Ahhhh, Chiang Mai was the perfect laid-back vacation spot away from ever-bustling Bangkok. It was a few days to slow down, take in everything around me, and enjoy time with my mama who came out to visit. A backpackers paradise upon first impression, Chiang Mai was easy to get around, it had cute, eclectic shops, and even more eclectic food menus. I indulged in too many massages, drank healthy smoothies, perused used bookstores, and took photos of small moments.
Here are my favorite photos mingled with snippets of things to do…
Just wander around. The old city of Chiang Mai still retains a lot of its charm, and it’s easy to navigate. Tucked into its withering walls are random nooks and crannies which sometimes house little trinkets (or trash)….
Inside the 2 1/2 square kilometer old city, do some temple hopping. (We visited Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phra Singh, and Wat Chiang Man.) You won’t have to wander far to come across one!
Don’t forget to take off your shoes before entering a temple!
Watch the local Thais give offerings of candles, incense, and flowers at the temples.
Stroll around the Sunday night market on Ratchadamnoen Road for locally made handicrafts with splashes of color.
Carefully step around the bold artwork strewn across the street.
On a trek with a smiley old man, let him lead you through fields of purple flowers and rice to admire how a beautiful old woman from the Karen Hill Tribe nimbly weaves a striped scarf.
And smile at the dazzling babes who hold out handmade bracelets to show you.
Outside the Chiang Dao caves, appreciate the old, yet sturdy stone structures that house weathered buddhas.
Enjoy the heavy peace and quiet that can only come from being inside a cave. (This is my first cool cave picture!)
Try not to stare to long at creepy dolls who guard the sleeping Buddha.
As you make your way up the 300 stairs to Wat Doi Suthep, the temple on the mountainside which overlooks the city, agree to the demands of the dolled up girls- a bit of money in exchange for a picture.
Buy a lotus flower with artistically wrapped leaves as an offering.
As the sun beats down on you, notice how it also sets the whole temple complex ablaze in a gold shine.
You can also take a cooking class (blog post coming soon), support the new lifestyle of former female inmates by getting a massage or facial at ‘Lila Thai Massage’, or volunteer at a reputable elephant park like my friend Kate did.
Great company, beautiful sites, cute kids, breakfast foods, endless Buddhas.. Chiang Mai was just what I needed.