Most underrated city of Thailand "Chiang Mai" by Sahib Singh Sadana
Chiang Mai is a city full of Buddhist temples and of profound Buddha culture. This city lies on a mountain in the Northern part of Thailand. This old city attracts an abundance of tourism every year. Chiang Mai, though a small city, is a place that has everything that every kind of traveller will want. From the mountain life to shopping, Thai massage and cooking courses, handicrafts and antiques, Buddha temples and its culture to the nightlife, it has it all.
With that, we are already excited to be at Chiang Mai. Let us see the reasons to include Chiang Mai in our travel plan.
Reasons to visit Chiang Mai:
1. It is well known for the Buddha temples that number to more than 300 in the old city. The temples and the architecture symbolize Buddhist artistry and lifestyle.
2. The handicraft here is unmatched. You will find a lot of antique goods here as well. It is a delight for all the shoppers who travel here.
3. You will meet the long neck tribe. This tribe includes women who wear brass rings around their necks, wrists and ankles. This practice roots to their ethnic culture. It is amazing to see them and learn about this community.
4. Along with the cultural lifestyle of the people, there is great nightlife so that you can party and chill as well.
What to pack for Chiang Mai:
1. Clothes: Comfortable (fashionable, if you wish) clothes, Party wear and a few full-length clothes that cover your hands and legs completely-for the temples.
2. Accessories- hats, Sunglasses, umbrella, water bottle(it is important to stay hydrated)-better to carry reusable ones than to carry plastic bottles.
3. Footwear: Slip-on kinds with buckles or straps until your ankle for the temples and shoes to visit other places around would be the best choice.
4. Toiletries: All your required toiletries. Be sure to include sunscreen lotion or moisturiser too.
5. Essential medications, if you take any.
How to reach Chiang Mai?
By Flight: Chaing Mai has its international airport. You can either book your flight directly to this place or fly from Bangkok to Chaing Mai.
By train: Although this route will take you longer to reach Chiang Mai, this is the most scenic route. There are day trains and overnight trains from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The day train fares are lower than that of overnight ones. It takes approx. 10-15 hours by train.
By Buses: There are very comfortable buses that frequent from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The bus journeys are 10 hours long approx.
Now that you’ve reached Chiang Mai, let’s discuss what you can do here in detail.
Where to go in Chiang Mai?
Since we have already mentioned about its rich count in temples, let’s see which ones are the most popular:
1. The old city temples: The old city of Chiang Mai is home to many temples. The small streets and surrounding temples give it a museum-like look. Although it has a high number of temples, the old city is still calm and is wonderfully surrounded by nature.
2. Doi Sethup: This temple has the greatest historical and religious significance. The temple is covered in gold from top to bottom. There is a meditation centre in the temple ground too. What is fascinating about the location of this temple is that is has a national park in its surrounding. This enhances the beauty of this temple.
Don Inthanon National park: This national park has a rugged mountainous terrain and a wide range of biodiversity. A river flows through and the park is adorned with lovely magical waterfalls. It is an exquisite place to be at.
Doi Suthep-Pui National Park: Doi Pui is the highest peak which is 1685m above sea level. The natural park has a fascinating view and is covered by mixed deciduous and evergreen trees. There is a pond at the base of the mountain.
There is a tribal village about 5 km away. The name of the village is Hmong village. It is captivating to know about their private life- their simple homes and lifestyle, their special design of fabric and varied food habits.
These safaris are organised both via open-sided trams and by walk. There are three regions where these safaris begin.
Savanna safari- the herbivores and preys are only seen in this zone
Predator Prowl- The carnivores and predators are seen in this zone.
Jaguar trail (by walk)- this zone lies around a lake and animals like giraffe, white striped tiger and flamingos are seen.
Chiang Dao Cave & the Karen long neck tribe:
The cave although extends for many kilometres and beyond the borders too, only a small portion of it is open for you to explore. It is best to always have a guide around the cave.
A little beyond the cave is this enchanting ethnic village of the Karen Hill tribe. The women have a culture wherein they wear brass rings around their necks, wrists and ankles. The women work on wood carvings or weave. The men are busy at the field.
Bo Sang Handicraft Village:
The umbrella that is made here is a cultural symbol of Chiang Mai. The floral designs are unique to this place. This village is towards the east of the old city. The umbrellas are special because they are made from paper made from the mulberry tree. They are hand-made and self-painted. Umbrellas from the ones used in parks, regular outside use to cocktail umbrellas are made here. The shoppers will surely enjoy the spread of colours and craft here.
Chiang Mai is a very colourful and adventurous place to visit. There is art, craft, culture and wildlife. It is a budget-friendly place to be at as well. This place has a lot of histological importance as well. A trip to Chiang Mai would not just be fun but would be educative as well.