Thailand is one of my favorite travel destinations. The country has it all; Beautiful beaches, diverse rainforest and buzzing big city life. In the upcoming time, I will share some of my favorite destinations in Thailand, this time Chiang Mai. Find previous stories here.
Chiang Mai: The cozy city in the north
Chiang Mai was founded in 1296 as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom. Today the city is the biggest in Northern Thailand and has endless opportunities when it comes to experiencing all the good stuff Thailand has to offer such as amazing food, elephants, temples and jungle treks.
Treks from Chiang Mai
We arrived in Chiang Mai after a wonderful trek in the Umphang jungle – I’ll get back to that in another post!
Chiang Mai is fun! From the city, you can go on treks into the jungle. The longer the trek, the deeper into the jungle you get. If you google, you can find anything from day trips to 7-day treks. I would definitely recommend spending a night in the jungle in Thailand. The sound of the many animals in the otherwise dark and silent jungle is pretty awesome, as well as starring up at a thousand stars away from the lights of the city. The sky is completely different and much clearer when you look at it far away from the lights of the cities.
How we got around in Chiang Mai
We rented a scooter, as we arrived. Which we found to be the easiest way to get around, as we lived at an airbnb a bit outside the city. It felt pretty dangerous though since traffic in Thailand and traffic back home in Denmark are two very different things. At times I felt really scared, but other times it was really just fun! Anyway, we managed to survive and it was a fun thing to try (proably wouldn’t do it again though!)
Another way to get around is by catching a ride with a Songthaew, which is a pick-up truck kind of vehicle, made into a shared taxi/bus. Our Airbnb host recommended us not to do this, as he said a lot of tourist were very confused with these and ended up getting lost around the city.
The night market in Chiang Mai
The first day we were in Chiang Mai, there was a market which went through almost the entire city center. The market was full of amazing food and artists selling their things. It was easily one of the best markets I have ever been to since there was almost no tourist-crap, but plenty of interesting things. We walked through the market for HOURS and found some of the most amazing stuff. For example we bought some drawings from an artist at this market, which is now hanging on the walls of our apartment. On markets in Thailand you should never accept the first price they give you, as they know that they can easily charge tourist extra, so try to bargain a bit and dare to walk away, if the price is not reasonable.
Coffee in Chiang Mai
We visited one of the coolest cafés I have ever been to, café Ristr8to, while we were in Chiang Mai. Our Airbnb host recommended this place to us and it was perfect, even more so for a coffee-nerd like myself. They have multiple coffee beans and the baristas are amazingly talented. Every cup is a tiny piece of art. How do they even make latte art in an espresso cup? It is so tiny, I am amazed!
Visiting the Royal Winter Residence
Later we visited the royal winter residence, which was a bit up in the mountains that surround Chiang Mai. The residence had the most wonderful garden with thousands of beautiful flowers. It was so nice to walk around in the garden and enjoy the different smells and colors from the flowers. When visiting the royal winter residence you should remember the dress code: No bare-shoulders and long pants/skirts. Just like when you visit the many temples in the country.
Eating in Chiang Mai
I don’t want to recommend any specific restaurant. One thing I learned from traveling Thailand is that the street vendors usually have the best food at the cheapest price, in any case, you’ll get to try some authentic Thai-food. Go where the locals go and I promise you’ll find the best Thai-food. If you haven’t been to Thailand, I would say the food alone is more than enough reason to visit. It is so good!
Volunteering at Elephant Nature park
I have not volunteered in an elephant park myself, but I would love to since elephants are my favorite animal. Also this is a great way to experience the wonderful giants, without them getting hurt or harmed in any way. It is a much better alternative to riding elephants for instance which requires the trainers to be very brutal to the elephants to be able to tame them.
My friend Taylor who blogs at The things my eyes have seen has though and has written a great post about her experience with elephant volunteering. Go check it out!
Have you ever been to Chiang Mai?
Share your thought on the city in the comments below.
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