Chiang Mai | A weekend in the north of Thailand
After three days in the chaos of Bangkok, I went to the mountainous north of Thailand: Chiang Mai.
The second largest city in Thailand offers historical, cultural diversity, a lot of attractions but at the same time relaxation and peace.
Arrival | On tour with Greenbus
The bus is definitely the cheapest option to manage the almost 700km from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Compared to a flight time of 2 hours, the bus takes 10 hours. But the Greenbus for 20 euros won this race when I booked. A penny saved is a penny earned.
I’m used to long bus trips from Germany, so I thought to myself, it can’t be that bad. And I was pleasantly surprised! I have never experienced such a luxury bus ride: incredibly wide seats (I would have fit into one seat twice 🙂), accordingly a lot of legroom, free water and snacks during the trip, enough stopovers and a stop at a rest area including a free hot meal.
If you can sleep well on the bus and have a little more time on your trip, I definitely recommend this cheaper option!
Good to know: In general, all trips in Asia by bus, train or ferry can be easily booked via 12go.asia.
City | Must do
At 6:30am I arrived in the old town in Chiang Mai and immediately felt comfortable after three days of chaos in Bangkok. Winding alleys, a lot of green oases, traditional culture, small cafes and of course temples – my Thailand feeling was complete! #happyme
WALKING STREET – NIGHT BAZAAR
I was lucky enough to arrive on a Saturday so I could spend my evening on Walking Street. This takes place every weekend and is located directly at the Chiang Mai Gate. You can’t miss the night market because the whole old town gathers there. If you have no problem with crowds, you will find everything your heart desires here: souvenirs, clothing and, above all, incredibly delicious food! Seafood, saté skewers, sushi, desserts – the selection is huge, you only pay a few cents for each serving and you can fill your stomach in a wonderful way.
Entrance fee: free
Address: Chang Moi, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai 50100
HANG DONG GRAND CANYON
If you feel like cooling off in between and you want to enjoy some relaxation feeling, then the Grand Canyon (approx. 20 km from the old town) is the right place for you. However, you shouldn’t expect too much in this name – it is simply a water park. The nature and the view there are really impressive and beautiful and it is definitely worth spending a day here. For an entrance fee of 100 Baht you can relax in the natural pool, ride pedal boats and kayaking, jump off an 8 meter high cliff and enjoy the view. For more action there is another water park next door that is visually reminiscent of Takeshi’s Castle. There you have to pay separate admission again. I was there on a Sunday but skipped this fun part because the adventure park was too crowded for me.
Entrance fee: Nature bath – 100 Baht | adventure water park – 300 Baht
Address: 202 Tambon Nam Phrae, Amphoe Hang Dong, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50230
TEMPELWELT CHIANG MAI
Ich habe mir natürlich wieder das volle Tempel-Programm gegönnt. Chiang Mai bietet unfassbar viele historische und moderne Tempel-Oasen. Egal in welchem Bereich der Altstadt du dich aufhältst: Der nächste Tempel ist oft nur wenige Minuten entfernt. Falls du generell geschichtlich interessiert bist, kann ich dir eine Tempel-Tour wärmsten empfehlen. Diese werden fast überall angeboten und die Locals erzählen dir gern ein paar private Stories aus dem Leben in Chiang Mai.
Eintritt: meistens kostenlos
SUAN BUAK HAAD PARK
Suan Buak Haad Park is the only large natural spot in Chiang Mai’s old town and offers many grassy areas to sit and relax. Winding hiking trails, a huge pond and small bridges – a super nice oasis to enjoy the peace. In the middle of the park is a café with WiFi and air conditioning. Whey! I rented a bamboo mat for 10 Baht and enjoyed the sunset with a coconut and afterwards let myself be tortured for free in one of the public yoga groups. I didn’t know that yoga could be so exhausting. 😀
Entrance fee: free
Elephant Natural Park in Chiang Mai
In Chiang Mai and the surrounding area there are some elephant camps, in which the animals were saved from the otherwise very bad conditions in Thailand and they can live now a better life here. In principle, of course, that sounds like a great day trip, which isn’t about riding elephants but by supporting the elephant accommodations.
I decided against visiting.
Elephants are wild animals and in Thailand they like to make good money with them. The elephants are certainly doing better in the camps, but you can also make good money with “saving elephants”. I talked to a local volunteer who worked in several facilities and from her own experience she could tell me that the elephants are still not doing well there.
I don’t want to advise against a trip. A journey to a camp is definitely worth an experience in which the farms are supported with the money at the same time. However, thorough good research is certainly not wrong beforehand in order to select the right facility.
Solo travel in Chiang Mai | My first emotional low
After less than a week in Thailand, despite this great city, I had a first hint of dissatisfaction. To be honest, I hadn’t expected that so quickly. Compared to Bangkok, it is really difficult to make contacts here. On the one hand, this was because my hostel was really underwhelming and I lived alone in a 6-bed room for 3 days. I enjoyed the calm, but the hope to start some tours with some cool people died quite quickly.
On my temple tour on the first day, I asked seven (seriously!) people if they could take a picture of me. And they all said no. 😀 I have never experienced a situation like this. The planned tour with some couch surfers to the Grand Canyon was also canceled. So I went there alone. There is also less bar culture or similar in Chiang Mai. And I was kind of lonely for the first time. On the second evening I just thought: Oh god, Fiona. Lonely after just a week – great conditions.
After a three hour call back home (thanks Philipp for cheering me up and putting a smile on my face again ♥), I decided to change the hostel and simply treat myself to a day of me time at its best.
I ate the best bowl for breakfast and finally finished writing the article about Bangkok. Then I spent the rest of the day by the pool in my new, clean (!) hostel and relaxed in the evening with a classic Thai massage.
That’s exactly what I needed and you shouldn’t neglect, even if you are in the most amazing cities: time for yourself.
At the end of the day, I was just happy and looked forward to my trip to Phuket the next day. Party and pool chilling with my cousin!
Lots of Love ♥
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