Hello, I just came back from Chiang Mai trip. This trip was impulsively done by me after my HR manager said ‘Guys, you can take your annual leave (from Indonesian office) if you want. Take time for some trips while you are in Thailand’, then I booked the airplane ticket.
This was also my first time flying with Thailand budget airlines, Thai Lion Air (still affiliated with Lion Air Indonesia though) and the cute Nok Air!
Rent motorcycle in Chiang Mai
- SM Travel in the Tha Pae area. THB 500 for 2 days (automatic) with THB 5000 deposit (because we did not want to leave our passports there). Their motorcycles were well-maintained.
- Bikky. There are many travel bloggers recommended this place. They have some shops around the city, we rented from Bikky Arcade (near Bus Station 2). It was unplanned actually, we paid THB 50 per hour because we only rented it for 3 hours. They wanted us to keep the passport as deposit. But, it’s okay. They had good helmet too, if you are such a safety freak, you can pay additional fee for safety-standardized helmet.
Note. When you rent a motorcycle in Chiang Mai, they rarely ask you about the driving license. But, sometimes Thai police conduct a sudden inspection, which will cost you around THB 400 if you don’t have international driving license.
Stay in Chiang Mai
There are lots of unique and comfortable hotel and hostel around Chiang Mai. Just pick which one suit your style from your favorite booking website. I chose Greensleep Hostel near Tha Pae. It was a bit pricey compared to others, THB 400 per night per person, in 6-bed dorm room. But, it was very clean, spacious, and comfortable. They also provided towel.
Recommended things to do in Chiang Mai
- Khao Soi. Eating is my number one list! Khao Soi is yellow noodle with curry soup, completed with dried noodle which make it perfect. I usually put a lot of chili sauce. It is so mouth-watering. Khao Soi I ate in Chiang Mai was so far, the best from every Khao Soi I ever tasted (yeah because Khao Soi is originally from Northern Thai).
- Doi Suthep. The main attraction in Doi Suthep is actually Wat Phratat. It is a temple in the hill, and it has a very beautiful view where you can see the Chiang Mai city from above. You can go here by songthaew too for around THB 40 from the city. Around Doi Suthep area, you can also take a look at Phuping Palace where you can see beautiful flowers and royal palace.
- Baan Khun Chang Kian (around 10 km from Doi Suthep). Beware, the road to come here is bumpy, minimum street-lights, and it is kind of difficult for two cars in the opposite direction. But, it is beautiful especially when you come in the right time. I came here in the end of January which was not really a right time. This was one place you can visit if you want to see the ‘Thai sakura’ or Himalayan cherry blossom. I think the best time to visit here is in the mid of January. If you don’t have your own vehicles, you can use songthaew , it takes THB 200 from Wat Phratat Doi Suthep to this village.
- Night market. There are lots of night market across Chiang Mai. What’s so different with night market in other city in Thailand? Chiang Mai night market is so picturesque with many unique stuffs. We were not into shopping, but ended up buying some stuffs. Many souvenirs I found were cheaper compared to Bangkok, especially Thai silk. And, who doesn’t like to see beautiful painting like these?
- DOI INTHANON. I think this is the highlight from the trip. I do love Doi Inthanon very much. It takes around 2 hours from Chiang Mai by motorcycle. You will pass a small district called, Chom Thong, fill up your fuel and buy food/drinks here since gasoline in Doi Inthanon was pricey (there is small gas station in Doi Inthanon, around 33 baht per litre)
In Doi Inthanon, there are many places to visit:
– Watchirathan Waterfall. Around 10 km after the first check point of Doi Inthanon National Park.
– The Summit, highest spot in Thailand, around 2500 above sea level. It was easy to reach, not really like climbing a mountain
– Angkha Nature trail, you just need one hour to explore the beautiful rain-forest in wooden path, your photos taken will be magical.
– Twin Pagoda/Chedis
– Kaew Mae Pan nature trail, definitely my favorite! Prepare for 5 km trekking, it will take around 3 hours.
– Inthanon Royal Project, beautiful royal garden and luxury family restaurant with affordable price
I also recommend you to camp in Chiang Mai. There are some camping ground, I recommend Sureya Mountain View which is located in the hill with its beautiful view. It is located around 4 km from the national park headquarter. The camping ground provided electricity and hot water shower. All you need to do is just pay around THB 600 for one tent (2-3 people), completed with pillow and thick blanket.
- Temple hoping. Chiang Mai really reminded me with Ayutthaya. It is surrounded by rivers and many temples across the city. The two famous temples are Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phra Singh.
For me personally, 3 days were not enough to explore Chiang Mai. There were more places to visit. But sure, it was one of the very memorable and lovely trip in Thailand. Hope you enjoy Chiang Mai as I did 🙂