Bangkok was a lot of fun, but after 4 nights I was ready to get moving. Big cities are an adventure (Bangkok especially) but I’m a country boy at heart and already I needed some space. Next up was a flight to Chiang Mai (for a ridiculously cheap price) where I was set to spend 3 nights and then head down to Phuket.
One thing I’m sure now, with the benefit of hindsight is that 3 nights wasn’t nearly enough. Chiang Mai is one cool city.
I arrived just as evening hit. So, I grabbed my tripod to see what I could find. Aiming for the city centre and stepping out the hotels front door I immediately took the wrong direction and walked out of town. This wasn’t all bad though and fairly quickly realising my mistake I used the opportunity to grab some long exposures of the traffic. After that it was a quick stop for food and a beer and then a good nights sleep – the next two days would be busy.
I woke up early (erm … maybe 9am?!) with the intention of spending the morning exploring as many of the temples I could find. Chiang Mai is absolutely littered with beautiful temples – I think it would be possible to spend days seeing them all. From my hotel I walked down to Wat Phra Singh (with a few pancake and coffee stops – Chiang Mai is a goldmine for coffee shops!). After this Wat I had plans to head to Wat Chedi Luang, which looked ace in the guides I’d read. I had spent a bit too long at Wat Phra Singh though and needed to be back to my hotel for the afternoons tour. On my way back I was able to pop in and see Wat Mahawan and Wat Beppharam. Both small and very beautiful. And handily located almost on my hotels doorstep!
The afternoon tour was a group one I’d booked with Travel Hub Chiang Mai which would take me up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – a famous, beautiful Wat overlooking the city.
On the way we called in at Hmong Hill Village. It was a bit of a tourist trap (at least the part of it I saw) selling a lot of the typical fare you’d find all over, but it was nice to be up out of the city and there was a pretty waterfall garden I could explore.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep was really busy, but incredibly beautiful. we got there as the light turned golden and it was a wonderful sight to behold. The view over the city and beyond was stunning.
Returning after dark I headed out to the Night Bazaar, which handily was only a short walk from the hotel. My bartering skills were pretty terrible, but at least I now have a nice leather passport holder! I also managed to find a bit of a red light area with lots of bars and a boxing stadium. Which was nice. I hung about a short while and watched a few minutes of Muay Thai – but dashed off before being dragged into a bar. As you’ll later see, the following day was going to be a bit of a lang haul and I needed an early night.
It’s worth me mentioning that I stayed at The Small Hotel – I’d really recommend it. Walking distance to everything, very close to the night market. Clean and super friendly staff.
For now, here’s night 1 and day 2 of my Chiang Mai photos. Sorry for the lengthy post and vast number of pictures. This I think is probably the post with the largest content from my trip!