Exploring Chiang Mai – Old City

For those of you who follow our blog and Instagram you will know we have recently set up base in Chiang Mai Thailand. An ancient city located in Northern Thailand nestled at the foot of beautiful mountains and surrounded by nature.

Chiang Mai has a beautiful old city, a 1.5km square block of  temples, winding streets and interesting sites. The old city is surrounded by a moat and ancient walls. There are lots of exciting things to see and do within Chiang Mai’s historic city walls.

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Start by taking a stroll around the outskirts of the ancient wall before turning into the interior through the beautiful Tha Phae Gate.

This will have you on one of the two main roads that leads to the magnificent Wat Phra Singh aka Golden Temple. Chiang Mai is famous for its temples and the Golden Temple is not to me missed.

West of the Golden Temple is Suan Dok Gate and the city moat. There is a large fresh fruit market that goes on during the morning and early afternoon. The perfect spot to grab a snack.

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After your visit to the Golden Temple, dive down one of the many side streets. Our favourite thing to do in our first few weeks was to wander around the many narrow side streets.

With each street we explored, we discovered many hidden gems such as little cafes, restaurants, crafts shops or local massage shops. These side streets are covered in colourful street art and make for an interesting walk.

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Feel safe in the knowledge that no matter how many turns you take you cannot really get lost in the old city as you will eventually come out onto a street or road you will recognise.

If you’re in the mood for more temples then check out Wat Chedi Luang, another temple complex with a partially crumbled 15th-century chedi & a pillar believed to protect the city’s beautiful structures.  

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Head back in the direction towards Tha Phae Gate, there are a number of pop up craft markets that appear on the weekends that we enjoyed. There is one on Rathithi Road Lane that we particularly liked. This market is on a narrow side street up the side of the UN Bar Irish Bar if you go looking. 

Another great site to visit is the Three Kings Monument which is pretty self explanatory. This statute communicates the first Kings of Chiang Mai and the surrounding area. It is close to Wat Chedi Luang so you can visit both fairly easily.

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In the south west corner is Buak Hard public park. This is a lovely place to sit and enjoy a cold drink or an afternoon walk. 

After a hard day’s sightseeing why not enjoy a traditional Thai massage at one of the hundreds of massage parlours in the city. We have sampled three or four different places and all have been super. From our experience in Thailand it is pretty difficult to receive a bad massage here.

If you’re in the city later in the evening then you have some fantastic options for meals. There are a large number of restaurants that offer some amazing food. The Old City of Chiang Mai is known for its cafes, restaurants. If you’re in the mood for a drink and a bit of Chiang Mai nightlife then head in the direction of Ratvithi Road and enjoy the bars along there.

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We will be posting more detailed blogs on places to eat, drink and get coffee soon. So watch this space!!

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