Manual Must See Chiang Mai Thailand

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If you're willing to travel a little further afield, you'll find that Chiang Mai is ringed with outstanding, unique places to see and things to do. There's Thailand's.
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Although there are enough choices in the immediate area to keep you occupied for at least a week or more, most people will find that 48 hours in Chiang Mai's Old City area is enough to enjoy the best it has to offer. We'll focus our two-day itinerary on activities within or very near to the Old City. First things first. If your two days in Chiang Mai include a weekend, adjust your itinerary to go see the Saturday or Sunday "walking street" markets in the evening.

Here is the list of best places to visit in Chiang Mai:

They're a crowded-but-enjoyable Chiang Mai experience popular with locals and tourists alike. You can sample many kinds of food, shop, people watch and enjoy free entertainment. The Saturday market is slightly more popular with locals, perhaps because it isn't held at Tapae Gate, essentially the front door of the city. Fewer tourists accidentally walk up on the Saturday market than the Sunday version.

Unlike the Saturday market, the Sunday version is held front and center at the main gate of the city. The market stretches down Ratchadamnoen Road, the primary road through the Old City.

Scores of people accidentally "discover" the market, so it becomes very busy and disrupts traffic. Although crowded enough to induce claustrophobia during the high season , the Sunday market arguably hosts more options and has grown to stretch down adjacent streets. Both markets begin in the late afternoon and wrap up by 11 p. Arrive early if you're serious about eating and shopping — it will be hard to move around much later in the evening!

Prices for locally made souvenirs and trinkets are competitive, and the shopping environment is fun. Morning: Plan to spend your first day in Chiang Mai getting your bearings and visiting some of the temples in the Old City.

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Bucket List of 18 Things to do in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Grab a free map and begin walking. You can take tuk-tuks to farther points when you get tired taxis aren't really a thing in Chiang Mai. Stop for frequent breaks at one of the many quaint cafes or healthy juice shops. While visiting temples, ask about attending a "monk chat. These daily events provide a unique opportunity to learn a little about how the monks live and think. Note: You should be dressed appropriately for interacting with the monks. Lunch: For lunch, choices abound. You probably passed a dozen cute places during your wanderings, but here are a few possibilities:.

Chiang Mai is an oasis for inexpensive massage options, although more lavish spas can also be found. The supervised inmates are taught massage as a job skill that will be valuable after their release. The multi-level indoor market is located a minute walk east of the Old City, just before the Ping River.

Top Things To Do In Chiang Mai

Warorot Market sells supplies to local restaurants, but it won't be as busy in the afternoon. With a little negotiating , souvenirs will inevitably be cheaper than the next stop. They typically open around 6 p. The Night Bazaar lures in and overcharges tourists seven days a week.

Tip: Ignore all of those many fliers advertising Thai boxing at the stadium. Young men will have given you a handful by now. As you could already guess, it's pretty well a tourist trap. There are better ways to spend your time in Chiang Mai. The House by Ginger , although pricey by local standards, serves delicious food in a beautiful setting.

Find the popular restaurant just north of Tapae Gate. You'll probably need reservations on weekends. If you prefer to make dinner a more inexpensive "local" experience, go enjoy the outdoor eating scene at Chiang Mai Gate in the southeastern part of the Old City.


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Numerous carts sell delicious local food cooked in front of you. They get set up in the evening just before sunset. Most of the bars in the city observe a strict midnight closing time, although there are after-hours spots.

Best Chiang Mai Temples Cheat Sheet

For a serious party — and numerous live music choices — head over to Zoe in Yellow. The square at the corner of Ratchapakhinai Road and Ratvithi Road is home to small live-music venues that cover the spectrum of dance, reggae, ska, and even heavy metal. The 48 Garage car bar on the corner is a good option if the drunk backpackers around Zoe get to be too much.

The popular hole-in-the-wall is a Chiang Mai institution. Jazz musicians sometimes famous ones jam as spectators sweat and sway in the cramped space hours: 7 p. Assuming you aren't visiting during the "burning season" when smoke obscures views, you'll be able to photograph Chiang Mai from above.

