How to keep active in Chiang Mai – Thailand when day drinking at the hostel and delicious deep fried foods were in abundance? Here’s how we did it!
After our body clocks had been reset and our outdoors adventure (Post here: 3 Day Trek Thailand) refueling the need to keep moving we looked for a gym we could pop into while we waited for the hubbub of the lantern festival to kick off!
I’m the first to admit that I dislike working out in a park or at home. I personally feel more motivated getting my butt in a gym than anywhere else and it’s something that I’ve had to work on while travelling because I can’t use the fact that there isn’t a gym nearby as an excuse to not work out.
But for the time being we found : Gym.kru.oor.
Amazing facilities. Filled with clean, well maintained, updated equipment.
We made good use of the facilities in the time we were in Chiang Mai and would HIGHLY recommend. The owner was lovely and so was the staff!
Cost: It was 100THB = 3USD for a day pass. 5 sessions and you get the 6th one free.
Other fitness goodies: They had protein shakes for sale afterwards for those of you who need the immediate protein hit after working out.
Located within the old city it was also next door to a Muay Thai Gym if you wanted an alternative work out! We never did this but had friends who raved about it!!
Post Work Out & Nutrition:
Please consult a trained professional for any dietary advise as what you want to achieve with your fitness plan may differ from us!
I’ve done a lot of different styles of eating.
Diets if you will.
I’ve done Paleo, Keto, no sugar, no drinking, etc. Personally, I do better on a LOW carb style of eating. As NO carbs makes workouts too hard for me and my energy levels too low. I don’t count calories but I tend to eat intuitively at either a slight deficit for calories or at a maintenance level. I found being in Southeast Asia difficult to stay low carb due to the amount of noodles and rice that pad out every dish. It’s also hard as the abundance of fruit available rather than veggies. So a lot higher natural sugars being consumed that previously.
I tried to stick to a meal that had protein in it and a lot of veggies. If I ordered something like Pad Thai I would ask for less oil (as sometimes they can be a bit greasy) and would give half of the noodles to my boyfriend (he’s always trying to bulk up, which is handy for me!)
Stay hydrated! With water. Not smoothies. Not beers. Not cocktails. It’s far too easy to pack on extra LIQUID calories when trying to keep fit with all the delicious smoothies and cheap beers at every corner. There are plenty of water ‘re-filling’ stations around the city (ask your hostel). Depending on the station it’ll be around 1THB per litre as opposed to 10THB for a bottle at the local corner store. It’ll save you money and you can use a re-usable water bottle to save on plastic. If you have a smoothie think of it as a small meal/snack rather than hydration!
Our usual routine after a workout or activity was to walk out about town to the local street vendors for find fuel for recover and energy. Our favorite spot was JoJo’s Smoothies and Thai Food Restaurant! We’d have either a Dry noodle with Roasted Chicken and a side of Fried Morning Glory. Another spot was going to the local market on the South Side of Old Town and getting a chicken breast on a stick and an avocado & mango smoothie (without extra sugar added).
There are so many tours, temples and places of interest around Chiang Mai that you can go to and walk around to get some extra steps in!
Bua Tong Waterfalls
A favorite of our was : the Bua Tong Waterfalls (sticky waterfalls). It was a great of climbing up and down the ‘sticky’ lime scaled waterfall. You don’t have to do the trip with a guide but we did book ours through: AirBNB Experiences Our guide Annie was amazing! It was nice and easy booking a tour as it included snacks, water, travel (pick up & drop off) and a very tasty lunch!
However, the falls are easy enough to find so you can scooter there yourself or take public transport (it drops you off about 3 km from the waterfalls). If there’s a bunch of you from a hostel wanting to go together it may be cheaper to rent a red-truck (songthaews).
Entrance once you arrive to the falls is free and there is local food nearby but feel free to bring some snacks along and spend a sunny afternoon there!
There are a few locals who maintain the rocks so that algae doesn’t build up on them and make them slippery again (avoid the areas that are not the white looking rocks as they are slippery!)
Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
This was another fun adventure. We scootered our way up the mountainous west side of Chiang Mai with a brief pit stop at a large and beautiful temple of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. We got our stair climbing booties ready to go and tackled the gorgeous serpent lined steps up 306 stairs the top.
The temple area was stunning albeit a bit full of tourists, and the views were just as amazing. We wandered around the area and after a little bit of time we climbed down and continued our journey to the peak of the mountain.
Near to the peak is the Yod Doi Pui Visitor center. We didn’t realized they rented camping gear!!! We were a bit disappointed as this was our last day in Chaing Mai (our transfer to Pai was the next morning!) so we didn’t get a chance to camp there. I would highly recommend taking advantage of that beautiful place.
Here was the price list for equipment if you do not have tenting stuff of your own.:
A brief pit stop around the camping grounds, we had some food from the local vendor there and we started up the hike to the peak.
This is the most disappointing hike I think I’ve ever done and it’s not because it wasn’t a great hike. It was because the ‘peak’ of the mountain was the literal peak. Surrounded by trees. But it wasn’t a viewpoint. Just a marker on the ground stating we made it to the summit.
Haha! MY MISTAKE!
There is a larger trail you can take to get to the views and local villages and back down to Doi Suthep Temple but we didn’t do it. It was a quick hour and a half hike and back to Chaing Mai we went!
After coming down we researched into the trail and I would recommend doing it! It is about 13.5km long but mostly down hill. Plus all the fresh air and beautiful scenery to keep you company! There’s also coffee shop half-way through which is fitting as you will be trekking around fields of coffee beans. You might as well indulge, you will need the caffeine for the next half of the hike.
There are so many other activities you can do in and around the city from visiting an elephant sanctuary and helping wash and take care of those GIANT creatures in an ethical way to hitting a local yoga class! Even getting a Traditional Thai Massage can feel like a work-out, but it’s also good to take care of the mind just as much as the body!
Farewell Chiang Mai!
I like living my life with a more intuitive way of approaching fitness and nutrition. I said goodbye to Chiang Mai with many cocktails and dancing until my feet hurt at the Night Bazaar but during my stay in that vibrant city I avoided staying in a party hostel which helped with the socializing without alcohol (for the most part 😉 ).
Travelling won’t affect your fitness unless you let it! Make it a priority in your life WHILE travelling, the same as you would at home and there’s less chance you’ll fall off of your fitness journey.