Chiang Mai is a city in mountainous northern Thailand; It’s a small and very attachable place with beautiful surroundings. Here is a simple guide of places to stay, eat and visit!
Where to stay
- First place we stayed in Chiang Mai was East Gate guesthouse, the location is in the centre of Chiang Mai, which makes it extremely easy to get around. We payed 500 baht (£11) a night. You can book this place in advance online at booking.com, but when we arrived we just found the place and checked in! The staff are very helpful and kind, they are very knowledgeable about the city and can give you advice on things to do. Their English wasn’t fluent but was perfectly understandable and they helped us with all our needs. The room was very small but came equipped with all the essentials that were needed. The room appropriated with Thai culture, so it was a nice experience.
- The second place we stayed was Kamala’s guesthouse, still within the centre of Chiang Mai but more hidden amongst one of the main backpacker’s sites. This is a good street to stay to meet fellow backpackers! We booked this place through Airbnb for 343 baht (£8) a night. The host was kind and fast with replies when we couldn’t find the place. The room is spacious, equipped with the right necessities, a very simple and standard room for 343 baht. They also supply a lot of flyers, leaflets and day trips at the guesthouse, so it gives you a good start!
Where to eat
There are many great places to eat in Chiang Mai but nothing beats street food that you can find on any corner, but if you know what you like and wanted something more western, there is also great places for that also, a few of our favourites were;
- Beast Burger
The Beast Burger is little restaurant that sells a small variety of massive handmade burgers (Vegan and vegetarian options!) We tried the famous beast burger and their vegan burger. A little pricey but 100% worth the money!
- Loco Elvis’
A nice little place that serves Mexican food, provides live music and a fun bar scene. Lovely food with a great atmosphere and service! Right in the centre, you can’t miss it!
- The Salad Concept
Yeah, you may think…salad. Really? Honestly take my word for it! A great place for vegans and non-vegans. The portions sizes are ridiculously big! Not only healthy but extremely delicious meals and an amazing variety of smoothies and shakes! (Also, down the road from Kamala’s guesthouse)
- Fat Elvis
Without a doubt one of my favourite places to go, American restaurant and bar! Extremely cheap drinks and food considering the portion size is huge! Great service and atmosphere and extremely welcoming! (Down the street from Zoe In Yellow)
Things to do
- Visit an Elephant Sanctuary! There are many options in Chiang Mai for this attraction, but please don’t ride any elephants! Elephants spines are not the same as horses. They cannot support weight from above, therefore riding causes long term harm. Not only that, they’re not for our entertainment! We visited Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, help feed, bathe, give medicine and also clean big and baby elephants and receive an amazing experience!
- Visit The Three Kings Monument, a sculpture of Kings Mengrai, Ramkamhaeng and Ngam Muang, the purported founding fathers of Chiang Mai.
- Visit a variety of temples throughout Chiang Mai such as Wat Chiang man, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep and Phra Singh Temple. All very unique and beautiful temples filled with statues, murals and ancient manuscripts.
- Renting a scooter! If you’re brave enough! Personally I had no problem and found it cheaper to go to all the places we wanted to visit and certain attractions which were far away and was better for just exploring! Realistically if you’re only in Chiang Mai for a little while and staying in the centre, it’s very small place, most places are within walking distance!
- If you’re the one for the crazy nightlife, I’d definitely suggest Zoe In Yellow. It has really cheap drinks and cocktails, an enormous dance-floor surrounded by several bars. It get’s crazy busy, but please be careful with your drinks and watch who you surround yourself with. Other than that it’s a great place with a fun atmosphere and a place to let your hair down!
- Climb the highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon! Beautiful scenery and a fun adventure! The only way up the mountain is via road, so hire a scooter, car or you could provide your own transport by booking with attraction sites.