Chiang Mai: Four Day Travel Guide
One of the most beautiful cities in all of Thailand, Chiang Mai, the beating heart of the northern part of the country, has plenty to do and see for visitors. After arriving and checking in to your hotel, it’s time to explore this fabulous city, the former capital of the fabled Lan Na kingdom.
Chiang Mai in Four Days
CHIANG MAI: DAY 1
Since the weather is so lovely, you decide to take a stroll down Nimmanhaemin Soi 9, which the locals refer to as Coffee Street, for good reason. You can enjoy one of the many delightful coffee shops, sitting and watching people pass by as you enjoy your drink.
Afterwards, wander further into town, stopping to browse at many of the fine shops and boutiques. With so many savoury kinds of street food on sale, you decide to sample a bowl of Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup) or perhaps indulge in some authentic Pad Thai, made with your choice of thin or wide noodles.
The food is so delicious that you decide to try giving cooking Thai food a go for yourself. Heading over to one of the many Thai Cooking schools, you book a reservation for an early evening class, where you can learn to cook and serve traditional Thai food in an authentic setting. The experienced and friendly chefs will quickly teach you to prepare a stir-fried dish, a homemade soup, an appetiser, and a fiery hot curry.
But before your cooking class begins, you decide to drop off your purchases at the hotel and then head on back into town. Your destination is the Tae Pae Gate, a beautiful piece of architecture located in the heart of the old town. If you’re not too worn out, you can explore some of the many beautiful temples, such as Wat Phra Sing or Wat Chedi Luang.
After a full day in town, and with your stomach full of Thai food that you cooked yourself, it’s time to treat yourself. Head on up to the rooftop bar of your hotel and sip a fine cocktail. Watch the sun set over the gorgeous city of Chiang Mai, and enjoy the envy of your friends on social media as you post pictures of your fabulous trip.
CHIANG MAI: DAY 2
Feeling invigorated after a wonderful night’s rest, it’s time to be adventurous and hail a songtaew (taxi). Your destination? The Chiang Mai Zoo. One of the largest animal preservation parks in the world, the park features everything from pandas to white tigers. For a small fee, you can even get the chance to feed some of the many exotic animals.
After getting your fill of the zoo, it’s time to go visit that famous landmark that you’ve seen since your arrival – the Wat Phra Doi Suthep temple, located at the top of the biggest mountain around. Once at the top, you can drink in the marvellous sight of seeing the city from above. Locals will tell you that if you make a wish at the temple, it is guaranteed to come true.
Once back in the city, you decide to wander around the famous Sompet Market on Moonmuang, where thousands of vendors sell everything from fresh flowers to fruits and vegetables. With so many varied splendours on sale, half the fun is just in looking, but you decide to be bold and buy a few pink “century” eggs and some fiery hot chilies.
After loading up on fresh goodies, you can feel your stomach rumbling so you head to a restaurant and order khao soy. This iconic dish is often called “Chiang Mai noodles” because of its local popularity. Khao Soy is a coconut milk curry soup in a bowl heaped to the brim with delicious egg noodles, coming with either chicken or beef.
Your stomach full, it’s time to do a little bit more shopping. But after hearing from locals about the “Cowboy Hat Lady”, you decide to go investigate this local icon for yourself. Standing in the market near the North Gate, you recognise here by her distinctive headgear. Selling the most delicious rice and meat dishes in all of Chiang Mai, you buy some for yourself to enjoy later as you lounge in your room, relaxing while watching a movie.
CHIANG MAI: DAY 3
Once again, the weather is fabulous, so you head out nice and early to get to the Elephant Nature Park. Once you arrive, you’ll get a chance to see these majestic animals up close and personal. While it’s called a park, you’ll soon discover that it is actually a sanctuary, as all of the elephants are rescue animals. At the park, you’ll get a chance to both feed and bathe these gentle creatures. And the price of admission includes lunch.
After returning to town, you decide to visit the Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural Centre. Inside, you’ll get a full education about local culture and Thai traditions, learning about the rich history of Chiang Mai and the ancient kingdoms of northern Thailand.
Even though you’ve been having fun, all the excitement has worn you out a bit. Luckily, you’re in the right place for an excellent massage. A local has told you that the best place to go is the Women’s Correctional Institution, where prisoners have been trained as masseuses. Not only will they work out all the kinks in your body, but the fee goes towards helping the women prepare for a future on the outside.
In the evening, you decide to take advantage of the five-star restaurant in your hotel, where you enjoy some of the finest cuisine in all of Chiang Mai. Then you head up to the rooftop bar to savour a fine cocktail or two as the sun sets over the city.
CHIANG MAI: DAY 4
It’s your last day in Chiang Mai, and you decide to pack in as many thrills as you can. That’s why you head over to the X-Centre, which offers everything from paintball to go-karts. Seeing people roll around inside of Xorb balls is exciting, but you decide to rent an ATV, zooming around the enormous track. After that, you climb into a bumper cart (inside drift cart), and laugh as you slam and jostle into the other drivers.
With the adrenaline still pumping in your veins, you decide to up the ante and head on over to the Shooting Club. After getting a quick lesson on firearm safety, you’ll get the chance to practice your marksmanship with live ammunition in this enormous indoor gun range. With over 15 different types of pistols and long guns to choose from, you can blast away to your heart’s content.
Winding down from your exciting morning, you decide to do a bit more shopping before you leave. You head out to the South East (Chiang Mai) Gate, where you can relax in the park or paddle around the Huay Tong Tao Lake before hitting the shops.
On your last night, you decide to try the famous northern Thai tradition of a khantoke dinner. A top-notch local chef will prepare you a khantoke serving tray, loaded to the brim with dozens of small dishes, each one more delicious and savoury than the last. As you sit back on the traditional cushions, you can enjoy a show featuring traditional Thai music and dance.
Now that it’s well and truly dark outside, it’s time to explore the famous Night Market, which comes alive only after the sun sets. With everything on sale from homemade candies and fudge to hand-crafted clothes and other items, you fill up the last remaining bit of space in your luggage.
As you sink into the comfortable bed of your hotel room on your last night, you realise that your four days in Chiang Mai truly made for the best holiday of your life. Now your only dilemma is when you can come back and visit again.