Friday, September 26, 2014

Chiangmai: A Family Holiday Destination + Happikiddo Special

this post is brought to you in collaboration with Happikiddo. all content, photos, & opinions are my own. thank you for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create special blog content like this for Babylicious.

We are heading to beautiful Chiangmai, Thailand for our family holiday.
I'm not one to stock fancy items for travels but here are some tips & fav items for traveling with little ones, all available at Happikiddo, a unique baby concept store which offers a vast selection of imported, innovative products for babies, children and mums.

1. Scrunch Bucket - a collapsible bucket ideal water play or the beach
2. Ripples flip flops - assorted designs for kids & comfy for all the walking
3. Rex Magic Pads - for idle little hands, perfect on airplane rides
4. Froggie flushable toilet seat covers
5. California Baby sunscreen - coverage for all activities under the sun
6. Trunki PaddlePak - cool waterproof backpack

It's our 1st trip to Thailand for our family & we were absolutely blown away by the beauty of the land!
Special thanks to my sister & my bro in law who made a trip previously so they were now our "tour guides" mapping out the itinerary - making it such a fulfilling trip for our family.
With 3 kids of their own & our 2 kids in tow (all 7 & below), i'll be sharing with you some child-friendly places & activities to do in Chiangmai - perfect for young families.

It was a 5D4N vacation.
We did 2 days in Maerim, the outskirts of Chiangmai & another 3 days in the city.
For Maerim, you'll need to rent a car to get around the countryside. We rented a Toyota Fortuner to get around (2200 baht per day). Fitted 4 adults + 5 kids quite comfortably.

Cool Downs Resort
Day 1

I was greeted by chickens roaming about upon alighting the car & the first impression was, "Oh no" but it quickly turned into excitement when i stepped into the resort. You had to walk through their really relaxing & cosy cafe, pass the pool to get to our rooms. We were told that we'll be getting a free upgrade to a suite as the deluxe room were under renovation! It was such a pleasant surprise & an early birthday treat for me ;)

The staff inflated cool looking floats (the kids favorite - a giant blue stingray) for our kids to play at the pool & they were ecstatic.
Words alone cannot describe the breathtaking view from the poolside, where we had our breakkie all setup & prepared for us. I shall let this pictures below do the talking.

Our breakfast spread were choice of English Breakfast set, rice, noodles, together with juice/warm milk & coffee/tea. It was all yums!
I was presented with a fruit trifle on the house as it was my birthday.
Also ordered their fried banana & chocolate brownie. The desserts were all thumbs up!

Thank you Dax & Eve for the wonderful birthday dinner spread. I can't recall exactly what dishes you guys ordered but the spread was delicious!

The kids love the pool, needless to say.
We definitely give a 5-star to this place.

Activities /Places to Visit
Day 2
i. Elephant Poopoopaper Park
I'm into papers so when my sis suggested we go visit this place, i was all for it.
It's an eco-friendly, naturally built, outdoor museum park focused on introducing & explaining the unique steps involved in making world famous paper products from elephant poop fibers. The self guided & interpretive walking tour was so informative & fun that even my 3 year old girl understood the process (she came home mimicking our friendly guide).

We got to make our own journals, decorate them for ourselves & as gifts in a relaxed environment.

The place also houses a pretty cafe which includes healthy, yummy snacks & refreshments.
The gift shop, also known as "The Pootique" stocks distinctive & unique gifts... definitely not your ordinary kind of souvenir shop.

Entrance fee: 100 baht/per person (they didn't charge kids 4 & below)

Next, we headed for lunch on the way to the elephant camp.. a kampung like place on wooden stilts with the river running through connecting to the waterfalls. Don't underestimate this little shack as it serves humble yet delicious dishes.. very much like home cooked food. 

ii. Cafe hopping
I was constantly fascinated by the many cafes by the countryside. Our drive around was scenic & out of no where pops a cozy little cafe... i only read about such places perhaps in a french countryside but in an Asian country?? Yes, you can find them here in Chiangmai! They are tastefully styled..  makes you wanna find a nook, pick a book, order a tall glass of iced coffee & spend the afternoon just reading. We visited Baa Baa Black Cafe & Tita Gallery to name a couple.

De Lanna boutique hotel
Day 3

This boutique hotel is just a walk away from the weekend market which was the highlight of our city stay. Our basic requirement for the lodging was that it had to had a pool for the kids to play for an hour or two during the day.

There were occasional drizzles throughout the day but that didn't dampen our plans. In fact, the weather was cooling the entire time we were there.
Except for breakfast which was included with our hotel stay, we mostly had street & hawker food.
We weren't very adventurous with our food as we had kids in tow but the noodles & rice we generally ordered were always tasty.

The occasional spicy dishes we ordered for us adults were good especially the dinner we had at Cool Downs.

Nestled in between old shops were welcoming & brightly colored shops selling handmade accessories & knick knacks. Owners take pride in their window displays & were generous to allow us to take photos even when we weren't buying their wares.

