Chiang Mai, a land of misty mountains and colourful hill tribes, is located 700 km north of Bangkok in a verdant valley on the banks of the Ping River. Chiang Mai was founded in 1296 as the capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom. Today it is a place where past and the present seamlessly merge with modern buildings standing side by side with venerable temples.
The historical city of Chiang Mai is quite a diverse place, with different neighbourhoods have very distinct personalities. At its heart is the beautiful Old City. Outside its almost perfectly square moat and ancient city walls is the bustling Night Bazaar, the peaceful Riverside and the modern Nimman Road.
Chiang Mai is most famous for its beautiful ancient temples, though there is much more to see and do. The striking mountainous landscape around the city provides a lot of wonderful natural attractions. In the city itself, there are unique museums, fantastic spas and beautiful gardens and parks to enjoy.
With its more Northern latitude and higher elevation, Chiang Mai enjoys a cooler climate than the stifling central plains near Bangkok. The rains begin to fall around early June and continue on until late October. The temperature falls to an average of 32°C (89°F) during the day and a pleasant 23°C (73°F) at night.
The weather in October is lovely, less rain, cooler temperatures and not too crowded. Chiang Mai is highly recommended to visit. The forests are still lush and active but not nearly as wet as in September or August.
|Transporation in Chaing Mai|
With scenic views wherever you go, travelling in Chiang Mai is indeed part of the fun and a joy. Getting around Chiang Mai is SAFE & CHEAP although it’s a bit frustratingly lack of public transport, but plenty of other means of transport to see you arrive safely at your destination.
Songthaew (Red Taxi or Red Truck) is the most common and preferred mode of local transportation in Chiang Mai. It’s a converted pickup truck named after its two rows of seats. Riding a songthaew is the perfect way to meet local Thais. It is very easy to find songthaew in Chiang Mai either day or night all over the city. Simply wave one down the street (or approach a waiting driver) and tell the driver where you want to go. If it is along the general route or the driver is going that direction, ask the price and hop on. The fare is by person.
You can get a songthaew going to anywhere and everywhere in the city, so long as you don’t mind sharing your ride with the other passengers and pick up & drop off as they go.
Some songthaew can provide taxi service (your own private ride) if you ask the driver, and you may sit next to driver’s seat with air-conditioning on, going to any location you decide. Also, a taxi can sometimes hard to find on the streets, songthaew is always around.
There is air-conditioned Taxi in Chiang Mai but their numbers are small and it is not easy to wave down. These taxis do not cruise the streets – they are waiting at the airport, railway station, bus station, malls, and hotels.
3. Tuk Tuk
Everyone knows about Thailand’s Tuk-Tuk – they are quick, noisy, they go everywhere, and inexpensive. Tuk-Tuk is the second most common mode of transport in Chiang Mai. Compare to songthaew, Tuk-Tuk is more expensive.
Samlor, literally means “3 wheels” in Thai, is mainly used by tourists taking a casual spin around the old city or some die-hard vendors using them to shuttle their wares to the markets. They can be found around Warorot Market by the river.
Chiang Mai’s dining scene is outstanding. The choice available is excellent, ranging from first-class fine-dining restaurants with international menus to little local joints specialising in the area’s unique and tasty cuisine. Chiang Mai food is especially remarkable, with an emphasis on small shared dishes. Chiang Mai food is distinct from its cousins to the south and east. It is heavily influenced by northern neighboring countries such as Burma, Laos, and China. Soups and curries have a clear broth base and do not often use coconut milk. Rather than serving fluffy steamed jasmine rice at meals, the staple food is sticky rice. It’s locally known as khao niaow and is made from glutinous rice.
The most popular food and must try when in Chiang Mai
Khao Soi (Egg Noodle Curry)
Khao Soi has an exotic flavor from a curry paste mixture of dried and fresh chilies, anise, coriander seeds, and turmeric. The creamy soup is made with a base of chicken stock that’s been thickened with a generous scoop of coconut milk. The egg noodles are of the flat variety, with a small handful of deep-fried portion added on top
Sai Oua (Grilled Herb Sausage)
Sai oua is more meaty and rich with herbal aromas as well as chilies. The prominent flavors of this Northern Thai sausage is lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, and galangal.
Nam Prik Ong
The dip itself looks like Bolognese sauce – a very thick, chunky tomato sauce loaded with ground pork. It’s served in a small bowl, which is usually served alongside a larger platter featuring raw or parboiled slices of cabbage, long beans, okra, cauliflower, and eggplant. It can also be served with fried pork cracklings called kap moo, boiled eggs, and Thai sausages.
Kanom Jeen Nam Ngeow
True to Northern Thai food style, this curry has no coconut milk but is flavored with beef or pork, tomatoes, and dried smoky chilies. The broth is a deep rust red color, slightly pungent and a little oily, but full on delicious.
Khan Toke is a signature Lanna dining experience. Served in a low teak tray that doubles as a table, the khan toke comprises a range of northern-style side dishes and a basket of sticky rice. Diners sit on the floor, and dig in with one hand.