After much deliberation I decided last minute to finish off my trip in Chiang Mai. I was hesitant because I didn’t fancy another internal flight. My alternative was to move to another quieter part of Phuket. But I had quite simply had enough of the place.
The flight over was actually quite relaxing, I had near enough the whole plane to myself.
I’m so glad I decided to come to Chang Mai. It’s a beautiful city. Very scenic with temples just randomly between coffee shops and restaurants. There’s old city ruins here in the mix of it all too which adds to the character of the city. There’s no Thai’s shouting at you. No one is pushing you to buy anything, at all… and hardly any massage parlours.
I had heard about it in a random book I found on my Kindle, a few nights before the trip. Having flicked through the book, it sounded like a good place to finish off.
Upon first arriving I was quite surprised to hear how good the taxi man’s English was, having being used to real broken and stuttered conversations. He was very helpful and told me all the wonderful touristy things I could get upto in Chiang Mai.
When I arrived at my hotel they were very helpful also. Their English was also brilliant. Better than mine.
They sat me down with a map and pointed out various restaurants, temples, bars and sights I should go see. I had a good feeling about Chiang Mai already.
Wat Chedi Luang
The first temple I went to was walking distance from my hotel.
There were some monks knocking around you could just go up and have a chat with. One was delighted to hear that I was English, saying he was fed up with American accent. Can monks even be judgmental like that? I didn’t think they were supposed to talk!
After visiting the temple, I had a walk down the street in a random direction just to see what was about. There were a lot of little stalls and shops – including a Coconut stand. They simply hack the top of coconut and you have it through a straw.
So refreshing. Every time I saw one of these stands I had one.
A strange one was ‘Coconut scoop’. It was real soft and jelly like. I think it’s the inside bit of a coconut. Not sure how they do it, but very nice.
Whole Earth Restaurant
I got a tuk tuk to the hotels recommended restaurant, Whole Earth. It’s in a real nice Thai garden setting, a little out the way. My shoes had to come off before I went in.
My taxi driver from the airport had said the food in Chiang Mai is excellent, far better than Bangkok and the Islands. I decided to give my old favorite Pad Thai a go.
It did not disappoint. And for a little over a fiver, you can’t argue.
Stange fruit and yoghurt desert.
After food I decided to head down to the night markets that Chiang Mai is well known for. It’s called ‘Night Bizarre’ and this whole street becomes a night market, with live music, street food, hand made crafts, counterfit clothing and more.
A lot of the stands were the same. Once you’ve seen 3, you’ve seen them all I think. But some of them had some great handmade elephants and Buddhas (yeah, more Buddhas). I naturally bought some souvenirs.
Having read a little about it on TripAdvisor, part of the fun of the Night Bizarre is to haggle with the stall owners. The stall owners expect it and, enjoy it too. But, when something is only like 3 quid anyway, I just didn’t have the heart to say, no 2 quid? Just seems… cruel.
Ran Out Of Clothes
I had already used a laundry service in Phi Phi… but it looked as though I was about to run out of clothes again, right before the end of the trip. I took advantage of the clothing stalls on the market and bought some counterfeit Ralph Loren and Lacoste tops. I think they come to around 6 quid each. This would see me through to the end of the trip.
I headed home after the Night Market for an early night.
On the morning of Day 11, I came across a cool American style diner, ‘Butter Is Better‘ run by Thai’s. From what I could gather in the story of the menu, the owner, Dao, had taught herself European and American cooking.
I ordered a breakfast of champions, which was an american style breakfast, with eggs, sausage, hash browns, toast… a much needed home comfort meal to start the day.
Breakfast is a tough one in Thailand, I’m unsure of what constitutes a Thai breakfast apart from weird selections of meat?
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
I then got a taxi up a large mountain around 20 minutes away to a temple. This temple got my interest because it is the highest point in Chiang Mai, and has amazing views. as it was sunny and clear I thought it would be a good time to do it.
As soon as as got close to the mountain, it started raining…
The taxi man took me so far up, but then you have to climb a lot of steps. There is a lift, but… that’s not my style. When you get to the temple you have to take your shoes off and walk around barefoot. As it had been been raining, it was very wet and slippy.
From the top there was some great views.
Around the temple there were some little market stalls. I had some more coconuts and a corn on the cob – that the Thai woman smothered with butter and salt.
The taxi man dropped me off in town, where I came across a cafe called ‘Catmosphere‘. It was a cat cafe. I went inside and had a Green Matcha Latte with cats climbing all over me. Hygienic.
It was very strange. There were no seats, you simply sat on the floor. There was even a ‘cat menu’ telling you all the cats names.
A Stroll Through The Town
After the cafe I decided to take a wander. I didn’t really fancy doing anything touristy. Didn’t want to see any elephants or tigers or anymore temples. Just wanted to walk.
I found some food stalls, with very strange and weird food.
I saw some balls which seemed to be very popular. I asked the guy what they were and I couldn’t understand what he said. So I asked if I could try just one.
He nodded, and began filling a whole bag of them.
Turns out they were really nice, fried sweet potato balls I think.
As it was my last night in Chiang Mai I decided I wanted to go try the best rated restaurant according to TripAdvisor. It was called Lemongrass.
Upon arrival, it looked modest. It had a (maybe unintentional) hipster vibe, with graffiti and holes in the wall, but it was very full. I had to wait for a table. There were even Japanese girls taking selfies against the restaurant sign. Must be good then I thought.
their motto was… no view but tasty… OK.
I had a local IPA to drink and for food I had Khao Soi – recommended of a Thailand food guide I’d found online days before. It was amazing. Soft noodles and chicken in like a spicy aromatic sauce/soup, with crispy noodles on the side.
It cost a fiver. Brilliant fast service too. highly recommend Lemongrass.
I strolled home through the night market and found some Rotti – a crepe desert you can fill with bananas and nutella etc – I had been recommended to try this so I did.
On the way back to the hotel I stopped for a quick pint in ‘the Red Lion’ where I found all the English! I hadn’t seen any in Chiang Mai before this.
Day 12 – Going Home
So tonight I’ll be travelling home. Around 11.30pm fropm BKK. First I’ll have to get a flight to BKK from Chiang Mai. It means I’ll get home Sunday night in the UK – which is a total of 13 days, not 14… hmm.
Today I’m going to have a little wander around and maybe a chill in the pool. As I write this I’m being given an endless amount of free green tea in the hotel bar. Buzzin’. Probably why this post is so long.
All in all I really like Chiang Mai, it’s possibly my favourite place I’ve visited. Up there with Phi Phi.
- You should definitely include Chiang Mai on your trip
- Try a coconut
- Visit Whole Earth & LemonGrass for food!
I managed to fit quite a lot in 13 days with a lot of travel time too. it’s been a bit of a crash course of Thailand, but now I know the layout of Island a little more I would have switched it up and done it slightly differently. I would have wanted to see Koh Sumui and Koh Tao had I stayed longer also.
Bangkok (2 nights)
Koh Phangan (2 nights)
Krabi (1 Night)
Phi Phi (2 Nights)
Phuket (2 Nights)
Chiang Mai (2 Nights)