Rest Day Activities

Chiang Mai offers a range of fun and unique activities to keep you busy while taking a break from cragging.

Rest days are an essential part of climbing and thankfully in Chiang Mai, there’s more than enough going on to keep you having fun on those days off.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Cooking Classes

Chiang Mai has become the unofficial food capital of Thailand and given the delectable cuisine this country has to offer, that’s a big call. “I was told to wait until I came to Chiang Mai to take a cooking class,” said one climber who took a cooking class at Basil Cookery School on her rest day during her 3-day fundamentals of climbing course.

You can’t walk a block in the Old City without bumping into a cooking school or restaurant with cooking classes.

Here are some of our favorites:

Wee’s Restaurant is near to CMRCA and has an intensive, interactive course led by restaurant owner Pi Wee herself.

Thai Farm Cooking School is an escape from the city cooking class. After a morning visit to a local market, you will learn to cook out at an organic farm.

YouSabai is really a getaway. The three-night course takes place at the Pun Pun organic farm and sustainable living learning center, in a small village 50km from Chiang Mai. Start every morning with yoga, learn to cook 12 dishes, and stay in an earthen hut. Is there a better way to become a Thai cooking master?

Pampering

Massages are a plenty in Chiang Mai. Take a massage course if you have the time or indulge in a full on spa treatment. From body scrubs to detox, any indulgence you desire is available in this city. Warning: manicures and pedicures don’t last when climbing, but they do look splendid for a day at the pool.

Sometimes all you need for a rest day is a big pool and some lawn chairs. Even if your hotel doesn’t have a pool, you can find one to dip in quite easily. The Centre of the Universe is a just a few minute motorbike or tuk-tuk ride from the old city. Pick out a good book from one of the many used-book stores around town to bring along as reading material.

Just don’t be surprised if it starts to downpour during your perfectly sunny swimming day. It is rainy season, after all.

Elephants

Brochures abound for elephant rides and mahout training camps. The elephants are treated better at some of these places than others. One trusted standby is Elephant Nature Park. It’s a rescue and rehab center for former street elephants, circus elephants, and logging elephants. You can visit for the day or volunteer for the week. Oh, and the vegetarian lunch buffet is one fine spread.

These are just a few ideas. There’s also endless shopping as well as movie theaters, bowling alleys and karaoke joints. Nature lovers can explore nearby waterfalls and hot springs. The best way to discover what Chiang Mai has to offer is to rent a bicycle or walkaround the Old City. There is a secret on every soi.

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