Top Things to do in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Even if you've seen your fill of temples, this one is different and worth exploring. The peaceful grounds are rarely busy. Options on top are limited. If breakfast wasn't substantial, go 10 minutes north through Chiang Mai University to the Nimmanhemin Road area. Frequently shortened to "Nimman," this part of Chiang Mai is home to many tempting choices. A three-course meal for two costs around 1, baht. Then move to the adjoining House Lounge, another elegant throwback where monkeys and birds frolic on the wallpaper and vases of plants and flowers complete the jungle lodge vibe.

A Colonial Cordial Scotch, Papidoux calvados, Grand Marnier, thyme liqueur, bitters; baht is practically a must, and dress code is B. Founded in the late 13th century and still home to many Buddhist monks, the complex is best known for its bell-shaped, 14th-century stone pagoda — reached by stone stairs lined with scaly beasts — and rock caverns filled with Buddha statues and figurines in the niches and alcoves.

Beat the heat by arriving in the morning and taking a meditative stroll amid a soundtrack of birds, roosters, chants and bells. The mood shifts from contemplation to creation in the nearby forest clearing containing Baan Kang Wat artisan village. Meandering paths lead to cafes, teahouses, juice stands, funky shops and craft studios selling everything from handmade paper goods to baby clothes. Follow the sound of hammer-tapping to Saprang , where the award-winning jewelry designer Supat Suwannasing makes delicate earrings and bracelets that often employ nature motifs like leaves and vines.

Wood and ceramics are the choice materials at Bookoo Studio , which sells smooth and simple creations like bowls and chopping boards. Your lifelong quest to consume spicy frog soup and stir-fried ant eggs ends at Huen Muan Jai restaurant, another village-like sprawl of rustic wooden houses and pavilions. Porcine dreams are also satisfied, with a menu that features pork wrapped in banana leaves, tossed in jackfruit soup, stir-fried with mushrooms, encased in an omelet or cooked to cotton-ball softness in a red curry as thin and powerful as a flyweight boxer.

More mainstream meats and fish also make appearances in local specialties like khao soy — a mix of chicken or beef with boiled and crispy noodles in sweet coconut broth — while desserts combine coconut milk with either bananas or corn and sticky rice to ambrosia-like effect.

Things to Do in Chiang Mai, Thailand - Chiang Mai Attractions

Two can lunch copiously for baht. Local artists have contributed to almost every space in Art Mai? Southward, Gallery Seescape has rotating exhibitions and also showcases the work of its founder, Torlarp Larpjaroensook — including his dreamy abstract paintings and playful robot sculptures — while Jojo Kobe specializes in screen prints by artists like Kittisak Chaimoonta notable for his surreal, dark humanoid figures and Thaiwijit Puengkasemsomboon a devotee of colorful abstraction.

Farther south, a sculptural white unicorn announces Chiang Mai University Art Center, a Le Corbusier-inspired concrete-and-glass structure filled with airy white galleries, modernist Bauhaus lines, rotating contemporary art exhibitions — and puzzlingly few visitors. How do you like your crab fat? Another hidden gem off Nimmanhaemin Road, the cult restaurant is not fancy simple cement floor and tile tables , not romantic bright lighting , not large barely space for a dozen , not easy to reserve you must book the day before you want to dine , not easy to find one floor above street level and almost unmarked and not abounding with choices the nightly set menu, at 1, baht, is the only option.

Along nearby Nimmanhaemin Road you can travel the world in 80 beers — more, in fact — at Beer Lab. The convivial outdoor bar draws college kids, N. Or you can soar above the city at the open-air rooftop bar of the Hotel Yayee. Surely you have wondered: What would happen if Hieronymus Bosch was reincarnated as a LSD dealer with a pop-culture obsession in 21st-century Thailand? The permanent collection of Thai contemporary art also features playful and sinister severed sculptural limbs by Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, and paintings of pained, howling faces by Chatchai Puipia.