Chiang Mai is everything that everyone says it would be. The total opposite of crazy Bangkok. Now there's not much to do in the actual city itself, other than temple hopping. (And coffee hopping!) Ultimately, Chiang Mai is often treated as a base point for day trips in North Thailand. Or a quick rest stop in between travels before embarking to one's intended destination. And we are no different from the masses. Like Luang Prabang, Chiang Mai was more of a transitional city for us as me made our way from Vietnam to Myanmar.
The one week we've spent in Chiang Mai was rather underwhelming, to be honest. Don't get me wrong. We much prefer this laidback city over chaotic Bangkok, but when it comes down to it:
Temple, Coffee Shop, eat, sleep. Repeat.
I don't want to under sell Chiang Mai. It's a great city to chillax and take it easy. It absolutely excels in that. There are tons of cheap foodie and coffee options to choose from. More so than Luang Prabang or Hoi An, in my opinion. By all means, please do visit this wonderful little city! It will not disappoint!
If you don't believe me, and all the other travelers who has passed through Chiang Mai, then take it from an expat. A travel buddy of mine, Henry Wu, who has lived in Chiang Mai for quite a bit and swears by the unpretentious charms of this place. Henry kindly provided an extensive list of must sees and must dos. Check the list out below!
When: March 2017
Temp: 85-95 F
Cities: Chiang Mai
Stay: Hostel by Bed
Recommend: Any Coffee Shop (Ristr8to Lab, Taa Peng Cat, Fern Forest Cafe, My Secret Cafe in Town, etc.), Night Bazaar, Saturday and Sunday Walking Street Market, Nimmanhemin, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Pan Tao, Wat Phra Singh, Wat Muen Ngen Kong, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Wat Phra That Doi Kham, Tiger Kingdom.
// Chiang Mai List per Henry Wu //
Places To Visit: Lake at Chiang Mai University, Nong Buak Haad Public Park
Things To Do: Get a massage at ITM Massage School, Have a walk around The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai hotel grounds
Coffee Shops: Birds Nest Cafe, The Barn Eatery and Design, Akha Ama Coffee, Marble Arch
Night Life: The North Gate Jazz Co-op, Zoe in Yellow
Venture outside Chiang Mai: Pai, Play with elephants at Chai Lai Orchid Eco Resort, Moncham, Motorbike around Mae Sa Valley