Culture: Chiang Mai (3 days…. or a month!)
Catch one of the many night trains that leave Bangkok’s train station and tuck yourself into a bottom bunk with some snacks for the night. When you step off the train in Chiang Mai, it’ll be like a breath of fresh air from Bangkok’s hectic humidity, and you’ll feel a zen calmness sink into your bones. The cultural activities are endless here, but have a gander around the epic Night Bazaar and eat some uber cheap noodle soup at a street stall before catching an authentic Muay Thai Boxing match.
Pop into the zoo to see some Pandas and just generally wander around the greenness, but do prioritise a trip up to the magnificent hilltop temple of Doi Suthep. If you’re feeling daring, drive a scooter up the winding hill or take a Songthaew (pick-up truck taxi) with a bicycle and endure a hair-raising ride back down to town. See more of our tips for seeing Chiang Mai.
For my second visit to Thailand, I opted for Chiang Mai. The temples around the city are beautiful, but it was the Elephant camp nearby that was my favorite experience. After a nice Thai Massage, I headed to Chiang Mai with a full agenda. I took a 30 minute elephant ride that seemed to have lasted longer. Post that, we visited Doi Suthep Temple on a mountaintop overlooking the city of Chiang Mai. Doi Suthep is Chiang Mai’s most famous temple and definitely its most scenic. The views from the temple are amazing and the temple itself is just as beautiful as the many that I’ve seen in Bangkok. I spent some time wandering around before walking back.