36 Hours in Chiang Mai

36 Hours in Chiang Mai

The sighting of several good omens convinced King Mengrai to establish the seat of his great Lanna Kingdom in Chiang Mai in 1926.  Since then it has become the second largest city in Thailand and the second most trafficked.  Those that do make the journey North are rewarded with much cooler temperatures than Bangkok and a lot more greenery.  The ancient city not only attracts backpackers and adventure seekers but it’s upscale hotels are now attracting the upscale traveler as well.


6 p.m.

Join the locals making the sacred pilgrimage to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep built in 1383.  The sunset view you will be rewarded with after your 297 stair climb is worth every step.  Admission is 30 Baht and the wat is open until 9 pm.

Doi Suthep temple just before the sun sinks over Chiang Mai

8 p.m.

The Galare food court in Chiang Mai’s night bazaar is a delicious place to try several Northern Thai specialties for a small sum.  I recommend the Northern Noodles, which are a thick rice noodle in a robust tomato based broth with slow cooked meat.  Enjoy your dinner with live entertainment and once you have finished eating you can do some shopping in the vendor stalls surrounding the food court.


9 a.m.

Start your walking tour with the large Wat Phra Sing located at the end of Ratchadamnoen Road.  Next head to Wat Chiang Man the oldest wat in the city.  With it’s low sloping roofs and intricate golden façade the temple is an excellent example of Northern Thai design.  The next stop is Wat Chedi Luang, which holds the remains of Chiang Mai’s largest Chedi that was destroyed by an earthquake in 1545.  If you need a rest from your tour pull up a seat for Monk Chat, which is a unique opportunity to talk with monks and learn about Buddhism first hand.  The last stop on your walking tour is Wat Jed Yot where the Eighth World Buddhist Council met to revise the Tripitaka scriptures of Theravada Buddhism.

One of the many Buddhas you will see on your your tour of Chiang Mai

4:30 p.m.

After your long walk take advantage of the opportunity to get a Thai massage from a female inmate at the local prison.  Thai massage is similar to having a personal trainer that does all the work for you, stretching you out and pulling you back into shape.

8 p.m.

Make your way to the Muay Thai Boxing Arena just a few blocks outside Tha Pae Gate.  You want to be there early to get front row seats for the knee jabbing, punch throwing anything goes matches.  The event offers more than just fighting and caters mainly to tourists, but is still worth a visit.

Two fighters squaring up in the ring in Chiang Mai


8 a.m.

Spend the day out of the city and on an organic farm where the smell of exhaust is replaced by a clean breeze through patches of organic veggies.  You will learn to make six dishes at the Thai Farm Cooking School and you’ll get a cookbook with 21 Thai recipes to cook at home.

Learning to cook is fun when all the flavors are new

5:30 p.m.

After you have cooked all day enjoy a meal made for you at the Sunday night market on Ratchadamnoen Road.  Stroll the street vendors stalls selling everything from paintings to wood carvings and clothes.  When you’ve had enough put your feet up and get a foot massage while you people watch.  Pampering is the perfect way to end a weekend in Chiang Mai.

The vendors at the Sunday night market spill out into a nearby temple.

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» Mom A :
Mar 23, 2011

Wish I could go back right this minute, even for just 36 hours! You are very good at seeing all the temples worth seeing. Getting tired of them yet? How about a little temple comparison, big differences across the countries you have been in so far?

LOCAVORista Reply:

Mom, you know that 36 hours in Chiang Mai wouldn’t be enough. We do our best to see all the temples worth seeing without getting “templed out.” We should post some temple comparison, but I can tell you that nothing has lived up to the temples in Thailand yet. However, we plan on hitting Angkor Wat in the next couple weeks, which is the temple of all temples.

» dad :
Mar 23, 2011

no pressure, but am awaiting your next picture posting…..just a reminder of the world you left behind, it is council tuesday, so a 14 hour day awaits me…..will not miss those in “refirement”…..be safe…..love dad

LOCAVORista Reply:

Dad, glad that you are enjoying the picture postings they will be a regular occurence on our site every Sunday- enjoy! Hopefully your council Tuesday isn’t as long as you thought. We are in 4,000 Islands in the South of Laos. One of the best sunsets of the trip thus far.

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.


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