2 days in Chiang Mai

Posted on May 13, 2012 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

My Thai friends have been urging me to visit Chiang Mai for a long time as they know that I have an interest in arts and crafts. I am not sure why it has taken me so long to make this trip, but after spending only 2 nights here, I realised that I would like return again and spend more time here. My impression of the city is that it is artistic, friendly, quirky, eco-conscious and laid back, rather different from Bangkok.

Stay - For my entire trip in Thailand, I have chosen to stay at small B & Bs instead of hotels, which I think was the right decision because not only did I receive more authentic and personal service but I also met many interesting and like-minded people. In Chiang Mai, I chose to stay at Baan BooLoo, a friendly and eco-consious B & B within the old city wall.

As eco tourism becomes more popular, many hotels now claim themselves to be eco-friendly, but how many of them are truly authentic? What I like about this family-owned B & B is its effort to be as sustainable as possible. The staff work as a team to create an unique oasis in the middle of the city where travelers can enjoy authentic Thai hospitality and lifestyle. While I was there, I found out that not only the guests all happened to be from London, but one of the family member/owner also lives in London, which was an interesting coincidence!

Map - If you need a guidebook/ map in Chiang Mai, then I highly recommend Nancy Chandler's Map of Chiang Mai (there is also one on Bangkok). I bought this in Bangkok for 250 baht, a bit pricey for Thai standard but it is really worth it. Nancy Chandler is anĀ American artist who has spent decades living in Thailand; her maps are fun, informative and beautifully illustrated. I only wish that every city would have a map like this!

Transport - I love taking public transport when I am in different cities ( I even managed to do it in Los Angeles); in Chiang Mai, songthaews ( a shared taxi) is a convenient and cheap way to travel around the city. Most of the time, I was the only passenger, so it was fun to sightsee from the back of the truck for around 20-30 baht per trip...

Temples - There are many amazing temples within the old city walls, but the recently-restored Wat chedi (Jedee) Luang is probably the most impressive. Originally constructed in 1401, the massive pagonda was destroyed in an earthquake in 1545. Apart from the huge chedi ruin, there are also other smaller halls, including one which houses a 30-foot-long reclining Buddha.

 

Markets - I love visiting food markets when I travel, so instead of going to the night bazaar, I went to Warowat and flower markets by the river. I love the vibe, smell, colours and variety of food markets, they are also great places for (local) people-watching. I was particular thrilled when I saw a coffee stand at one of the entrances, shame that he doesn't sell takeaway coffee beans... The area around the market is also very busy with stalls selling food, fruits ( even strawberries), flowers, fabrics, gadgets and handicrafts etc, it is a very interesting area and not at all touristy.

 

 

To be continued...

 


This post was posted in Travel, Chiang Mai and was tagged with Chiang Mai, Thailand

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