Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Tim Durgan
Here's Why You Should Visit Chiang Mai, Thailand
Aside from popular places such as the Maldives, Tulum, or Mykonos, there are plenty of new cities to experience. Meet genuine people, taste authentic foods, and spend less money than you would at a tourist destination. Here at Travel Noire, we take you inside the places you don’t hear much about. You’ll discover destinations that are easy to get to and have all the accessibility of their tourist-heavy counterparts. We love giving readers and future world travelers more sites to explore and get inspired by.
Now let’s travel to one of Southeast Asia’s hidden gems, Chiang Mai.
Where is Chiang Mai, and Why Should We Visit?
If you plan on visiting Thailand soon, add Chiang Mai to the itinerary. When anyone asks us how they should spend their time in Thailand, we say they must give the country an entire month.
Bangkok is the most popular city in Southeast Asia. Similar to New York, the city attracts tourists from all over the world. The streets are full of tourists and locals, shopping malls on all the major avenues, and one of the busiest street food districts you’ll ever see.
Another popular destination in Thailand is Phuket. Pronounced “Poo-ket”, they’re the Miami Beach of Southeast Asia, with five-star hotels for $40 a night along the coast. Nightclubs and bars are open until 5 am. You’ll meet many young European and Australian backpackers having the time of their lives.
Chiang Mai, on the other hand, is the peace of Thailand. Located in the northern region along the mountains, Chiang Mai provides all the vibes for great food and relaxation.
Chiang Mai clocked in almost 11 million tourists in 2019. Chiang Mai is the much calmer version of the Thailand experience. The people are kind, their cuisine has many developed flavors, and the city has a slight quirkiness you can grow to love.
Chiang Mai is a must-see city if you’re looking for relaxation and plenty of walkable moments.
Things To See In Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai’s old city has some of the most beautiful temples in Thailand. The most known Buddhist temple is Wat Doi Suthep. It was founded in 1383, and since then, it’s been enhanced to look more extravagant with each century that passes. The temple sits 15 miles from the city and has fantastic views of downtown Chiang Mai.
Another well-known temple is Wat Chedi Luang. Founded in the 14th century, the structure wasn’t completed until the mid-15th century. The previous King, Seang Mua Ma, planned to bury his father’s ashes at the temple. However, after ten years, his widow continued the development. Once the reign of King Tilokaraj began, the temple was finally completed.
Temples in Thailand serve a great purpose to the communities they belong to. Not only does it continue to spread Buddhist knowledge and culture to tourists, but it also helps the city’s economy. Each Wat has its own story, but the identity of Thai Buddhist culture remains the same.
If you’re a thrifter, then Chiang Mai is your Disney Land. Packing light is strongly recommended when traveling to Chiang Mai because the city has the best selection of thrift stores in Thailand. From denim jackets to ’70’s style jeans, huge furs, and fancy vests, you’ll have a ball spending little money on clothes shopping.
Places To Eat In Chiang Mai
The best Khao Soi in the world is made in Chiang Mai. Khao Soi is a creamy curry-coconut soup topped with crunchy hand-cut rice noodles and minced pork or chicken. There are many variations of Khao Soi, but the best place to enjoy Chiang Mai’s signature dish is Khao Soi Loong Prakid Kad Gom.
What’s unique about this location is that it’s easy to miss. You’ll most likely walk right by it the first time you go. They open at 9:30 am and close at 4:30 pm daily. Arrive early; the Thais don’t play about their time.
Another notable restaurant in Northern Thai cuisine is Midnight Chicken. They’ve been serving up some of the most incredible spicy Thai food for decades. The name says it all, and you better arrive a little before midnight as this location gets packed pretty quickly on a late night. If you are in search of authentic Thai street food, Midnight Chicken is the place.
Best Time Of Year & Ways To Get There
April is the hottest month to visit Chiang Mai, however, it may feel like the sun is on your shoulders since it’s in the mountains. The best time to go is between October through March. You’ll be able to experience mild temperatures and beautiful sunny days for all the walkable parts of town you’ll need to visit.
The best way to get to Chiang Mai is via plane while visiting Bangkok or Phuket. Local airlines offer short flights valued between $25 – $75 USD.
If you’re planning ahead of time, here are some airlines you can look into: Thai Airways, Thai AirAsia, and Thai VietJet.