Sometimes you only really understand a place when you’ve been there a few times, so I’m very happy to have visited Chiang Mai for a second time recently. The first time I visited we stuck to the obvious sights, mainly seeing the old town and enjoying that so much, butttt this time we ventured outside the city, taking the time to visit so many different places that we hadn’t originally thought of. After this trip I can’t help but think of Chiang Mai as a seriously diverse place, perfect if you like to have lots of different experiences when you travel.
Guide to Chiang Mai
We stayed at the gorgeous Dhara Dhevi, a hotel with huge ground that had gorgeous little pieces of Chaing Mai culture and style scattered all over. Another place I adore the look of (if you’re wanting to explore further out) is these Tree Houses. Not sure how comfortable/practical but still… Amazing!
See & Do
Hire a car (and a driver) Turns out there are lots of things to see on the outskirts of Chiang Mai, so definitely hire a driver if you can.
Visit the Grand Canyon – One reason to get a car! This lovely old mine that’s been filled in with water is the perfect way to spend an afternoon, you can swim there too which is a welcome reprieve from the heat and chaos.
Check out the Cactus Garden at Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens…. So quiet and gorgeous, it really felt like being in the desert. It;s just you and a few bunches of hipsters with their Olympus Pen’s at the ready.
Wander the old town A afternoon visiting the old town is definitely worth doing, check out the Temples (my fave is the Wat Chedi Luang) and all the cool cafes (below).
Do a Basket Making Class Best thing ever, ever ever. You can see my post on it here. We arranged it through out hotel so get in touch with Dhara Dhevi.
Have a massage at the women’s prison. Yes you heard right.
Check out the Markets… If you’re looking for crazy local ones try the Night Bazaar (on every night), but if you’re after something a little more hip and chic go for the Weekend Walking Street… All the temples in the town get filled up with street food vendors. Yes. Please.
Eat & Drink
Since I first visited Chiang Mai 5 years ago the cafe scene has EXPLODED in Chiang Mai and I guess Thailand in general. So yes, lots to see/eat/drink if you’re a cafe addict!
The Baristro By Guu for simple coffee and breakfast.
Le Grand Lanna for a more traditional Thai meal in pretty garden setting. A lot milder than most places we went so good if you’re a lightweight in the chilli department 🙂
Kalapela The front just looks like a random cafe but step through to the back and you’re in a little green forest. More a cafe or afternoon tea spot than for actual meals.
Tamarind for a lovely thai meal under the trees. Try the Khoa Soi! This is also a great hotel too stay at if you want to stay more central.
Workend at the Grand Canyon My ultimate is a great setting with a gorgeous cafe, and this just ticks all those boxes and more.
Graph cafe You’ll have to wedge yourself into this tiny coffee shop along with all the hipsters, but if you’re a coffee fan this is the place for you.
Good to know
Don’t leave Chiang Mai without trying Khoa Soi. A delicious curry noodle soup with marinated chicken.
Talk about a breakfast!
The gardens had me!
Early mornings at our hotel.. we had the pool all to ourselves!
DIY cut off shorts all day everyday…
Khao Soi, Pad Thai and… scones? Best day!
How ‘s the tranquility? Life at Chiang Mai’s ‘Grand Canyon’ was pretty sweet.
Exploring my favourite temples in the old town.
If you like plants… You’ll love Thailand!
Always amazing travelling with my friend Nicola!
Riding a bike is the only way to travel in 42C degree heat.
The Thai’s just totally get the details!
A simple travel uniform…
Omg just had to get amongst these babies (got poked a few times but so worth it)
Wandering the rice fields…
Me, my buddy and my always travel sandals 🙂
Just wanted to hang here all day and night.
Had to go back on the second day for a little bit more canyon action.
Making memories! Thanks for having us Dhara Dhevi.
Photos by me and Nicola Lemmon