We travelled north from Bangkok to Chiang Mai which is much more mountainous and the people are very laid back. Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city with less than 200,000 people. Many Thais and expats like the cooler temperatures which is a feature of the higher altitudes.
Chiang Mai is also home to thousands of temples and pagodas. The north also has a rich tribal culture which gives it a colourful array of artwork, clothing and handicrafts. Food here is cheap, delicious and healthy. We also found our first examples of reasonably priced imported wines since arriving in South East Asia…happy days!
After the hustle and bustle of Bangkok it was a relief to arrive in the laid back atmosphere of this friendly city. The old city centre is contained within the city walls and moat, and was around 20 minutes walk from our hotel. We stayed at the 3-star Pornping Tower Hotel and enjoyed relaxing swims at the pool and a delicious buffet breakfast every day. There is an open air rooftop bar from which we watched the evening sunsets.
The hotel is located right at the night bazaar and we were spoiled for choice with an abundance of restaurants, traditional massage, market stalls and shops.
1 – VEGETARIAN
We particularly liked our vegetarian experience at Taste from Heaven and they also have a cookery school and offer home delivery.
2 – FAMOUS THAI
We loved the local food in Lemon Grass where hundreds of visitors have left their comments on the walls proclaiming it to be the best Thai food in the whole country.
3 – LIVE MUSIC
4 – SPA
On our second day we treated ourselves to a body scrub and oil massage at the local Spa de Siam. We got two-for-one for around $30 each and slept like babies after our 2 hours of pampering!
5 – TEMPLES
For sightseeing, a trip to the Golden Temple at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is well worth the effort. The beautiful 14th century temple is overlooking the city but remember, as with all temples in Thailand, to wear long shorts and cover your shoulders out of respect. The final 300 step climb can be done by tram for a small fee or on foot. An additional temple is being constructed, and we delighted our families by writing a sweet blessing on a couple of roof tiles which will join thousands of others at a permanent home on the temple overlooking Chiang Mai.