Unwind in Chiang Mai, the heart of Thai Culture
Sedate and unassuming, the old town in Chiang Mai is unlike almost any city centre in the entirety of South East Asia. In fact, as you stroll along the winding side streets, each packed with stalls, restaurants and coffee shops, you could easily confuse it for a medium sized town in rural Thailand. That being said, the city is always on your doorstep and the accessible nature of Chiang Mai is another reason for which it is known as the perfect stop for backpackers, travellers and even business people looking for a break from the hectic pace of South East Asia.
Getting to Chiang Mai
Affordable airfare to Chiang Mai from Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi and elsewhere in Asia can make the city very appealing but when you take an overnight train to this city in the North of Thailand, you will understand why this mode of transport is often most favourable.
Not only is the train a cheap option for getting there, it is also an unforgettable experience. Think the Orient Express mixed with local transport, the overnight train to Chiang Mai is a cultural encounter which exposes the traveller to the peoples of Thailand while also offering a comfortable bed, a safe environment and beautiful scenery along the way. Do yourself a favour, save the airfare and enjoy the adventure of a train journey to Chiang Mai.
Exploring the Culture and Food in Chiang Mai
As with much of the region, Temples play an important role in society while also offering the visitor an opportunity to explore the magical side of the city. These range in size and importance throughout the old town and further afield, meaning a walk around the city is always an interesting thing to do. In and out of market stalls, exploring the souvenirs or local products of the many markets in town is also a popular attraction so whether you are in the mood for buying or just looking, there is rarely a dull moment regardless of the time of day.
Naturally, food is central to everyday life and for the average tourists visit and something which will delight the backpacker in particular is the associated cost. Yes, street food is incredible in this part of the world and often, it will cost as little as a dollar for an evening meal. Pad Thai, Green Curry, Chicken and Noodle Soup, you will not leave disappointed and there is literally no end to the options for where you can find these foods.
And then there are the actual restaurants in Chiang Mai which are usually a step above the street food and offer a nice dining experience to accompany some of the city’s best chefs. You can find several options online with regard to such places but honestly, for an incredible food experience where Thai food is infused with an Italian twist, the restaurant at akyra Manor in Chiang Mai is worth the every effort and promises a memorable evening in beautiful surroundings.
What makes Chiang Mai different?
Every destination has a sales pitch but really, what makes Chiang Mai different to any other attractive city in Thailand or South East Asia? You need only take a glance at the rising number of foreigners arriving to stay here, there is a large ex patriot community but then there is also an increasingly large number of digital nomads, writers and traveller who have made this town their base.
Chiang Mai is the perfect blend of nature and city living, a place where quiet suburban streets, green spaces, leafy canal walks and isolated temples are all within reach of the busy restaurants and coffee shops. Internet is fast, shopping malls are near, people are friendly and accommodation is high quality. Yes, you can find all manner of hotels, lodges and guesthouses in Chiang Mai but arguably the best luxury hotel and most conveniently located is the akyra Manor Chiang Mai hotel which we mentioned above for having an incredible restaurant. Make no mistake, a stopover in this beautiful designed hotel with a full range of modern facilities will position you perfectly to explore this fascinating city in the North of Thailand.
Visit Chiang Mai to see a different side of Thailand
While Bangkok is likely to burn you out, Chiang Mai has the right blend of city life and escape. You can stay here for a few days, a few weeks or never leave at all. A city where people are friendly, accommodation is idyllic and food so delicious, not only is a trip to this intriguing city an encounter with a different side of Thailand but it will also be an incredibly unique experience, for Chiang Mai is more than just a city and the perfect opportunity to unwind in the heart of Thai culture.