How To Spend 24 Hours in Chiang Mai
So you’ve found yourself in Chiang Mai, a large city in Northern Thailand. Maybe you were told by friends how great it is or maybe it’s just a random stopover before moving on. Whatever your reason for being here, you might be wondering how best to spend your day.
If you’re looking for cheap accommodation filled with young, lively folks like yourself, Little Bird Guesthouse and MD House might be two possibilities. Both located within walking distance from each other in the Old City, these two hostels are right where the action is happening but tucked away in their own little nooks so as not to disturb those trying to get to sleep at night.
Start your day off with a trip to Somphet Market, where you can find Tip and her big yellow sign, serving up delicious fruit shakes and fruit muesli. This is also the market that many local cooking classes will take their students to collect fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and spices for their meals. If you enjoy cooking or simply want to do something you may not have done before, cooking classes are a fun way to spend the day and you have the choice of an in-city class or one on a farm in the countryside.
After browsing around the market, flag down a songthaew, a truck with two rows of seats, to take you on up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, the temple on the hill and the most popular temple in the city. This alone could easily fill up your afternoon with the intricate detail of the temple and the beautiful views of Chiang Mai below.
Interested in speaking with an English-speaking monk? Head over to Wat Suan Dok and make your way to the university that is attached, where “monk chats” are available by donation to learn more about Buddhism and their way of life.
As the afternoon comes to an end and night begins, the buzz of the night market comes alive covering nearly 2 kilometers of road. Selling beautiful handcrafted items such as paintings and jewelry, the night bazaar has become one of Chiang Mai’s most popular tourist attractions. If you happen to be around on a Sunday, there is the famous Sunday Night Market.
Looking to get your drink on and let loose a little? THC Rooftop Bar is a good choice if you’re looking for something a little more chilled out. After climbing a windy staircase, you’ll find yourself in a colorful, shoes-off, chilled out atmosphere that overlooks Thapae Gate. Zoe in Yellow, or Zoe’s for short, offers a garden/seated area if you just want to sit down with a few beers as well as a big dance floor for when the night gets wild. It’s also where I spent my 21st birthday. Reggae Bar, just down the road from Zoe’s, is a fun place to go if you’re looking for some Jamaican music, live bands, and a dance floor.
With it’s mix of modern and traditional, Chiang Mai is a popular city that attracts thousands of tourists and is home to many expats who have fallen in love with the place and decided to make it their home.