Well, we’ve been out and about around Chiang Mai for the past nine days and, the top and bottom of it is – we like it, very much! It’s an easy-going place and definitely somewhere we would consider returning to, maybe as a stop-over on our way out to Australia sometime.
I mentioned before that the city still has some original walls and a moat, which make it very attractive. Over the past few days we’ve explored many of the leafy lanes, trying out different bars and restaurants as well as popping our heads into various guest houses – doing some research for next time!
Chiang Mai is blessed with a wonderful weekly street market when roads are closed off to traffic and local street traders set up their pitches and sell unique, often hand-made, wares to people passing by. The Sunday evening walking street is a huge and impressive event which takes place in the centre of the old city on Racahdamneurn Rd. The market is awash with sellers of all kinds of products, from local handicrafts, paintings, jewellery, clothing and accessories – there is something here for every shopper. The market also boasts many foods stalls and, of course, people offering massage – the perfect antidote for tired and weary feet! The best places to eat is in the temples situated along the route of the maket, where you will find many local delicacies at amazingly low prices. As you would expect these markets are very popular with what appeared to be the whole of Chiang Mai turning out.
On a couple of evenings we have walked up to the Night Bazaar where we have eaten great food, freshly prepared for you for less than £1 per dish. We also discovered a young Thai couple who make great Italian pizzas, whilst you wait at “The Art of Street Pizza“.
I also have another very good reason to go to the Night Bazaar and that is to visit my favourite massage parlour to get a foot massage. Massage is very big in Thailand – and some of them are above board too! I always try to get the same lady because she is really excellent – and such good value at just over £1.50 for half an hour. Amazing!
There are lots of temples around the city, but on our final day we took the twenty minute ride by songthaew to Chiang Mai’s most famous temple – Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, built in the fourteenth century. The temple is on Doi Suthep mountain affording great views over Chiang Mai. On arrival, you are faced with a 300 step climb to the pagodas and the stunning gold stupa, the first part of the route lined with street vendors to distract your aching legs. It’s worth the climb!