If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and visit a city with an authentic Thai experience, make your way up north to Chiang Mai. It is the second largest city in Thailand, but also feels very small at the same time. It is filled with delicious food, friendly locals, and gorgeous temples. We got a cheap one hour flight from Bangkok and spent three days in this beautiful city.
Things To Do
Visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is located at the top of Doi Suthep Mountain among lush jungle surroundings. We took a nine mile cab ride to the entrance and climbed 308 steps up a cool looking serpent staircase to see the temple. The views from the top are definitely worth it! There is a dress code here. Girls make sure to cover your shoulders and knees or they won’t let you in!
Sunday Walking Street Market
The Sunday Walking Street Market is by far the most memorable and beautiful market in Chiang Mai. It stretches from Thapae gate all the way to Wat Pra Singh. It has everything you can think of! Food, clothing, artwork, etc! It runs every Sunday from 4:30pm until midnight.
Visit An Elephant Sanctuary
You can’t come to Thailand without visiting an elephant sanctuary. We visited Ran-Tong Elephant Sanctuary, which was about an hour drive from Chiang Mai. They will send someone in a van to come pick you up from your hotel to take you to the sanctuary. They are devoted to rescuing abused elephants from all over Thailand and help rehabilitate them back to health. We were able to make food for their special diets, bathe them, and even helped a little bit in their rehabilitation process! We loved every minute we got to spend with these gentle giants.
Muay Thai is Thailand’s national sport. It started out as a form of military combat that the armed forces of the Siamese empire were trained in. Now it has evolved into Thailand’s favorite pastime. We went to Thapae Boxing Stadium, which is within walking distance from the center of the city. We paid 400 baht, which is equivalent to $13 USD, and got to watch five fights.
Where To Eat
Street vendors! They are everywhere in Thailand. Just look for the vendors that have a long line of locals because they know it must be good! We did eat at one sit down restaurant in Chiang Mai and we definitely recommend it. The restaurant is called Huen Phen. It had delicious and authentic Thai food. Here’s a link to find it on Google Maps: Huen Phen Restaurant
Where To Stay
We stayed at an Airbnb in the center of Chiang Mai during our visit. We were within walking distance of the night markets, city square, and a bunch of restaurants and bars. We highly recommend this place as Jitsingh, the landlord of the house, and his family were very hospitable! They gave us recommendations on food, helped us get cabs when we needed them, and just made our stay very enjoyable. Here’s a link to the listing on Airbnb: Kitti Rose Home
Chiang Mai is a MUST visit city on your trip to Thailand. It was definitely the highlight of our trip and we would highly recommend you to check it out!