As tempting as it may be ...stay away from uncooked veggies and fruit and of course don't drink the water.
The Thai mango salad is a favorite but the best way to avoid travelers illness is to stay away from it . There was a lady we got to know in our Hotel from Finland and she had to go to the hospital she had become so ill. It can ruin your fun to say the least!
When in Chiang Mai there is a good chance that you will be confronted by a"smoothie" well dressed and will be friendly ask you where you are from and then its the" OH' I have a daughter studying economics there at the university of ?...then its onto the the chance of a lifetime to buy ..usually a ruby or emerald..Be Careful...you would be surprised how many people fall for this scam..These guys are good..if its too god to be true it usually is..
Lucky for me, before I left my Hotel, I asked the Receptionist to give me an idea of the prices to pay for travel as you have to barter.
On exiting from the Zoo, I wanted to go to Doi Suthep temple, which was not that far away.
A Songthaew was there waiting, I asked the price, 400 t/b. I knew that was a lot too dear, so said no, and waited.
Nothing came, so I decided to walk to the main road, and what did I find, but a proper Songthaew waiting area.
This other fellow didn't mention this to me.
I was asked where I was going, another lady was already waiting, so I joined her.
More passengers came, and off we went for the price of 40t/b!
SO BEWARE, GET IDEA OF COST BEFORE LEAVING YOUR HOTEL.
I really can't think of anything that's not already obvious to warn you about. When you go rafting on the Ping river, and if you have children with you, just be warned that they do not provide you with any life jackets.
As for other warnings I didn't experience anything that warrants a warning or precaution. Chiang Mai seems very safe if you use your common sense when getting around. As you can see in the photo life jackets aren't provided during your trip down the river.
I really can't stress this point enough: Thai fireworks are incredibly dangerous. Most of the world's fire works are made in factories here in Thailand, but the fireworks that the people get here are the cheapest and poorest in quality. DO NOT TOUCH OR GO NEAR ANY FIREWORKS HERE!!!!!!! I have personally witnessed a firecracker blow off in one of my friend's hands. The quality and safety of the fireworks are poor and extremely dangerous. My friend will never have full mobility in his hand again (not to mention he lost a finger and almost his thumb and ear drums). So STAY FAR FAR AWAY FROM FIREWORKS!!!
The wildlife of Chiang Mai and Chiang Mai province is incredible, but some things should only be admired from a far. Here are some hints on how to tell of things are poisonous or not.
Snakes: there are tons of kinds of snakes in Chiang Mai. All poisonous snakes have large bulges on the sides of their heads, fangs, and a pointed snout. There are two kinds of green tree snakes, one poisonous and one not, to be safe don't bother any tree snakes. We do have king cobras but they are so rare that I have never seen one (besides in the Bangkok Dusit Zoo). Pythons are not poisonous!
Bugs: Boy do we have bugs, lol. Mosquitoes are always the most fatal because they can carry disease. Poisonous bugs include Thai tarantulas (big yellow bellied spiders), scorpions, and MagBhums (big grubs with white spikes that are poisonous to the touch). Caterpillars with white spikes are poisonous to the touch so don't touch any bug that looks like it has spikes and or while gooey/powder covering.
Just be vigilant!
I'd try to stick away from all sorts of stray dogs. Many are mean and like to bite strangers as they walk by. Their lives are quite simple, and similar to some of Chiang Mai's prostitutes, lol! They have street sex and bite. I'm not sure if they can carry diseases, but I wouldn't want to be bit or chased by one again (it has happened in the past). So just look where you are walking and carry some extra food and in some drastic cases a stick (to through not to hit the dog and upset or hurt it).
I am proud to say that THAILAND is one of the ONLY countries in the world where the AIDS rate is going DOWN. AIDS education is stressed in the schools. However, I should not speak so soon. AIDS is still a problem and the number one cause of death in Thailand. As substantial as these changes and HIV AIDS prevention programs are, one in every 100 Thais still has HIV AIDS. Chiang Mai, and areas in Thailand in general, are unfortunately notorious for prostitution. This is how AIDS spreads. Do not get involved with a prostitute; you are putting your life of the line!! Lets try and stop the spread of AIDS!!!!!!!!!!!
