Stop 2 on our honeymoon – Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand.
After spending a few days in Bangkok and Ayutthaya, we took a short flight up north and landed in beautiful Chiang Mai. Since we knew we wouldn’t be able to explore all of Thailand on our trip, it was fascinating to at the very least see the differences between Bangkok, Chiang Mai and later Koh Yao Noi.
Yes Thailand can be touristy, but to be honest, Chiang Mai is an oasis nonetheless. There is so much culture to see while still offering some trendy, modern spots as well as the most beautiful countryside around the town. It’s a lot more quiet than Bangkok and, in the end, I just wish we’d stayed longer. As usual, find some photographic impressions below and then a list of our travel tipps!
WHERE TO STAY
Definitely the Dhara Dhevi. We just loved this place! It’s out of this world, you feel like you’re staying in a temple. Their villas are set in lush green trees around a large rice field – the perfect spot for in-room dining! Their spa is extraordinary, we thoroughly enjoyed every second of our 2.5 hour treatment starting with a body scrub and ending with a full-body massage. SO. GOOD. Make sure you plan for a day spent just at the resort.
WHAT TO DO
Chiang Mai is full of options when it comes to sightseeing. But also, it’s the perfect city to just “go with the flow”. We spent a whole day just walking around town with a fresh coconut in hand and exploring some of the many many temples. In my view, you can easily spend a whole week in Chiang Mai and the area around, so our 2.5 days felt a bit short. Nonetheless, here are my favorite things to do:
- Watch the sunrise at the temple on the hill, offering beautiful city views: Doi Suthep
Get a cab to drive you up so you get there 20min before sunrise – you’ll still need to take the stairs up! Also, tell the driver to wait for you and make it a round trip
- Tour the city center and its temples on foot with a walking tour – fresh coconut in hand
- If you have time: Drive out to Doi Inthanon and watch the sunrise. We didn’t do it because it’s a full-day trip and a 2.5 hour drive, meaning an insanely early wakeup time if you want to be there for sunrise – but apparently it’s really worth it.
- Spa & massages: Chiang Mai is known for their massage schools, you could even take a course! So even if you’re not staying at the Dhara Dhevi, I’d recommend making time for at least one extensive spa treatment in Chiang Mai.
- Visit the umbrella factory: Just outside of Chiang Mai, quite touristy, but fun to see step-by-step how those beautiful parasols are made.
- Cooking class: Northern Thai food is different to the food you’ll get in Bangkok, with the most well-known dish being the Khao Soi curry with egg noodles. If you love cooking and you want to learn how to impress your friends after your trip, be sure to book a class with Thai Orchid Cooking (or one of these schools)!
- Night market & night bazaar: One of the best meals we had throughout our entire trip (yes, seriously!) was at the Chiang Mai night bazaar. It was the day we arrived, and it was already quite late, so we decided not to dress up and just grab a cab to go there. It was so much fun, we had the best Pad Thai, chicken skewers, curry, banana roti for dessert…… just yum. And there was a live band playing that was surprisingly good. Obviously it’s a little touristy, but there were plenty of locals, too. And unlike in other countries, Thai people let you wander around without pushing you to enter their stall and buy their products. If you’re in Chiang Mai on a weekend, you can do the same at the Saturday or Sunday night market.
WHERE TO EAT
- Lunch: SP Chicken
It’s super simple, but one of the best and juiciest chicken roasted on a spit that you can get. Perfect for a pit stop on your walking tour in town.
- Dinner: Night bazaar
See above – spending one night at the night market or night bazaar is a must!
- Dinner: Dhara Dhevi’s “Le Grand Lanna“
Get a taste of Northern Thai cuisine by doing the chef’s menu at “Le Grand Lanna”. You’ll even get a glimpse of traditional Thai dancing, and the cocktails are just amazing – try the Cho Fah!
- Other tipps: Click here and here.
WHAT TO WEAR
Thailand is very relaxed when it comes to dress codes, but it’s still full of temples and religious places where you’re expected to cover up shoulders and knees, and take off your shoes. Good thing midi dresses and slides are everywhere right now! I’d recommend always carrying a scarf to make sure you’re on the safe side. Find some of the pieces I wore below: