Chiang Mai is certainly the capital of the North, teeming with wats and a great base if you want to do some treking. The city is surrounded by walls and a moat set against a mountain backdrop. Although Chiang Mai has 121 wats within its municipal limits at is also a city that has undergone modernisation in change including a large shopping complex in the centre. The advantage of Chiang Mai is that you can easily walk or cycle around to explore. Chiang Mai is cooler than Bangkok and the southern areas and the best time to visit is between July and March. In September the rainy season takes hold and their can be torrential downpours. A friendly and diverse city.
View of Chiang Mai from Doi Suthep
Travelled around the Province quite a lot. Nice waterfalls. I also stayed in a Hmong village called Ban Khung Wang where i taught English and worked in the fields with some of my fellow students. The village is at the base of Doi Inthernon. The Night Bazaar and Warorot are great for shopping. Checking out lots of wats! The views and the beauty of Doi Suthep.
What's really great:
The people i met were so friendly and hospitable. I have made lifelong friends. The local cuisine could also be very interesting at times!! Try to visit a Hmong village during their New Year celebrations (usually first or second week in January).
Wat Chedi Luang
A visit to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, 16 kilometres out of Chiang Mai is certainlly worth a visit. The peak is 1676m high. There are 300 steps to climb to reach the wat itself. On a clear day there is a great view of Chiang Mai. The Lanna style chedi is one of the holiest in Thailand.
Mountain View Guest House. Very close to the Chang Puak Gate. The rooms on the front can be a bit noisy though!
On my first visit i stayed at the Diamond Riverside Hotel - locally known as Phet Ngam- on Thanon Charoen Prathet. There is a swimming pool and it is well located for the Night Bazaar.
I did not visit any clubs during my stay but they are there!
The only pub i visited was Phar Lap ( Thai for lightening) at the junction of Loi Kroh Road and Charoenprathet Road. The staff are friendly and the open air setting is appealing. There is often live music on and it is handy for the Night Bazaar.
Songkran - Happy New Year
There are lots of places to eat!! Food from the markets and street vendors is cheap and tasty. A visit to the Riverside Bar and Restaurant on Thanon Charoenat is worthwhile. It is popular with Thai and farang alike. The food is good and there is the chance to take a dinner cruise along the river.
No trip is complete without an elephant trek
Don't be afraid to eat from the smaller places or street vendors! I wasn't ill once. Try to experience Songkran - the Thai new year - great fun.
I am planning on visiting in May and staying around 6 nights. Do you think this will allow me enough time to get the feel of the area. I am planning on hiring a car so will be able to move whne I wish.
Thanks for any input.