Researching Chiang Mai was quite challenging. There was little “off the beaten track” content online. On top of that, I also couldn’t really visualize how Chiang Mai is like from what I see and heard from others. So how is it different from other Thailand series? I guess you will never know until you’ve actually stepped into the city and feel its vibe for itself.
So Chiang Mai is a city of the northern province of Thailand. However, it is a relatively small city compared to Bangkok. In contrast to the places I have been in Thailand, Chiang Mai is a much quieter and more touristy. What I love about the city is the blend of the old with the new. In every corner of this city, you will notice a preservation of historical monuments and sites surrounded by modern development around it.
Morbi vitae purus dictum, ultrices tellus in, gravida lectus.

AUTHOR

Wally

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Travel to Thailand, Asia

POSTED ON

Sept 19, 2020

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wandering.wally

Getting around Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Map
Chiang Mai in itself is a pretty big place but the most interesting part of it is the old city. If you look at maps, you will notice that there is a central, inner layered, “walled” city, within Chiang Mai. This where all of the history is. In the days of old, this walled city was a capital city of Lanna Kingdom. Today, it is dotted with many interesting temples, ruins of old cultural and religious centres.
Chiang Mai Old City Landmark
Most of these landmarks are easy to get to. In fact, we got around with just bicycles, completing the top half of the walled city in just under four hours. If you are staying in the old city like us, you can visit Tawan bikes. They offer great rates with quality bicycles at only THB50 for an entire day! If you aren’t looking for a little workout then you can always still catch a ride with the local ride hailing app, Grab. Alternatively, there are also the tuktuks or songhthaews, which are readily available anywhere. My advise for you is to compare prices first before you hop onto any. As a benchmark, we relied on the Grab app to give us an indicative pricing for transport to anywhere within Chiang Mai.

Where we stayed in Chiang Mai

As I mentioned in earlier paragraphs, we stayed within the walls of the Old City. In terms of convenience, staying within the walls is always best. Furthermore, when we arrived into Chiang Mai it was close to evening time. So being in a central location was great. For our first night, we checked in to a cozy little inn, which was aptly named, Cozy Inn. The inn is pretty central with close vicinity to places to eat, landmarks of interests and nearby transportation. As a result, staying here gave us the time and convenience for us to go around the historical sites of the old city the next morning.

Chiang Mai Cozy InnChiang Mai Cozy Inn Room

Our stay at Anantara Resort Chiang Mai

If you have the means to splurge, Anantara is the place you want to stay. It is comfortable, luxurious with impeccable service, you would NOT want to leave your room once you are here. However, the location of Anantara is outside of the old city, which isn’t as convenient as staying in the old city, where all the action is.

Chiang Mai Anantara LobbyChiang Mai Anantara LawnChiang Mai Anantara PoolChiang Mai Anantara RoomChiang Mai Anantara Room Balcony

Temples, temples, temples… and the occasional massage

There are so many temples, just within the old city alone. If you want to visit every one of them, you will definitely need more time to truly appreciate each and everyone of them. Despite that, we still attempted to visit some of them, we tried to pick out what seem interesting to us. Some of these temples are quite interesting and we also managed to put in a prayer or two in some of the temples. If you are someone who isn’t that much interested seeing old cultural and religious centres, then I would say, Chiang Mai’s old city may not really be for you. However, what we found extremely fun though, was cycling between those landmarks. We really enjoyed just taking in the history and city views on bicycle, taking our time and having the freedom to pick where we want to stop.

While I did say that Chiang Mai old city is all about old culture and religious sites, there are still other places of interests, outside of the city. In the next day, we ventured further outside of the city to visit Doi Suthep mountain. There is some nature to be seen and the ride up was interesting as well. There are some tour packages that you can take for Doi Suthep which covers some landmarks within this mountainous area. But for us, we took up a half day tour with KLOOK. We visited one of northern Thailand’s most sacred temples that sits at the top Doi Suthep. This temple is worth a visit as the journey up the mountains is quite beautiful and the views Chiang Mai you get from the temple of is breathtaking.

Extreme Chiang Mai

For the adventure seekers, there is Pongyang Jungle Coaster and Adventure Park. The theme park is located at the Mae Rim District, further north from Doi Suthep and the old city. If you are visiting, be prepared for an adrenaline rush because the attractions here are exciting and unique. Why? This theme park is set within a lush jungle! Imagine zipping through the forest on a roller coaster and zip lining through jungle! The park has at least 45 minutes worth of rides on 14 action-packed platforms.

Chiang Mai Pongyang Theme ParkPongyang Theme Park Chiang MaiPongyang Theme Park Chiang Mai 2Pongyang Theme Park Chiang Mai 3Pongyang Theme Park Chiang Mai 4

The highlight of this park for me is the Jungle Coaster. The ride is five minutes of dips, twists and turns, keeping you excited and wanting more! The ride was fun, not really scary and is suitable for both children and adults. If that is still too exciting for you, you can slow it down through a system of brakes and levers.

Pongyang Theme Park Chiang Mai Jungle CoasterPongyang Theme Park Chiang Mai Jungle Coaster 2

Before you leave the park, the one last thing you need to do is to enjoy a cup of Thai milk tea and a slice of cake here. We loved this jungle cafe because you will be chilling at the netted seating area along the waterfall area. I wish we had more time to laze around here all day!

Pongyang Theme Park Chiang Mai Jungle CafePongyang Theme Park Chiang Mai Jungle Cafe 2

This ends my little post about Chiang Mai’s historical and cultural landmarks. Please check out part 2 of Chiang Mai, where I am focusing more on food! Check it out here: Chiang Mai: A Foodie’s Heaven

If you’re keen on other parts of Thailand, check out my other posts too: