When I visited Thailand, one of the places I loved the most was Chiang Mai. There are of course a whole load of reasons I loved this place, but I’ve tried to keep it short and sweet for easy reading!
Thai food is absolutely amazing anyway, but the food in Chiang Mai was especially good. I would probably say that the best meal I ate in Thailand was the meal that I had at Dash! Restaurant and Bar in Chiang Mai. There were some areas of Thailand that we struggled with, but this was not one of them!
On the first night we wanted to eat traditional Thai food as we were really craving a Massaman curry. After doing some research online, we found really good reviews of a local restaurant called Dash! Restaurant and Bar on Moon Maung Road. Turns out this place was a 5 min walk from our hostel, and we were lured in by the great ratings and their vegetarian options!
The tofu and vegetable Massaman curry was amazing, but just a tad bit too spicy for us… The desserts were also just something else. We opted for a chocolate brownie and a mango cheesecake and shared both.
The people who run the place are incredibly friendly (one of them from the UK), and the restaurant was so busy that we almost struggled to get a table. They also had live music, so this added to our dining experience.
Across Thailand you’ll meet a whole bunch of people including tourists and locals, and each place you go to, all these people will be different. In my opinion, the locals in Chiang Mai were the most hospitable we encountered in Thailand (with the locals on Phi Phi being the least hospitable…).
Everyone that we met and spoke to in Chiang Mai just couldn’t do enough to help us out.
When we first arrived at Chiang Mai airport we were going to jump in a taxi and head to our hostel, but the driver didn’t know where our hostel was. Instead of being annoyed about this, he drove over to the main taxi hut and got everyone he knew there to figure out where we need to go – super helpful!
At the hostel we wanted to hire a private taxi to take us to one of the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep temple, which is basically in the middle of nowhere, and the hostel receptionist helped us to get a taxi. When the taxi guy arrived, he took us to the temple, stopped to let us get some drinks on the way, and waited outside the temple for us while we were there for an hour or so. That’s not it… on the way back to Chang Mai centre he also stopped off at a waterfall and advised we go and see it, and again he waited for us.
The hospitality in Chiang Mai really doesn’t go unnoticed!
Chiang Mai has a ridiculous amount of markets taking place throughout the week, and whilst we were visiting we were lucky enough to be there on a day when they were hosting the Sunday Market, which closes off the roads in the centre and replaces them with an epically sized market.
At this market you’ll find everything from local food, home made goods, foot massages on the sides of the street, and live music and singers. The atmosphere at this market is truly amazing, and I would say this is the best market we went to in Thailand.
Aside from this specific market, you can also visit the Night Bazaar, Warorot Market, and Saturday Market.
Unfortunately I only took one picture of the night market – clearly I was too tired this night to capture everything!
When you visit Thailand, it’s normally a given that you will see some elephants at some point along your journey, but seeing the elephants in Chiang Mai is just an out of this world experience.
Before we headed to Thailand, one of our friends recommended that we visit an Elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, and she gave us all the details about her trip so we could experience the same.
The company we went with is called Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, and they are a large elephant sanctuary based in the jungle about an hour and a half away from the centre.
We booked an overnight, 2 day package with this company which enabled us to spend two days with the elephants, an overnight stay with the locals, a visit to a Karen tribe, and a waterfall hike. Transfers to and from the jungle were also included in the price – it cost us £120 each but this was a fair price for a 2 day excursion including food and transport.
It was an amazing experience, and the most ethical way to see the elephants. It brought a breath of fresh air, considering for the most part in Thailand the elephants are really badly treated for tourist purposes (elephant rides mainly).
Have you been to Chiang Mai? What was something you loved about this amazing city? Let me know in the comments!