CHIANG MAI TRAVEL GUIDE
Chiang Mai is one of those places that have been blogger favourites for years. In spite of knowing this, we chose Chiang Mai by fluke, adding it as our last stop in a 10 day Cambodia and Thailand holiday and ended up discovering paradise.
This erstwhile capital of the ancient Lanna kingdom, established in 1292 AD is one of the best places to experience real Thai culture, away from the tourist trails, with the added advantage of its climate being cooler than the typically hot and humid central Thailand. So continue reading our Chiang Mai travel guide to make the most of your few days of vacation.
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The best way to explore Chiang Mai is by forgoing any itinerary. Keep your time and mind free and do all the discovering yourself.
We got ourselves ensconced in a pretty little B and B, with its impromptu guitar nights and fairy lights. Armed with a map, we walked the streets all morning and checked out the famous wats (temples).
Spent our afternoons getting traditional Thai massages that relieved all our aching muscles after 10 days of travelling.
Made our way to the colourful bazaars in the evenings to experience the vibrant atmosphere.
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THE BAZAARS OF CHIANG MAI: CHIANG MAI TRAVEL GUIDE
Oh, the bazaars! Now I have a thing for local street markets and love collecting souvenirs and this love has made me visit night markets in Siem Reap, Bali, Bangkok and Hong Kong to name a few. But nothing beats the night bazaar of Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai used to be one of the stops of the erstwhile Silk Route, with traders of different countries setting up their stalls and exchanging goods. Eventually, that thousand year old stop became the basis of today’s market where Central Asian, Chinese, Burmese and Indian traders mingle among local people and tourists, adding to the atmosphere.
The ethnic minorities(hill tribes) set up their stalls and hawk exotic ware, be it pretty carved handmade soaps or gemstones. We spent two whole evenings browsing the different stalls and their owners, bought Japanese lamps from Burmese stalls and wooden carvings from tribal stall owners. Colorful string lights and paintings light up the place and adding to the atmosphere were musicians, dancers and outdoor cocktail bars, making us perfectly content with sitting, sipping and people watching.
The Lanna cuisine of Northern Thailand is markedly different from traditional central Thai cuisine. Of this, the most important and famous dish is Kow Soy, a Burmese influenced Chiang Mai speciality, which is wheat and egg fried noodles in a rich coconut based curry broth containing meat and served with sides of crunchy pickled veggies and spicy chilli condiments. Chiang mai abounds in restaurants catering to all budgets and preferences. Have your pick.
We could not have chosen a better place to end our trip. Waiting to go back again.
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