Chiang Mai, Thailand: The "Rose of the North"
For many years Thailand has been a popular travel destination with its white sandy beaches and tropical temperatures. Last year Bangkok recorded 20 million visitors, making it the most visited city in the world. After a few days in the vibrant city, many are drawn to one of the numerous islands in the south. Much fewer travel to the north of the country. It has an incredible amount to offer: from breathtaking mountain landscapes surrounded by tropical jungle to the diverse northern Thai cuisine and the friendly people here who always seem to smile.
Chiang Mai - relaxed city in the north
For four whole months I had the wonderful opportunity to get to know the north of Thailand better and to travel. In the course of my studies, I was drawn to a practical semester near Chiang Mai - the largest city in the north and at the same time the second largest city in the country. Compared to the largest city in the country - Bangkok - it is much more relaxed here, especially in terms of traffic. If you like to spend a lot of time in Bangkok in traffic jams, you can explore the old town of Chiang Mai on foot or by bike. It is a lot of fun to drift through one of the numerous “sois” (small streets) all day long. Or you can sit in one of the electric tuk-tuks (identified by the green label “E-Taxi”) and thus support green mobility in the city.
Tip 1: Visit one of the city's more than a hundred temples.
There are plenty of Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai, which is why a temple tour should not be missed. In addition to the oldest temple in the city from the 7th century ("Wat Chiang Man") is a visit to the temple complex "Wat Phra Singh" to recommend. Also the "Wat Chedi Luang" belongs to one of the most beautiful temples in the old town. A little outside of the city is also the "Wat Phra That Doi Suthep"From this you have a great view of the whole city and the mountainous surroundings, especially in the evening hours.
Fascinating mountain landscapes and lush jungle green
Chiang Mai is also known as the "Rose of the North" because of its breathtaking landscape. Crossed by tropical jungle regions and bright green rice fields, many travelers who come here are drawn to nature. You are spoiled for choice between countless providers. But you can also explore the area very well on your own.
Tip 2: climb the “Bua Tong Waterfalls” near Chiang Mai.
For example, a day trip to the “Bua Tong Waterfalls” (also known as “Sticky Waterfalls”) is worthwhile. These are located about an hour from Chiang Mai. The drive there alone - it leads through the most beautiful mountain landscape - is more than worthwhile. When you arrive, you quickly notice what the name is all about. The waterfalls are so "sticky" due to the lime content that they can be easily climbed. A very special experience.
Discover the mountain landscape on horseback
We also recommend a one-day riding excursion organized by the Thai Horse Farm. Here you ride on Himalayan mountain horses through the tropical jungle region. The horses are characterized by their friendly disposition and their surefootedness, which is why the tour is explicitly aimed at non-riders. Lunch is also very special here and invites guests on a culinary journey. Instead of in pans and pans, the food is cooked the traditional way in bamboo and served with leaves.
Tip 3: A ride with Himalayan mountain horses. Also great for non-riders.
Try and learn northern Thai cuisine
Speaking of food. The typical northern Thai soup "Khao Soi" should not be missed at all. You can try these on a visit to the market (for example on Saturdays at "Wua Lay Walking Street" or Sundays at "Thapae Gate Walking Street") or in one of the countless restaurants in town. By the way, there are a number of good vegetarian restaurants in the city. These sometimes also offer cooking courses (such as the "Morning glory restaurant"), where you can learn how to prepare the soup yourself.
Tip 4: take a cooking class. For example at the “Asia Scenic Cooking School” or in the “Morning Glory Restaurant”.
The cooking course is also nice "Asia Scenic Cooking School". This is offered on the farm just a few kilometers outside of town. In addition to visiting the market in the morning, you can get to know all kinds of spices and ingredients from northern Thai cuisine in the school's own garden. Then you cook up to seven dishes, including the famous Khao Soi.
End the evening relaxing with a massage or yoga
In the evening you can relax in one of the city's yoga studios (for example at "Freedom Yoga" or "Hidden House"). Alternatively (or after the yoga class) a visit to a massage studio is worthwhile. The family-run studio "Green Bamboo Massage" offers a wide variety of massage and wellness treatments. The certified staff uses homemade organic products.
Tip 5: Attend a yoga class and then relax with a Thai massage.
Photo credits: Lisa Klakow