Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second biggest city and one of my new favorite places. Although I have a big city crush for Bangkok, I prefer the more relaxed and healthy vibe in Chiang Mai. Many who planned to stay here for a week end up living in Chiang Mai. I totally get it. Whether you seek for culture, nature, a healthy lifestyle or a spiritual awakening, everything is within reach.
Get into yoga
Chiang Mai is a perfect place to focus on your body and mind. The city is home to many yoga schools where you can attend beginner and professional classes. If you really want to get into it, book a yoga package for multiple days. Read here more about our four day yoga treat.
Morning walk in Old Town
Old Town has lovely alleyways full of plants and blossoming flower trees. The city in a city is at its best early morning when the majority of the tourists are still a sleep. You’ll cross paths with many monks making their way to the temple. Around every corner you’ll find another marvelous glittering (old) temple and lovely traditional Lana teak wooden houses.
Work on your photography skills
Chiang Mai is an unbelievable photogenic city. To help you get more creative with your camera Chiang Mai Photo Workshops offers workshops in the city and the surrounding regions. Kevin Landwer Johan, the director is a highly experienced editorial and commercial professional photographer. The workshops are in very small groups, which means a lot of personal attention. Kevin teaches you the basics and helps you develop a creative view. Early morning you’ll stroll together over local markets and make your way to Chiang Mai’s beautiful temples to practice your new found know how’s. Workshops can be taken digital as well as analogue.
Visit Doi Suthep
Behind the Chiang Mai University is one of Thailand’s most sacred temples Wat Ohra That Doi Suthhep. To reach the temple hike one-hour uphill through jungle passing waterfalls and small temples. When you arrive at the top of the mountain a long staircase will lead you to the temple with a breathtaking view over Chiang Mai. Interested in Vipassana? The mediation center offers a variety of programs, which you can attend.
Cool down and jump in at the Grand Canyon
Chiang Mai Grand Canyon is an old quarry filled with emerald waters. It is a perfect city get away for a swim and to relax. It is situated about 20 km from Old Town and is easy to reach by scooter. For a good reflection and great shots go early morning, the canyon opens at 10 AM.
Explore the city by bike
A cheap and healthy way to get around is by bicycle. Find your own way and you’ll discover parts of the city you may never see in the song taew. Head late afternoon over to Nimanhaemin area in the West, it is filled with hip coffee spots, great restaurants, stylish shops, wine and cocktail bars.
Stay at Oxotel
Design hostel Oxotel opened its doors in November 2015.The owner Mr. Wisitsak Suriyasri has travelled a lot and spend quite some time in several hostels. He enjoyed his experiences of making new friends, sharing travel stories and exchanging plans for new destinations and got inspired to start his own hostel. Being a garden architect he designed the hostel himself. It used to be an old 3-store building which is completely renovated. The interior is a mix of modern design, vintage and lots of greens. On every floor there is a grass-floored open-air terrace with bean bags to sit back and relax. On the ground floor there is a terrace where you can enjoy breakfast looking out on a lovely green oasis. There is a cool hipster caravan renovated from zero to hero, which you can book as well. Oxotel has 6 types of air-condition rooms including privates and dormitories. Every dormitory bed has its own locker, reading lamp and power socket. The private rooms with shared bathroom have their own washbasin. Free Wi-Fi is provided everywhere in the building. And if you want to explore the city by bike, there ar bikes and motorycles you can rent all day!
In the lobby there is secret door to the Artisan Cafe for a good cup of coffee, a smoothie, bakeries and sandwiches. It’s a great work spot with large tables and a good ambiance.
Price: $ | For bookings and current prices check: Oxotel
Facilities: free Wi-Fi —free breakfast —linen included —lockers —air conditioning —cable TV —outdoor terrace —tea and coffee all day —cafe —bar —caravan —garden —24 reception— bicycle and motorbike rental
Get a Thai massage at the woman’s prison massage center
The Women’s Correctional Institution set up a massage rehabilitation program in order to help the inmates easily integrate back into society. The women are taught cooking, massage skills and English. It’s a professional and clean massage salon (not at al prison like). I found the massages really good and the women super friendly. There is often a waiting time of an hour, but there is a small cafe and an outdoor patio to sit down.
Address is: 100 Rachawithee Rd (open from 08:00 to 16:30)
Enjoy Thai coffee and art
Hip coffee bars and art galleries are popping up all around town. Amazingly good coffees made by award winning baristas are served in the most stylish interiors. Don’t miss out on Ristr8tto for a cappuccino made by a world latte art champion and artsy Woo Cafe & Art Gallery along the riverside strip.
North Gate Jazz Bar
For good vibes, life music, decent drinks and a fine crowd this is our favorite bar in Chiang Mai. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists, so if you want a seat, come early around 8.30PM. The band usually starts around 9/9.30PM and goes on until midnight.
I love this, wow! Especially the photos are great to enjoy! :)
We will publish a geeky guide Chiang Mai by January, and I’ll make sure to include your handy guide here as well!
Hi Matt, good to hear you like it! Thank you for including it! Where is it published?