Chiang Mai

After a long train ride all the way from Ko Tao we arrived in Chiang Mai. The third largest city of Thailand. It has a total different feeling than Bangkok. The old center of the town is within the town walls. There is less traffic here and you can find literary hundreds of beautiful temples. 

Temple in Chiang Mai From Palms To Peaks

Things to do

1. Massage course

Aree traditional Thai massage school

If you enjoy Thai massages as much as me and want to learn a bit more about it I recommend you to follow a massage course at Aree Traditional Thai Massage School. There are a lot of massage schools in Chiang Mai. We did the 3 day course which taught us a basic full body Thai massage, just as you have at the massage salon's. We really enjoyed it and had a private class during our 3 day course. We got a DVD and a workbook where we wrote down all the steps. Because you had to write it down yourself I still can figure out exactly how to give a Thai massage. Only practice makes perfect. Aree's massage school is located in the center so we could just walk to it from our accommodationIt also is fair priced and Aree is very experienced and relaxed. 

Thai massage herbal compress

2. Cycling

Our accommodation offered free bikes. But also throughout the city you can easily rent a bike. It's fun to explore the old town of Chiang Mai within the town walls and just hop on and off wherever you want. This way we visited some temples and had lunch at The Hideout which is an amazing bakery / cafe. They offer delicious sandwiches. 

cycling in Chiang Mai
lunch at the Hideout in Chiang Mai

3. Sunday Night Market

Sunday night market in Chiang Mai

Every Sunday you can visit the night bazaar, which is located in the main street in Chiang Mai, on Rachadamnoen road.


Here you can buy your souvenirs, food, clothes, music and everything else you might need. It's nice to visit, but you will see a lot of the same stuff. 


In Chiang Mai there is an extreme amount of temples, over 300! You're almost always in near walking distance of a temple. Especially when you're not that long in Thailand and are not yet saturated with Thai temples it's really fun to visit a few. Did you know that the Thai word Wat means temple, explains a lot. 

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

Temple of Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

This temple is very touristic. So your question is what is so special about this temple than? Well, it's located a bit outside Chiang Mai, on a mountain. You have a great view over Chiang Mai and the surrounding mountains. Take a red taxi (100 Baht), or use a tuktuk to go to the temple. The temple has a lot of gold. And like in all the temples you have to take your shoes off. Touristic and busy, but not one to miss. Outside the temple complex there are lot of buses going back to Chiang Mai (so you don't need to buy a return ticket and worry about time). Our way back costed 120 Baht.

The view over Chiang Mai from Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep Temple

Wat Chedi Luang

Wat Chedi Luang temple in Chiang Mai

For entrance to this temple you have to pay a small fee of 40 Baht. It is a large complex with multiple buildings. If you would like to speak to a monk this is a good temple to go to. Everyday there are monk chats where you can ask anything about Buddhism or Thailand. Really interesting. You can also witness monks chanting inside the temple. 

Monks praying at Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai
Temple of Wat Chedi Luang

Wat Chiang Man

Beautiful temple Wat Chiang Man in Chiang Mai.

This temple is located in the old town. It's a beautiful complex with a stunning temple! It also has a nice garden, a pond which is not common, an Elephant Chedi (the oldest construction within the temple complex) and multiple beautiful buildings. It has a very relaxed atmosphere, is not busy and really worth a visit! Did you know that this temple was the first temple to be build in Chiang Mai, in 1297.

Dragon at the Wat Chiang Man Temple entrance


We booked our stay at Baan Siwali. It has an affordable price and very good reviews. We had booked for just three nights. But we decided to do a three-day massage course and couldn't impossibly see everything we wanted so we extended our stay. The apartment is basic but really nice with air co and free bikes. This way we could easily explore the old town and visit many temples. Also the owner was very kind and helped us with booking plane tickets and bus tickets. She also has a lot of information about places to go to and things to do, really helpful. Recommended by Lonely Planet and also bookable on Airbnb. Sign up for Airbnb and get $39 travel credit on your first booking.


The pros of this accommodation:

  • Affordable.
  • Very good reviews (9.2).
  • Great location in the Old Town of Chiang Mai.
  • Free bikes.

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