Chiang Mai, a pretty little town in Northern Thailand
I did not remember the reason why i chose Chiang Mai as a stopover for my days away from Saigon, away from the busy pace of life and noisy city. The only thing that remained most clearly in my mind was the balance of the experiences in this land.
AN IDEAL GETAWAY IN THAILAND
Chiang Mai, which means “new city”, is about 700kilometres North of Bangkok. It is not difficult to find golden rain tree flowers in Chiang Mai because this is the national flower of the Land of a Million Elephants. The flower named Ratchaphuruek leaves a strong impression with its loving and gentle yellow color. June is the time when the flowers bloom. In the early morning sunshine, the flowers are even more gorgeous, bringing dreaming and charming beauty to the streets on the outskirts of the city.
Chiang Mai nestles on the hillside and sloping mountains so this is nestled on destination for nature lovers, couples or families looking for a quiet getaway. With a mild climate, visitors can visit Chiang Mai in all seasons of the year. The summer here is cooler than in other regions in Thailand, so many citizens and tourists choose this city for their holidays. November to early February is the time when many beautiful flowers blossom and the climate gets colder.
VISIT PAGODAS IN CHIANG MAI
The statues painted in shiny golden that brings nostalgic features which will be the first thing to impress you. According to local folklore, the current location of the pagoda used to be the resting place of a matriarch elephant. Therefore, a white elephant statue is built right in front of the pagoda.The high tower, the place that worships Buddha’s holy relics, gradually appears when you go deep inside. Visiting the pagoda on a rainy day, I missed the opportunity to admire the panoramic view of Chiang Mai and neighboring countryside from above. But in return, this was probably the most memorable experience in my journey. Standing in front of the statues covered in the rain, I found true joy in my heart. Also, you can visit Wat Suan Dok or Wat Phra Sing, which are two more famous ancient pagodas in Chiang Mai. It is also home to many bustling activities during festive seasons.
DISCOVERING MANY EXOTIC ACTIVITIES IN CHIANG MAI
If you are an adventurer, this is probably the experience that is worthwhile for you. You can spend half or the whole day trying. A usual tour takes about 4-5hours depending on the number of games, while prices range from 1,600to 2,400baht (about 1to 1.6million Vietnam Dong).
A trip to Chiang Mai will not be perfect if you miss a Muay Thai match or a dinner watching traditional dances. The melodious sound of the instruments accompanied by the skillful movements of the head and hands of beautiful Thai girls in the Lakhon dance will mesmerize you.
Young people who love innovation and creation can go to Baan Kang Wat, a “village” that is home to traditional handicraft shops and dozens of small cafés. Baan Kang Wat is about 10kilometres to the West of Chiang Mai centre. Every corner of this village shows its artistic and creative features. People who love taking pictures will be amazed by the beautiful check-in corner. You can also buy items such as paintings, music boxes, pottery or tea as souvenirs.
Also, my nostalgia for Chiang Mai is about the mornings when I woke up without being surrounded by dozens of skyscrapers or the noise of traffic on the streets, which made me feel so strange. The pace of life in Chiang Mai is not too rushed. I miss the gentle and kind people, the look of a driver and shopkeeper at the night market Think Park, or the big smiles of a little girl on the street.
FAMILIAR YET STRANGE THAILAND CUISINE IN CHIANG MAI
During the days in Chiang Mai, I also enjoyed delicious dishes featuring traditional flavors of the land of A million elephants. Unlike Bangkok or southern provinces, the cuisine of this region is partially influenced by Myanmar and Laos. However, you will still find the spicy flavor of Thai cuisine in many dishes. Khao Soy, Sai Ua, Naem, Kanom Jeen Nam Ngeow are typical dishes that you definitely should try.
Visitors should also visit Saiyut and Doctor Sai Kitchen, where they offer a variety of traditional dishes. If you love vegetables, you can go to the Oh ka Jhu restaurant, which has an organic hundred-of-square-metre garden with a variety of vegetables. Raw materials for this restaurant are taken from this garden.
INTERESTING SHOPPING EXPERIENCES IN CHIANG MAI
In this “new city”, there are also many night markets for those who want to explore the nightlife of local people. Night Bazzar, located on the sidewalk on Chang Klan Road, is a night market open in the evenings of the week. This market is next to the Kalare Night Bazaar so you can discover both at the same time. The main products are clothing, jewelry, and souvenirs. In addition, Chiang Mai also has a weekend market on Wua Lai and Ratchadamnoen Road. The most prominent features of these markets are dining and foot massage services for 150baht (about VND120,000) per hour.
The future is unpredictable and we are never certain of who we might meet next, and there are certain places we may visit and people we meet that we will remember for a very long time. Packing my baggage and saying goodbye to the small town on a sunny day, I thought I would go back one day. On the flight from Chiang Mai to Hanoi of Bangkok Airways, I kept thinking about cool green forests, pretty little cafés, exotic vegetable soup with egg ants and the adventure games that I never tried before. There are no long lines of traffic like in Saigon or modern metro stations like in Seoul, there are not as many skyscrapers as in Tokyo or mysterious mosques as in Jakarta. Chiang Mai appears in my mind gently but is full of impression of a destination to find balance in life.
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