It is time to talk about one perfect getaway from Qatar! A beautiful city, with lush green surroundings and imposing mountains; a city with amazing food and a super relaxing atmosphere… Well, let’s meet Chiang Mai!
Chiang Mai is located approximately 700 km north of Bangkok and it’s the largest city in northern Thailand. It was a former capital of the Kingdom of Lan Na and it means ‘New City’, as Chiang Mai succeeded Chaing Rai, the former capital.
The city is an absolute delight that can cover all types of travelers; the adventurous ones, the foodies, the nature lovers or the ones who are just seeking for a few relaxing days. And wanna know the best part? It’s only 5 hours away from Doha!
Let’s see what you can do in Chiang Mai in 2-3 days:
1. Walk along the river on the easily navigated by foot downtown. You will find plenty of cafes, restaurants, shops, bars in a vibrant atmosphere.
2. Chiang Mai can be also described as a city-museum, as you will see temples and ruins all over the city. At the same time, there are various contemporary buildings, a fact that creates a fine balance between the traditional and the contemporary. One of the many things that I loved in Chiang Mai is the pretty and beautifully decorated cafes; a perfect blend of East and West.
3. You have to visit Warorot Market. It’s a market where locals make their shopping, from food to clothes and magazines, you will find everything! Warorot is where you have to be in order to take a glimpse of the local everyday life. It’s truly authentic and so cheap.
4. Chiang Mai is home to many temples. A few are located outside the city, so if you are only spending a couple of days there, I suggest you visit the ones that are within the city. The highlights are the temples of Wat Phra Singh and the Wat Chedi Luang. The ruins of the last one are situated in the center of the city; the earthquake of 1545 damaged most of its part, but it’s a place that it’s still hugely worshipped.
5. Visit a market! It’s actually weird visiting Thailand without going to one of its markets! I suggest the Night Market, but I should warn you; it’s so crowded, that you will not be able to stay longer than an hour or so.
6. Enjoy a massage! Not only one to be honest! With such low prices, you can enjoy a massage every day! Check out Green Bamboo; it’s clean, relaxing, very well organized, with good practitioners and super cheap.
7. Enjoy Chiang Mai’s nature! Do trekking or other activities. Really worth it.
8. Do the Night Safari. You will see more than 300 animals including white rhinos. Make sure to behave and not interrupt their calmness!
9. Why not taking a cooking class? Especially if you like Thai food then you are going to love it!
10. Want to try a local dish? Go for Khao Soi; it’s a curry and coconut soup with noodles and chicken on the top. It’s the city’s signature dish with intense flavor!
It would be interesting to…
Chat with the monks and listen to what they believe in.
Where to eat
There are plenty of places for food and drinks. The ones I really liked is the Fens Forest, a coffee place-oasis within the city and Overstand for the atmospheric wooden tables and the beautiful couch outside. Lastly, River Market is so worth it for the amazing view and overall ambience.
When to visit
The ideal visiting period would be October-April.
Chiang Mai is a lovely city of Thailand, with cooler temperatures than expected, quiet charms, delicious food and friendly people, that make it ideal for all types of travelers.
Trust me, this city is one ideal city escape from Qatar. Enjoy!