Visiting the Amazing Chiang Mai
This is our second time visiting the amazing Chiang Mai. Arriving at the airport and getting to our Airport Taxi, which charged a flat rate of 150TB, to take your destination in Chiang Mai, was a smooth and simple process. We received great service from our taxi driver who dropped us off right in front of our hotel.
Accommodation in Chiang Mai should not be a problem, ever. With a kazillion listings on Booking.com, Agoda and many others, you can be assured that you will find a perfect place to stay.
As we do all our bookings through Booking.com, we booked our accommodation at a very reasonable price. You simply use the Booking.com app on our phones for booking, and it’s super simple to use and very effective.
For this trip, we booked a nice place close to the “Tha Phae Gate” to the old town. Battery Park Midtown Villa is great value for money accommodation. Situated within walking distance from the Night Markets, Local Shops, and all tourist attractions.
Booking in at The Battery Park Midtown Villa was absolute bliss, with the friendly staff at reception. Taken to a clean room by another friendly lady that you will find all around the villa assisting guests. Some of the best service in Chiang Mai.
Entering the “Old Town”
From where we stayed, it was fairly simple and just straight down the road, but there are different entrances to the old town. We entered through the main gate called the Tha Phae Gate, but there are various entrances along Bunrueang Rit Road, Manee Napparat Road, and Rat Chian Saen Road. The latter can be accessed by vehicle whereby the Tha Phae Gate is only for pedestrians and the occasional cycle.
In front of the Tha Phae Gate, you can buy bird food and feed the hundreds of pigeons on the square. We just sat down and watch the people and the kids feed the birds. Just a relaxing atmosphere.
Coffee Shops, Restaurants, and Pubs
Absolute to many to even start mentioning. You’ll find either a coffee shop, restaurant, bistro or pub around every corner in Chiang Mai. Thai food is very tasty and therefore you can enjoy a Thai dish at any restaurant.
We stopped for a coffee or a beer whenever we felt like it. During hot days we enjoyed a Chang beer as we enjoyed coffee on a rainy day. The climate in Chiang Mai changes by day if not by the hour, so we had to be very adaptable.
Some of our favorite places to stop were Ratchdumnern Coffee. This place serves the best Blueberry Fizz that I have ever had. Maybe it was because I was tired and it was a hot and humid day, or it was simply the best. The best for sure.
Most of our evening meals were consumed at Ugo Restaurant. This place is packed in the evenings, probably one of the most popular restaurants in the Old Town. Service is outstanding and the food and beer even better.
The other cafe that blew our minds with good service, as well as excellent food, is Simple Thai Cafe. This little gem is situated only a few meters from the famous Forever Tattoo Studio. The service is excellent, the food is superb and the beers are cold, not to mention the value for money.
When it comes to coffee, Chiang Mai does not disappoint. There are amazing coffee shops in almost every street in Chiang Mai. We visited a few of them, and the results were fantastic. Coffee is not just coffee when it comes to these coffee shops. They serve it in all different ways and flavors. So if you are a coffee lover you’ll be ok. This town has you covered.
Chiang Mai has some of the best local markets we probably came across during our travels. Some are where the locals get their supplies from, and others are purely tourist based. Nevertheless, these markets are a place that every visitor to the amazing Chiang Mai, must visit.
With its bustling crowds and local atmosphere, Warorot Market (or Kad Luang) can feel a little overwhelming for first-time visitors. Exploring with a guide allows you to overcome the language barrier, improve your bartering skills, and learn about products that you may otherwise have overlooked.
This was the highlight of our market experience in Chiang Mai. This market is less known to tourists. It’s a place where you get the local vibe. People are extremely friendly, and the products are cheaper than the more touristy places in town. We bought peanut toffee sweets from one friendly vendor and some clothing from another and so the day continued until we’ve experienced it all. Luckily the market was only a short distance from where we stayed, so we walked the 20 minutes or so.
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
The main venue for shopping in Chiang Mai, the night bazaar is a can’t-miss part of the Chiang Mai experience. Ground zero of this nightly commerce bomb is located at the intersection of Chang Khlan Road and Loi Khro Road but the whole thing spreads out for two blocks in either direction. Set up time is around sunset (usually about 18:00) and shopping goes on unabated until about 22:30 with a few vendors remaining open even later.
A good way to check out the whole thing is to start at Tha Phae Road and work your way south towards Loi Khro. Once you reach the end of the market, cross the street and work your way back along the other side. Don’t forget to peek down the little sois (alleyways) and arcades along the way. If you see something you like you might want to be patient-there are hundreds of vendors and an absolute flood of products for sale.
We walked about a kilometer from our hotel to reach the Night Bazaar, but it was worth it. It’s the second trip to the amazing Chiang Mai, and we have visited the Night Bazaar on every occasion. It just has this vibe that draws you in and keeps you there until closing time. The music, food, entertainment, and friendly people is what makes this bazaar such a huge success. Make sure you vist this gem on your next visit to Chiang Mai.
Day Tours in and Around amazing Chiang Mai
Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle
An early morning 3-hour drive through beautiful scenery to Chiang Rai, with a brief stop at the Hot Springs at Maekajan for fresh air.
Next stop will be made at Wat Rongkhun (White Chapel), a unique temple, designed by Thailand most prominent artist, Mr. Chalermchai Kositpipat.
Followed by a visit to the Black House, Covering over 100 rai, it comprises more than 25 buildings of pure and applied northern architectural styles. Belonging to the Thai National Visual Artist Thawan Duchanee, Baandam Museum exhibits folk art of local artists from the past to the present together with a large collection of rare folk appliances from the old days.
Lunch will be provided at a local restaurant before continuing to the Golden Triangle area. There are magnificent views over the Mae Khong River to the physical triangle made by Burma, Laos, and Thailand at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong River. For a small fee, you can also enjoy the boat ride to view the splendor of mighty Mae Khong River.
Afterward, return journey back to Chiang Mai.
Wat Doi Suthep & Meo Hilltribe
A short, relaxing drive takes you up the slopes of Doi Suthep Peak to visit a Meo (Hmong) hilltribe to observe their simple way of life. The Meo hilltribe originated in South China and usually live on mountain peaks or plateaus above 3000 feet. Due to its proximity to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep which is visited by many tourists, this particular village is a little more commercial than the traditional hilltribe villages.
This is followed by a visit to the most sacred temple in the north, Wat Phra Thad Doi Suthep, containing a holy relic of Lord Buddha. On a clear day, the panoramic views of the city from the temple ground are truly spectacular!
Your own Tour of the Town
Since Chiang Mai is such an amazing place, we wanted to see more of it without taking a guided tour.
Easy! We asked a Tuk Tuk driver if he is willing to take us around town for a half a day, and he agreed. We agreed on a fixed tariff for the tour. It was the best experience ever. This person has a great knowledge of the place and took us to the most amazing places and explained everything to us.
We were treated like royalty. we saw places that tourist never get to see if they make use of fixed tours. He took us to ruins, Wats and Temples that are on no tour lists. It was just awesome.
We booked him for a similar tour the next day. He took us to the textile industry and showed us around the area. He organized tours within the factories and waited patiently for us to finish.
Needless to say that we gave him a fair tip for his amazing service.