Thailand is a beautiful country. It’s a great country for food, shopping, islands and beaches, jungles, mountains and wildlife, and not to mention, magnificent Buddhist temples. I was in Chiang Mai for a couple of days at the end of January, and some of the activities I did were temple visits, night markets and a day tour to the Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai province.
Chiang Mai is situated in northern Thailand and also known as the “Rose of the North”. It’s a smaller city than Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, and is surrounded by the countryside and mountains, thus the city is greener, cleaner and quieter. During my stay in Chiang Mai, the weather was cool in the mornings and evenings with temperatures of 18 to 23 degrees Celsius but soared up to 30 degrees in the afternoon. Sunny but not humid, unlike Bangkok or Malaysia. In fact, Chiang Mai experienced a cold snap a week before I arrived – temperatures dipped just below 10 degrees – people were wrapped in sweaters and jackets.
What I like about Chiang Mai is the Old City, a walled square built over 700 years ago, surrounded by a moat. Today, obviously the Old City area is developed but some of the walls remain intact. There are many attractions in the Old City and majority of the attractions are easily accessible by tuk tuk, red bus (songthaew) or on foot. I chose to walk (exercise is always good!) as my hotel was located not too far from these attractions – only 10-15 minutes’ walk. It was during my walks, I had observed that Chiang Mai has a fondness for things that are cute and quirky which reflect their creativity and ability to keep up with trends, and yet remain true to their traditional Thai values and beliefs.
- Cute and Colourful
When you travel in South East Asia in particular, do expect to find lots of mopeds in the streets. I came across parked mopeds and noticed cute, bright colours on them.
Many cafes and shops install something cute at the entrance of their establishments to attract customers.
Colourful wall art
A mobile Western Union
3. Coffee Culture
Coffee is cultivated in Thailand and is consumed in large quantities in Chiang Mai. I was struck by the number of cafes and coffee shops in the city – they are everywhere! And with free Wifi 🙂 This probably explains why Chiang Mai is a popular destination among nomad/digital bloggers.
If you want coffee to-go, there’s a “Nomad Coffee” for you!
Apart from the Old City, I also spent time walking along Nimmanhaemin Road. Nimmanhaemin, or in short, Nimman was formerly a neighbourhood consisting of noodle shops and homes. But now the area is a trendy neighbourhood of cafes, galleries and shops. The neighbourhood is not busy or noisy, as such I had a pleasant experience walking along the various Soi or lanes, checking out vintage shops and boutiques.
Nimman is not too far from the Old City, just catch a ride on the red bus for 10 minutes and pay a fare of approximately THB40.
I enjoy using my own two feet to explore a city – walking is my favourite activity despite high humidity, heat or cold – and it’s through walking that I got to observe so many things and activities which might be ordinary to the locals but unusual and interesting for me. I would not have noticed the cute and quirky part of Chiang Mai if I chose to move around by tuk tuk or taxi.
I guess that’s what you call serendipity of travelling, eh?
Are you planning a trip to Chiang Mai soon? How about booking your accommodation here?
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