Out of all the places in Thailand we’ve visited Chiang Mai is by far my favourite. We actually cancelled our plans to visit Sukhothai and extended our stay in the city to a total of six wonderful days. So if you’re heading to Chiang Mai here are a few things I’d absolutely suggest doing.
Shop (and eat) at the Sunday Night Market
If you’re lucky enough to be in Chiang Mai for the weekend, you have a lot of great markets to look forward to. Unfortunately we missed the Saturday Walking Street Market, which was only 100 metres from our hotel. But we did arrive in time to catch the Sunday Night Market.
Full of food, clothes and crafts it has something for everyone. You can see from some of the stalls that Chiang Mai is full of arty creative types, with souvenirs reflecting this. We ended up walking around the Main Street where the market was held, as well as the other side streets for almost three hours. Just a tip. Remember which way you entered, after a while the stalls all look the same and you’ll struggle finding your way out.
Check out the street art
Whenever we were walking around the city we couldn’t help but stop and marvel at some of the amazing street art pieces that passed us by. The one pictured is located on Wualai Road just up the street from our hotel. But you’ll find it everywhere you go, most of the artwork we saw was located within the old city walls, where most of the restaurants and bars are, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to spot some for yourself.
Explore the Mae Sa Waterfalls
Image credit: Dan Moore
There are a number of waterfalls around the Chiang Mai area that are open to visitors. And to celebrate our one year anniversary we decided to head to the Mae Sa Waterfalls for the day. It’s made up of ten levels and in the three hours we were there we explored each and everyone. It was so far one of the best things we’ve done on this trip and to commemorate the trip I’m going to write a full post about the waterfalls in the future. So watch this space.
Visit the Doi Suthep Temple
Doi Suthep, otherwise known as Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, is a sacred site for many Thai people and is well worth a visit. If you’re relying on local transport, grab a red taxi to Chiang Mai University where you can grab another taxi to the temple. We got dropped off somewhere completely different and ended up forking our a lot more money than we wanted to get there.
Once you arrive you’ll walk up 306 steps to where the temple is located. The steps are decorated with multi coloured dragons and Serpents, which almost takes your mind of the walk. Almost. The temple itself was ok but it was the views from the top courtyard that really impressed us. The photo at the top of the blog gives you a small look into that view.
Grab a Songthaew (red taxi)
If you don’t fancy walking or grabbing tuk tuks everywhere you go in Chiang Mai songthaews are the way to go. Simply hail them down, tell them where you’re going and if the driver is headed in that direction they’ll take your fare. For a close destination you’ll be charged around 30/40 Baht per person (usually the price is displayed on the side of the vehicle). But if you’re heading a little further out of the city or you want to hire one for the day you’ll be paying a lot more.
Try out the vegetarian restaurants
I’d say even if you aren’t a vegan or vegetarian you should definitely head to some of those restaurants in the city. Out of all the places we’ve visited in Thailand, Chiang Mai was the easiest place to find vegetarian food. We had some really great Pad Thais, Massaman curries and pesto sandwiches. So much so I’m going to dedicate a whole post to it. So keep your eyes peeled for lots of delicious recommendations soon.
Our six days in Chiang Mai were fantastic and we would be happy to visit again. I hope this blog has been helpful and had given you some idea on what to do in Chiang Mai. If you’ve been recently let me know what you got up to.
Until next time.