My Dad and I are going with some family friends for a holiday in Thailand in December, from around the 20th to the end of January. We will mainly tour Bangkok and Chiang Mai and we're also going to go to explore Vietnam as well. We will be with a Thai tour operator for the bulk of the trip (Vietnam is all operator), but for the rest of the time we will explore Thailand on our own.
Elephants and full moon parties are cool but, personally, I am more interested in Muay Thai and food– I can go to trance party at home anyway. I know you can drop in at gyms and train. We'll be around Bangkok and Chiang Mai, so anybody know of any good spots it will be helpful to point them out. Definitely going to check out Lumpini Stadium as well and see a Muay Thai fight.
Also, I know that street food is great, but some people advise against eating it. As far as street food is concerned, I read that Lumpini Park in Bagnkok is a really famous spot. Apparently China Town is good too. Really, I'm looking for anybody's personal experiences and gems, because I want it all! If anyone has had any experience with either of these two things and some suggestions I would be grateful.
Also, I am a spiritual person and intend going to visit the temples. But, are there any in either Vietnam or Thailand that anyone has been to that were particularly serene and off-the-beaten-path, so to speak. We will visit Wat Arun and Grand Palace in Bangkok, Temple Naga in Chiang Mai, even though I don't like crowds that much. Ironic, going in peak season. Anyway, anything will be helpful!