We were warned about this place. We were told to watch our money belts, watch ourselves our back packs and others in our group. We hid our money belts, put locks on our back packs and sometimes even carried them in front of us. People will pretend to bump into you and take money out of your pocket. Just be extremely careful, that would not make for a fun holiday to be robbed.
The tour companies along and near khaosan Road offer very cheap bus tickets to Chiang Mai. The bus is fine however after the overnight ride they take you to a parking lot or field 10 Kilometers from Chiang Mai arriving around 6 AM. Here they have "songthaews", which are two bench covered pick up trucks waiting for you. They pile everyone in the songthaews and take you into the city but not where you want to go but to guest houses you no nothing about.
Once at the Guest House they tell you to leave your bags in the front room while they show you the rooms. Who know who is going through your bag during this time period. Then they sit you down at a table and the trekking guides give their sales pitch.
If you say I want to look around at other trekking operators before you make a decision the guide and staff will just abandon you and go on to the next table and talk with them. Thats OK just leave.
Guest Houses in Chiang Mai band together to get as many tourists as they can for trekking. This is where all the money is for them not room rentals or food. They contact a bus company in Bangkok and charter buses which are usualy full going in both directions. The tour companies in Bangkok also get a cut of the action.
The bus personel have been known to go through luggage and bags to take valuables while people were asleep on the bus. Some even have a person hidden away in the baggage compartment to go through every bag there.
Always take a bus from the Morchit bus station in Bangkok and the Arcade bus station in Chiang Mai. These buses will take you to the Arcade bus station in Chiang Mai and Morchit bus station in Bangkok.
Remember that most Guest Houses get their money from Treks not food or room rental and many will not rent you a room unless you do a trek with them.
I recommend that you pay a little bit more and get a 500 baht+ room in Chiang Mai where the staff will be glad to have you if you trek with them or not.
The night market in Chiang Mai is alot of fun and bargaining is the name of the game . However you will see almost everything with a label marked "silk". Many of these are polyester....not real silk...so bargain accordingly. As long as you know what it is the prints are so nice and worth buying!!
IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING ON A BUDGET READ THIS CAREFULLY.
i SPENT A LOT OF MONEY BEING CHARGED FOR OVER THE WEIGHT SUITECASES TRAVELLING BETWEEN NORTHERN THAILAND, THE ISLANDS, AND BKK.
When I was there, the weight limit before they charge you extra was 70 kilos per suitecase. You are allowed 2 per person travelling. Otherwise they charge you....what I believe was the equivelent of $35-40 USD per suitcase.
So if you are there with heavy suitecases or bags, find a place to store some items, especially if you are shopping in Chiang Mai.
And it is cheaper than BKK so i would suggest it.
When you are driving a motobike, like many tourists are renting in Chiang Mai, and you are driving just behing a song tew, take care that the driver is is not cutting your road.
The only thing they are doing, is looking for new passengers on the sidewalk; when they see one, they will immediately turn to the left, without looking behind and cutting your road.
So take some distance behind them and you'll have to time to brake or to slow down.
There is no malaria in Chiang Mai, but there is evidence of it in Chiang Rai, golden triangle area as well as other places in Northern Thailand.
It is important to protect yourself when going into malaria infected areas, such as taking malaria medication. Important to bring bug spray with you. Malaria is an awful disease, which can be fatal if not treated.
Also, you should protect yourself with bug spray due to dengue fever-which occurs in southeast asia. Important to look at various websites on malaria and dengue fever before coming out here. Listed the usa's center for disease control (CDC) website below.
Opium is used in some mystic animistic hilltribe minority villages in the north of Chiang Mai. Opium, as all other drugs, is extremely dangerous and kills the brain and body. Stay away from opium. Most of the tribes are switching to tobacco, which is bad enough, because they even know that opium kills and stunts growth (you will see opium users are very small).
Not to mention that you will spend a very long time in a Thai jail if you are caught, you don't want that!