Located on the ridge of a hill in the area of Mong Nong Hoi village, Mae Rim, Mon Cham is 40 minutes away from the city, and gives you spectacular 360-degree views.
Note: the weather here is chilly every day of the year.
Crystal-embellished and beaded chiffon gown, Digio Bridal
Named after the mountain where the hermit Sudeva lived on its slopes for many years before it became a national park of verdant forest and mountain ranges, Doi Suthep-Pui is perhaps most famous for Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a Buddhist temple on the side of the mountain that we reached after a walk of 300 steps up the intricately carved mythical Naga Serpent Staircase.
It is also well known for Bhubing Palace, the winter residence of the royal family.
This is part of the Himalayan mountain range, and includes Doi Inthanon – the highest mountain in Thailand at 2,565m above ground.
Here, we were surrounded by the natural wonders of lush forests, streaming rivers, and rugged terrain, as well landscaped gardens.
It took about 90 minutes to reach the park from the city. Once there, we climbed to the peak. It was tiring but what an amazing backdrop for your pictures!
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Ho Kham, meaning “gilded hall”, showcases the traditional architecture of the Lanna Kingdom with its beautiful teak structure, multi-tiered roof and golden chofahs (decorative ornaments).
Any thoughts we'd had about making this visit a fast one disappeared into thin air once we saw this awesome building inside the Royal Ratchaphruek, an 80ha park of landscaped gardens named after Thailand’s national flower, the ratchaphruek (cassia fistula or golden shower).
Another highlight was the Orchid Pavilion with a display of countless orchid species.
One of the most memorable experiences of our trip! We fell in love these gentle giants as we learnt about their daily habits and lifestyle, the dedicated conservation efforts initiated by the staff, and the struggle to prevent them from being heartlessly exploited for commercial means.
We even made all-natural herbal “vitamin balls”, which we fed to the elephants by hand, and learnt how to make paper from large amounts of natural fibre sifted out of their poo.
But our main takeaway from this visit was that to truly enjoy the elephants, you have to forget the rides.
Instead, simply observing these magical beasts frolicking in the open fields is happiness in itself. Of course, you can still arrange to have your wedding pictures taken with the elephants, too.
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While you’re enjoying the company of your bridesmaids, point your soon-to-be husband and his motley crew in the direction of this place for thrilling activities.
Adrenalin junkies will love the motorcycle or buggy rides on rugged mountainous terrain and hills, the bungee jumps, and rolling down the hill in an inflatable Xorb ball! For the less adventurous, there’s paintball and go-karting.
Another first for us was rising before dawn to ride in a hot-air balloon, and float 2,134m above the ground to catch the sunrise.
Its beams streamed across alleys, and momentarily stained the clouds in misty golden hues.
Seriously, there is no better way to enjoy the breathtaking view of Chiang Mai. As we soared higher and higher, we felt like we were in Disney's Up and headed towards heaven.
Of course, we also instantly thought about how amazing it would be to get married in one – and found out that Balloon Adventure Thailand not only does solo but wedding ceremonies as well. Spectacular!
Cropped lace top with matching skirt, $1,800 to rent or $2,800 to buy, Rico-A-Mona
After our thrilling ride, we ziplined through the tropical forest!
Also try forest trekking, abseiling and sky bridge walks (left). Who knows? You may get to see gibbons in their natural habitat.
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If you’re looking for couple activities, or something fun for overseas guests to do before or after your wedding, check out this small establishment that organises tie-dye classes and sells beautiful indigo blue merchandise, like clothing, fabric bags, scarves and pouches.
Now, if you thought tie-dyeing was a simple artsy task for teens, you will be surprised at how painstakingly detailed (and fun!) the process of designing your own masterpiece can be.
As we waited for our creations to dry, we sipped organic coffee from a local farmer, who roasted and ground the beans in front of us before serving a great brew.
It was just so inspiring to see how passionate the locals were with their traditional crafts.
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This is in the heart of Chiang Mai’s old walled city and starts at Tha Pae Gate before it stretches for about a kilometre and a half down Ratchadamnoen Road.
It’s open every Sunday from 4pm to midnight, and you should try to get there as early as possible as the crowd thickens considerably later in the evening.
Be prepared to spend a few hours browsing and buying because there are so many goodies to be found here: affordable and unique handcrafted gifts for your guests, yummy Thai snacks, snazzy gifts, souvenirs, and more.
Also vying for attention are large canvas paintings by local artists, who can sketch your portrait in a jiffy, and musicians playing different kinds of music – from jazz to Thai folk songs.
The largest handicraft village in the world, this is famous for handmade merchandise, and has a bit of a Chatuchak vibe except that it features local artisans and craftsmen hard at work in their shops.
Tired and hungry from shopping? Pop into one of the many eateries in the village for a quick bite and rest before continuing on your shopping adventure.
THANKS TO: ELAINE SEAH & TOURISM AUTHORITY THAILAND FOR THEIR GENEROUS SUPPORT; Sittipong Wongsomboon of Northern Smile Travels, and our guide, Ms Roongnapa.
Photography Vee Chin, Styling Steve Thio, assisted by Jimmy Tan
For more wedding and honeymoon inspiration, grab your copy of our March issue from newsstands today!
Inside these pages – Actress Rebecca Lim on heartbreak, lessons learnt and falling in love on her own terms.
Also, our guide on meaningful wedding rituals, divine wedding inspiration from jewellery to gowns and makeup, and our travels in unforgettable Chiang Mai!
See also: LOVE, CHIANG MAI: OUR TRAVELS IN THIS STUNNING CITY WITH ACTRESS REBECCA LIM CAPTURED IN VIDEO