Activities /Places to Visit
Day 4

i. 3D Art Museum
Admission Fee: 300 baht/per adult, 200 baht/per child (De Lanna patrons got a discount)
It was photo frenzy here.

ii. Buak Haad City Park

A public park with a small playground for the kids to sweat it out, feed the fish & pigeons.
You can rent a picnic mat for as low as 15 baht & laze in the green grass overlooking the pond.

iii. Wua Lai (Saturday Market) & Sunday Walking Market Street
There were still so much we want to explore in the city but we spent 2 entire evening & nights at the Sat & Sun markets. The markets open as early as 4:30pm & on Sunday we walked till 11:15pm.
The street was that long! I walked till my feet were numb. We were overdue for a massage but we didn't had time to stop as the street was calling :)
But it was all worth it as the street food & knick knacks sold were simply amazing.

The children were tired out when evening came. Both our hubbies decided to take them back to the hotel while my sis, myself & my 7 year old niece continued with the market.
Local artisans are incredibly resourceful & talented.
I didn't even want to bargain for any of the handmade stuff because it was probably 10x cheaper than what I would have paid for back home. 

There were tonnes of stalls selling fresh fruit juices & shakes. You get to pick whatever fruit combinations you want for as low as 25 baht per cup! 
Then you get all nostalgic when you see a man by a large metal container whirling freshly made cotton candy in any color that your hearts desire.
Just a few feet away you see wagyu burgers sold for only 50 baht!
Then there was a stall which sold mini ice cream cones. 5 in a plate for only 20 baht! 
At at another glance there's a couple selling quality wooden crates. My only regret... didn't manage to purchase them.
Jazz music seems to be the order of the day as we see student bands performing & street musicians. 
Even the blind quartet who used recycled buckets, cymbals etc as instruments played good jazz rhythms!

There were beautiful canvas art pieces, cotton plush toys, leather goods... the list is never ending. You just got to be there to see & experience it for yourself.

I made a compilation of the items i bought below & i spent only less than 3000 baht on shopping (ie RM300) for my stash! I don't think i'm going to be shopping here in KL for some time ;)

We got around the town with our trusty feet, tuk tuks, songtaews, & bicycles.
The kids were excited about riding on the tuk tuk. I personally enjoyed the bicycle ride with my sister. Wishing we had more time on our hands.
Bicycles are available for rent at only 45 baht for a whole day! But we had only 1.5 hour on our last day to ride in one & explore the shops around town further before we headed to the airport.

We were super late but my sis, the ever gracious hostess suggested we ride to the colorful store i spotted in the hotel brochure. I went nuts when i step foot in the store! They didn't allow photos which sadly, i have to rely on my memory bank to relive the sights.

Okay, as promised here are my treasures from Thailand.

a. The wooden stool with hand painted graphic from the market. It reminds me of the designs i make for my party themes. It was unbelievably cheap! My all time favorite purchase!
b. Handmade jewelry & wooden figurine.
c. Owl tote bag.
d. Porcelain ice cream latte bowls.
e. Star Wars designed & hand crafted magnets with a separate magnet board for Luke.
f. Cotton mama & baby elephant plush toy - Leah never whined for toys but when she set her eyes on this cutie, she immediately asked if i could get it for her.
g. Metal cendol spoons for ice cold desserts, wooden butter knife & teaspoon engraved with elephant motif & elephant stamp.
h. Journals souvenir we decorated at the Poopoo Park (for 100 baht each)

In between pool sessions, this particular Thai instant noodle we purchased from Tesco Lotus (situated near Chiangmai airport) treated growling tummies. They have them in large & small sizes. I bought 5 rows of them to bring home but we ended up with 1 row left at the end of our trip ;p

The thing that left me captivated about the Thais: their handwriting on all chalkboards were always neat & tidy. Cleanliness - i didn't came across one dirty toilet throughout our trip! I'm greatly inspired by their creativity & talent. It was a splendid vacation for the entire family. Ever grateful to my sis & bro in law who made the trip with us & had everything planned out so well! By far my best birthday celebration.

Special Treat!
You, my dear readers get a treat too!
Happikiddo is offering a 15% discount storewide (except for milk & food products) to all Babylicious readers. Special discount valid for 2 weeks only from 27th Sept - 11th Oct 2014.

Quote code HKYVO15 upon checkout at the counter.
If you're looking for that special something for your kid or as a gift, now's the perfect chance to pop by!


  1. Thanks for the great tips! We'll be going to Chiang Mai in a few weeks and the poop paper will definitely appeal to both an artsy little miss and rough-and-tumble 6-year old boy!

  2. Nice images!! I was thinking this is perfect party space nyc where we can celebrate my son birthday. I was researching the place from so many days but to this blog finally got it.

  3. Children birthday are more enjoyable compare to any of adult man/women so enjoy the birthday party. All images are really very nice and all are looking very good Nice post thanks for sharing.


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