an up market area in Bali famous for its sunset lounge and coffee joints. From Seminyak, we explored other neighboring areas such as Nusa Dua, Jimbaran and Uluwatu, each has their own unique features.

For those who are into beaches as well as exploring other cultures, Bali is definitely a good balance between the two. I'm not a city person (despite living in the middle of a city myself), so when it comes to holidays I look forward to going to the beach or exploring places that can give me a peace of mind. Bali is definitely one of my favorite places on earth. If anyone need a recommendation on holiday destinations around Southeast Asia, Bali is definitely in my 'must go' list!

Here’s our little Bali guide based on our stay:
1. Gino Ferucci Villa(Ubud)
2. Aria Exclusive Villa (Seminyak)

What to do (obviously there’s more to this but we just didn’t have enough time for everything!):
1. Have lunch while enjoying the scenic view of Mount Batur at Kintamani
2. Take pictures at Tegalallang Rice Terrace
3. Tampak Siring
4. Rent a bike and explore the island
5. Watch the traditional kecak dance at Uluwatu
6. Catch the beautiful sunset at Tanah Lot
7. Go to the beach. There are so many beaches in Bali, from touristy ones to secret hideaways. Just google and look up famous/best beaches in Bali or ask your tour guide for recommendations. You won’t regret your Bali beach day regardless where you go)

Where to eat?

Sunset and lounging:
5. Huu Bar

Tanah Lot is one of the best places to watch the sunset. It's mind blowing!
Exploring Ayana resort. There were so many Japanese staying in this hotel! 
Best way to watch the sunset whilst enjoying good music in Rock Bar. The DJ set it built on a rock overlooking the ocean.
Mt. Batur (if I'm not mistaken) decided to give us a good send-off. What a way to end our trip!