On a whim I decided to fly from Laos to Thailand as so many of my friends I met along the way had great things to say about it.
I started in the north in the city of Chiang Mai known for hundreds of Buddhist temples, rich culture, and a calmer pace compared to the chaos of the southern city of Bangkok.
My time in Chiang Mai consisted of leisurely wandering between delicious food and historic sights. My favorite thing to do was to stroll through the backstreets where hidden guesthouses adorned with gardens, cafes, and less frequented temples lay.
The temple options seem literally endless. At this point in my trip I wasn’t itching to go temple hopping so much but I knew that Thailand was known for it’s Buddhist Temples so I planned to see at least a few. I ended up at Wat Phra Singh (20 Baht entry)– one of the countries most esteemed temples.
Next up was Wat Chedi Luang (40 Baht entry). The grounds were nice to stroll around but most interesting here is the the daily Monk Chat under a tree- allowing insight into the Buddhist ways and life of a monk. I didn’t have the chance to partake but I would definitely go back just for this reason. Another popular one I didn’t make it to is Wat Phra That Doi Suthep- sitting atop a mountain.
About an hours drive outside the city brought me into lush green countryside and jungle where I had the opportunity to meet the most incredible creatures at the Elephant Nature Park. This was an experience of a lifetime to an organization that does it right- something hard to find!
Though from what I read there are markets everyday the two I head most about where the Sunday night market and the Saturday Walking Street markets. I opted for the Sunday markets which were massive- extending in multiple directions. You could find your typical SEA souvenirs here, delicious local food, live music, as well as a stronger focus on local arts than other markets I have been to.
Thanks to recommendations I got before arriving there are some restaurants and cafes that should not be missed!
Ginger Kafe- from the aesthetic, to the unique shakes, and both local and western food this restaurant does not disappoint at any time of day.
By Hand Pizza- hands down some of the best pizza I ate in all of SEA. Many options and delicious combinations of flavors.
The Cat House- a hidden treat with delicious fresh dishes and desserts made with healthy ingredients
See You Soon Cafe- another venue which is as visually appealing as the food. And they have fresh avocado 🙂 Great to get some work done or to spend some time people watching those who stroll by.
Helpful Hint- seek out the “red trucks”, the local taxis, (you can’t miss them) which dot the city streets. For no more than 100 THB you can get anywhere including the airport.
There also is shuttle bus from the airport which only costs 40 THB much cheaper than a taxi. Turn left outside the customs check gate. You will need to wait a short amount of time to fill the bus before departing but it was worth it.