With its cooler weather, slower pace and mountainous surroundings, the northern counterpart of Chiang Mai offers a wonderful respite from the frenetic sprawl of Bangkok in Thailand. As you explore beautiful and laid-back “Rose of the North”, share your travel experiences online with the following unique and eye-catching attractions and activities. (Don’t forget to hashtag #amazingthailand, #tourismthailand and #TATPhilippines!)
Plunge into a plush resort.
Chiang Mai offers a range of accommodation from cheap sleeps to fancier stays like Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort, a relaxing retreat outside the old city walls where we stayed during our media tour, organized by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Philippines. The Lanna-colonial style rooms flank a plunge pool, guarded by a century-old acacia tree along the Ping River – the perfect spot to witness and participate in Loy Krathong, the annual Buddhist festival of lights when are lanterns are set afloat on bodies of water across the country. Check discounted room rates here!
Ogle at ornate Buddhist temples.
Like the rest of Indochina, Chiang Mai has a lot of Buddhist temples. There are more than 300 Buddhist temples of worship in the city and the surrounding areas, reflecting the heydays of the ancient northern kingdom of Lanna. While its unnecessary (and impossible) to see all of them, there are a handful of popular ones frequented by tourists like Wat Chedi Luang with the walled city center and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a mountaintop temple with panoramic views, 15 km outside the city. My favorite was Wat Sri Suphan with its ubosot (ordination hall) paneled inside and out in silver, nickel and aluminum embossed with elaborate repousse-work designs like a giant jewelry box.
Admire how Thai parasols are made.
Introduced centuries ago by a monk who visited Burma, Thai parasols are an iconic handicraft of Chiang Mai. Traditional umbrellas are made by hand from bamboo and silk or oil paper then painted with vibrant floral designs, making them perfect subjects to add a pop of color to your Instagram feed. Watch how they are made and shop for souvenirs at Bor Sang Village, 9 km east of the city center.
Feast on Thai cuisine by the river (or on a cruise).
Get “tongue-Thaied” by all the fabulous food bursting with flavor, color and texture! No trip to Thailand is complete without feasting on local cuisine. Feast on national staples like tom yum and steamed fish with lime together with northern specialties like khao soi (curry noodle soup) and sai ua (spiced pork sausage). Enjoy your meal at one of the many restaurants along the Ping River, or take a romantic dinner cruise down the waterway. Of course, don’t forget to shoot before diggin’ in! This is the perfect time to master your flat lay skills by capturing your spread in all its culinary glory.
Learn how to cook Thai food.
Bring home your love for Thai cuisine by learning how to cook a local meal at Baan Rai Kong King (Tel. +66 53431305, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org), an award-winning community-based tourism attraction where visitors can experience cultural immersions. During our visit, we got to pick herbs and fruits at an organic garden, before preparing a yummy traditional lunch of green curry, khai pam (omelet grilled in banana leaf) and khanon jok (steamed pumpkin dough balls wrapped in banana leaf pyramids).
Enjoy a Lanna-style fire massage.
Fire up your Instagram feed with selfies of a traditional Lanna-style massage, also at Baan Rai Kong King. Therapists of this warm and soothing style of massage work with oiled feet, applying heat by stepping on fiery coals that momentarily burst into flames! It’s quite the sight – try capturing this fiery therapy in video.
Get artsy at an artists’ village.
Looking for a hipster place to lounge? Baan Kang Wat is a quaint collection of galleries, art studios, artisanal shops, and cafes in the rural outskirts of Chiang Mai. It’s a wonderful place to kick back and relax at the end of the day after all your explorations. The shops make rustic backdrops for moody and atmospheric shots.
This blog post was made possible through a media tour of Chiang Mai held last November 15 to 20, 2016, organized by Tourism Authority of Thailand – Philippines and Thai Airways, which flies regularly to Chiang Mai. Follow TAT Philippines on Facebook and Instagram for the latest news and updates!