November 26th, 2015
Eight months ago we started planning our next vacation. Adventurous, unique, tropical were all words that came to mind when describing what we wanted out of our trip. We were in search of a place that was so far removed and different from home. We landed on Thailand and never looked back. Our two week trip consisted of spending four days in Chiang Mai, five days island hopping and 3 days in Bangkok.
Fast forward to today and we are just departing Chiang Mai and making our way to the islands. ‘Different’ could not be more spot on from our experience in Chiang Mai. Over 400 miles north of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is a sanctuary of sorts, with a refreshing combination of city sites and countryside views. Our four days were packed with adventure of navigating the Old City, renting a motorbike and riding through the country, eating authentic Thai, and riding bareback on elephants.
It is easy to spot Chiang Mai’s city on a map as it is clearly defined by the ancient city walls that once surrounded the fortified old town. Within the walls you can find all sorts of shops, restaurants, hotels and markets. This is also where you will find many of the temples including Wat Phra Singh,Wat Chiang Man and Wat Chedi Luang. The area is extremely walkable, but there are plenty of tuk tuks and red songtaews if you get tired. Just be sure to negotiate before you hop in one Our hotel was located just outside of the Tha Phae Gate (De Chai Colonial Hotel). Its close proximity to everything made it easy to navigate the city.
There are several monumental temples inside the town square – all of them worth seeing! After checking into our hotel, we set out on a walking tour to visit each one. Whether you do a self-guided or hire through a tour, I would highly recommend checking out each of them. I was in constant awe of the architect and detail of each temple. Crazy to think they were built over 700 years ago and are still in excellent condition. If you a woman traveler, be sure to dress respectfully and cover your chest,shoulders and knees. You can always buy a shall outside before you enter.
Wat Inthakhin Saduemuang – One of my favorite petite temples
Wat Chedi Luang – It once sheltered the famed Emerald Buddha, now in Bangkok
Wat Chiang Man
They say you haven’t experienced Chiang Mai without a visit to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple. Nestled on the mountain ridge, Doi Suthep is an important religious pilgrimage site for Thai Buddhists. I suggest waking up at dawn to make the 45 min drive up and catch the sunrise before all the tourists get their. It will be well worth it!
More photos to come!