- Place or Religious Monument
- Place or Historical Monument
The ideal departure point for mountain walks and lovers of trekking, I liked the town of Chiang Mai because its climate is more or less temperate, and because it's a town on a human scale. Chiang Mai has its collection of old temples, like Wat Chiang Man which dates from the 13th century, and the unmissable Doi Suthep on the neighbouring mountain, from where you can see the whole town.
If you are staying in Chiang Mai over the weekend, don't miss the night market in the old town (from the Tha Pae door), and if not, there is the night bazaar in the new part of town.
I love how calm the town is. Obviously you go there for the temples, but it's also loved by the Thais themselves who use it to escape from a hectic Bangkok.
Drink a cup of coffee or eat a cake in one of the shops along the river, poke about in the shops and admire the special local crafts - that's the sort of thing I prefer to do when visiting Chiang Mai.
In the daytime you can visit the town to see and admire its numerous temples and its flower market, though I much more enjoyed exploring Chiang Mai in the evening once the heat had subsided. Browsing the markets, strolling the banks of the Ping River and visiting the bars in the buzzing atmosphere created by the little lights becomes a real pleasure at these times.
If you like great food, I recommend 'the canteen,' which gets set up for the evening at the Sunday market held in the temple of Wat Phan Tao. It's a delight for both the taste buds and the eyes, and simply must be experienced at all costs.
For the more adventurous, hiring a scooter and heading off to explore the region should provide ample satisfaction. Additionally, there are organised tours available that offer you the chance to experience the splendor of both the mountains and the people of Northern Thailand.