Mum and I obviously travel to Chiang Mai quite often. Between work and visiting family we don’t have much time for touristy things so we stick to what we know/like and thought we’d share some of our favourite places with you fine people!
There are places everyone will visit whilst in Chiang Mai – Doi Suthep, Wat after Wat after Wat (all beautiful and highly recommended)… but here are some of the other things (mainly eating and relaxing) that we enjoy doing in our down time.
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
104-1 Chang Klan Road, Chiang Mai
Super touristy but worth the mention because we walk through it every night. The great thing about the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is that it runs every single night. From about 3pm onwards you can watch the somewhat quiet streets of the city centre transform into a manic frenzy as stall holders transport their display pens (mostly by dragging them alongside their motorbikes) to the sidewalk where all the action happens.
From sunglasses and watches to counterfeit MAC cosmetics and Nike shoes, you’re sure to pick up many a bargain of varying quality and craftsmanship. Amongst the knockoffs though are an array of beautifully handcrafted local pieces and artworks.
If local arts and crafts is more your shtick, make sure to go over to the Tanon Kon Dern (which literally translates to “Walking Street”) on a Sunday evening (many stall holders move their goods to this market – making the Night Bazaar quieter at this time).
Side note: the one thing I can’t get enough of at the Night Bazaar, without fail, is a roti (or 3). Markets across Thailand are famous for their amazing roti carts, offering anything from condensed milk and sugar to banana and cheese. My favourite is situated across the road from the Le Meridian hotel – you’ll find me lurking around there pretty much every night.
3/6-7 Th Samlan, Chiang Mai
Sila-Aat is pants down our favourite restaurant and once we find what we like we kind of just stick to it so you can be rest assured that we’ll be eating dinner here 95% of the time.
Sila-Aat have an amazing wall of super fresh seafood and tropical fruits on display – just the things you crave on a balmy night in Thailand! When there, we’ll always order pork omelette, mushroom Tom Yum, fried rice and beer. Lots of beer.
Zabai Thai Massage & Spa
1/8 Thapae Road lane 1 (end of Thapae Road), Chiang Mai
If you like strong massages then you will love this place. They will pummel any knot or crook in to submission. It’s clean, it’s good value and the staff are lovely. I lost mum for 3 hours one day and found out later that she excaped to Zabai for a bloody massage without inviting me! Is it the cheapest massage in Thailand? No. Is it the most expensive? Not by a long shot. But you definitely get (more than) your monies worth every time.