No trip to Thailand is complete without a stop in Chiang Mai. Nestled at the base of the Himalayas, this northern city is quickly becoming one of the cultural capitals of Asia. With parts of the old city walls still in tact, it is one of the most beautiful and historically preserved ancient cities in Thailand. The Ping River surrounds one half of the old city and the mountains shelter the other.
Chiang Mai is a popular stop for other backpackers, for the beautiful temples, night markets and it serves as a perfect stopping point before heading further into the mountains. We stayed in Chiang Mai for 4 days, 3 nights before heading on to Pai (which is also fantastic).
Here are my top three highlights
- Explore the city It sounds pretty basic, but I met too many backpackers who didn’t take the time to really wander through the city. Chiang Mai’s old city walls are still in tact, but that does not mean you cannot leave those boundaries. There are some incredible bars, kitsch little shops, wicker furniture stores and coffee carts just over those walls.
2. Night Bazaar Chiang Mai had a sensational Night Bazaar. The most amazing BBQ food. I honestly had so many BBQ’d corn on the cobs, I just kept going back for more! Stretches for miles and lasts for hours, I definitely recommend an evening at the Night Bazaar. Stands vary from touristy souvenirs, beautiful jewellery, fake brands, authentic Thai food to Thai food for westerners.
3. Elephant rescue centre For many backpackers, Chiang Mai means the Elephant Rescue Centre. It’s a well known fact that it is unethical to ride elephants, as it causes them pain. Centres around Chiang Mai rescue previously abused elephants and allows tourists to visit the centre to feed and bathe the elephants. A great way to contribute to the ongoing care of elephants in Thailand. Also they’re super cute! They rolled around in a river and we feed them bananas, just the best day ever.
Thank you for reading! Please comment with your own Thailand adventures and any travelling tips!