Chiang Mai is northern Thailand’s largest city and Thailand’s fifth largest; it’s not as progressive as Bangkok but it has its own charm — it is slow yet lively, old yet exotic, it is also filled with culture and history. To better appreciate Chiang Mai, Hubby and I decided to stay 15 minutes outside the Old City by tuktuk (read about our resort here), taking advantage of the life outside the City walls, but close enough that we can commute there in a quarter of an hour.
Driving from Chiang Mai International Airport to the Old City isn’t a spectacular experience but once you arrive in the Old City, everything transforms in sight.
Thapae Gate. Photo credit: Chiang Mai Places
Wat Chedi Luang. Photo credit: self
The Old City is small — it’s only around 4 square kilometres and square-ish in shape. But don’t be fooled by its size. Chiang Mai’s Old City has plenty of sites to be seen — there are a variety of markets and shops, centuries-old temples, some greeneries, and cafes and bars. Its small size also allows tourists to walk the entire Old City by foot and tuktuk in a day. Here’s an itinerary of a walking tour which I’ve grabbed online for your reference.
Photo credit: RxKxBx
On the one hand, you could either join bike tours or rent a bicycle yourself and go sightseeing at your own pace. On the other, you could opt to walk. And since Hubby couldn’t bike in the streets, we decided to walk. It’s not the most practical option but this is our only choice to get moving. Our pace was slow but we were able to see some important things and relax for a bit.
We started our day in the Old City by having a scrumptious lunch at Angel’s Secrets along the narrow Moon Mueang Road.
Along Moon Mueang Road.
Here are the places that we’ve visited from morning until afternoon:
WAT CHEDI LUANG
Entrance of Wat Chedi Luang (free).
WAT PHRA SINGH
Photo credit: Wikimedia.org
Northern Thailand is also known for its coffee. So we decided to stop by a local coffee shop and try their local beans for ourselves, which coincidentally happens to be Akha Ama Coffee — a socially-involved company and one of the entries included in the World Cup Tasters Championship by Specialty Coffee Association in Europe. (Its owner, Lee, talked about his background and cafe in one of the TED Talks, click here.)
By 4pm, we were picked up at Oasis Spa by one of our cooking class’ shuttle services. You can read about our wonderful Thai cooking class experience here.
In addition to our stroll around the Old City, on the night before, we went to the famous Night Bazaar and discovered that Chiang Mai is cheap and sweet — products are services are cheap, and what we get must worth what we paid for!
The Night Bazaar is a mere 10-minute drive from our resort and it’s one of Chiang Mai’s biggest nighttime attractions. It houses a selection of food, drinks, clothes for men, women and kids, shoes, household furnishings, handicrafts, antique and souvenir items, etc. There are different massage areas as well that you can choose from and all of their prices were competitive.
MASSAGE UNDER THE STARS
Hubby went crazy over what feasted our eyes at the Bazaar so we had to go back twice!