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    Travel To Chiang Mai - Where To Stay - What To Do


    How To Get Around

    The best way to get around Chiang Mai is via Tuk Tuk. There is no "Sky Train" or taxis in Chiang Mai. The Tuk Tuk drivers in Chiang Mai are a lot better than in Bangkok, but you still need to negotiate with them before you arrange for a ride. Another option would be the "Red Buses" or (Baht Buses). These are pick up trucks with roofs on the back and seats in the back. You will find them outside of Bangkok. Just make sure that they are going where you want to go and ring the bell for them to stop when you reach your destination. The fare is usually 10-20 Baht a person depending on where you are going.

    What To See

    Chiang Mai is a really unique town, it is my favorite place in all of Thailand. It is the second largest town in Thailand but is still small enough for you to enjoy a true Thai experience. Just checking out the old walled city can be interesting, since this is the home of the old "Lanna Kingdom". A picture of one of the gates in the old walled city is shown on the left. Like in any country, you find that people in the "country" are more polite and nicer than people in the city, and Thailand is no different. I have always found the people here to be more pleasant than even the generally pleasant people in Bangkok.

     

    Doi Suthep - This is a must see in Chiang Mai, it is the highest point in Chiang Mai and used to house the famous Emerald Buddha. Of course there are a few places in Thailand that at one point in time used to house the Emerald Buddha. The view from the top of the the temple is amazing, and it is amazing to think that they built the temple before there was a road to the top. Go there and you will see what I mean. There is a trolley that takes you from the road to the temple or you can walk the steps if you can stand the heat. You will need to go to the top in a Red Bus or van because a Tuk Tuk will not be able to make the climb to the top of the hill.

    Doi Inthanon - Is the highest point in Thailand and has a temple similar to Doi Suthep. It is a couple of hours outside of Chiang Mai.


    Elephant Camp - Outside of Chiang Mai is the Elephant Camp. You can go see an exhibit of the elephants as they go through their paces, learn how they used to work, and see them paint pictures. At the end of the show you can go for a ride on an elephant if you like, they were strong enough to hold my brother and I!

    The Golden Triangle - This is a trip that you can make outside of Chiang Mai. The Golden Triangle is where Burma, Laos, and Thailand all come together. There is a one day trip if you want to spend all day in the car, and a two day trip if you want to enjoy your trip a little more.

    Chiang Rai - Burma If you want to take a day trip into Burma you can do that from Chiang Rai. You would need to either fly or drive to Chiang Rai and then go on to Mae Sai which is opposite Burma. If you want to get you passport stamped, you need to check out with Thai Immigration about 1 1/2 miles before the bridge, then cross the border into Tachilek in Burma (Myanmar). You will get your stamp, spend a few hours walking around and then come back into Thailand with a new entry stamp.

    Hill Tribes - One thing that is popular with tourists is to go and visit genuine hill tribes as they live in their villages in Northern Thailand. One of the tribes is the Agkha, and there are some Hmong tribes as well. The problem is that most of the close "authentic" villages have concrete houses and satellite dishes! You have to get pretty far outside of Chiang Mai to see anything close to authentic hill tribe living.

    Shopping

    The Night Bazaar - One of the best things to do at night is to walk down through the world famous Night Bazaar. There are stalls up and down both sides of the street where you can buy original products and knock off products as well. I have bought silk there and it is great quality and the prices were fantastic. The Night Bazaar area is really the central hub of night life in Chiang Mai. There are bars within walking distance and great restaurants along the Mae Ping River. You will see people from the hill tribes coming down to the market to try and sell their necklaces, etc. The Night Bazaar was a place where merchants came from as far as China to sell their wares, and it is still the central hub for barter in Chiang Mai.

    Factory Shops - Outside of the center of Chiang Mai, there are a bunch of factories where you can buy direct from the factory. There are silk factories, pottery factories and a leather factory. I think that there may be the occasional jewelry factory there as well. The tour guides or Tuk Tuk drivers will definitely want to take you there since they get a commission from the shops.

    Where To Eat

    Brasserie - Is my favorite restaurant in Chiang Mai, it is located right next to the Mae Ping River across from the U.S. Consulate, there are a series of restaurants right next to each other here, and you really don't need to go anywhere else for great Thai food and a great atmosphere. The Brasserie is a little bit cozier than some of its larger neighbors. The music on the back porch is very relaxing. The Brasserie can be reached at (053) 241665

    The Good View - This is probably the most popular of the restaurants (especially with Thais) close to the Mae Ping River. It is a little larger, and the music is a little louder, but the food and service are great here to. Expect to have a crowd especially at the weekend. I believe that they also have a restaurant in Bangkok but I have not yet gone there.

    The Riverside - Another great restaurant with good ambiance, great food and service, and a tranquil view of the Mae Ping River. This restaurant is located in between The Goodview and Brasserie.

    American Restaurant - There is a great little restaurant for smoked barbeque and other items, I don't know the name, it is located on Loy Kroh, just a few minutes walk from the Night Bazaar, heading towards Bar Bar Bo Bo. The restaurant is located before you get to the bars. The food was fantastic and it is a nice little addition to Chiang Mai. I will get the name on my next visit!


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