Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand, formerly the capital of the kingdom of Lan Na, it was originally founded in 1296.
Bangkok > Chiang Mai
We took the night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. You have the option to take a day train, but figured we’d save the half-day ride. Plus, we’d read rave reviews about the nighttrain.
Note: You can’t actually buy train tickets directly from the thai transport office, but this company allows you to order tickets through them online.
We arrived in Chiang Mai around 9am, rain pouring down. We checked into our fancy private room at The Gord ChiangMai, a guest house that was 31USD/night. Rain cleared, we went to explore the city! Wats all around!! A Wat is a Buddhist temple. There are over 200 Wats to explore in Chiang Mai. Wat are you waiting for! Get out there. (ha)
You are allowed to enter the temples but you must remove your shoes.
Don't forget to cover your shoulders and legs!
Chiang Mai Wat highlights:
Wat Jetlin (aka Chedlin)
This 16th century Wat was nearly empty when we went, which lends to a really intimate experience, rare when visiting temples here.
Another special part of this wat was the beautifully adorned walkway that lead to the area where “monk chat” takes place. (Unfortunately the monks weren't there the day we visited) See pics!
Wat Chedi Luang
This 14th century wat was originally made up of three temples that were later combined into a larger temple complex. At the time the first temple building was completed, it was the tallest building in the city at 270 feet high. This Wat is one of the more heavily visited in the city, but it was well worth the visit. There’s a small monk school in the complex, so you will likely see young child monks (aka male novices).
Wat Suon Dok
Wat Suon Dok is a 14th century wat located outside the old city center.
An interesting feature of this Wat is the grouping of white-washed mausoleums that house the remains of the the pre-20th century Chiang Mai royal family.
One of our favorite things about this Wat was the amazing restaurant located within it call Pun Pun. Go! Link to more info here.
Grand Canyon, Chiang Mai - This man made water park is a fun touristy hot spot. You can cliff jump into the man-made watering hole or just swim around on an inner tube. Super fun half-day adventure. Link to more info.
Look out for our next post coming out this Wednesday focusing on Chiang Mai's Elephant Nature Park!