The reason I have Chiang Mai and Bangkok together is because I was only able to spend one day in Bangkok. I didn’t have the chance to see enough to give pointers 😦 !
I think Chiang Mai was one of my favorite cities during my trip to Asia. There’s so much to do and so much to see. You could spend a week here and still not have enough time.
A couple things: make sure to plan your trip so you spend a Saturday here. Every Saturday night there is a night market and it is incredible. So manu people gather together for this weekly event. It’s mainly food too which is amazing. You can try small plates of various types!
We spent a whole day walking around finding new temples to visit. There’s a temple every 5 minutes it’s amazing. If you have time to visit only one temple I recommend visiting Wat Chedi Luang. It’s HUGE and it’s very overwhelming. It’s incredible architecture and it’s definitely worth the visit. Just walk around honestly! You’ll find new temples you don’t expect to see and you can move at your own pace.
About 3 hours away, in Chiang Rai, is Wat Rong Khun; also known as the White Temple. I would organise my trip accordingly to make sure I pass this town because this temple is worth seeing. It’s breathtaking.
Elephants! Go visit elephants. Choose wisely though. A lot of the companies don’t treat the elephants properly and they are solely for tourism and money.. Do your research ahead of time and pick a company that treats their elephants well! Don’t promote those horrible companies that abuse those poor creatures. We went to a rescue centre where we would bathe, feed, and make medicine for the elephants. I cannot for the life of me remember what it was called.. I’ll look it up and let you know.
As for nightlife, I recommend visiting the Anusarn Market. That whole street actually is really busy at night. Full of shops, bars, hotels, restaurants, shows, etc. There’s a cabaret place in the Anusarn Market that I recommend! If you’re in Thailand, you have to see the lady boys!! It’s a fun show. If you bring a guy along they will definitely be harassed during the show by the performers lol We went to a bar called “Zoe in Yellow” and it was a blast I recommend that too. Bring change and tissues with you because most outdoor bars don’t have toilet paper and you also have to pay to use the washrooms.
Like I said, I only spent a day here but I did the necessities. The Grand Palace is beautiful but it is completely packed with tourists. Go early in the morning and don’t stay too long in my opinion. Oh and you also have to pay 200 Baht per person to get in and you MUST cover your shoulders and knees. A short walk away you will find Wat Pho which is another must. Here you will find the famous Giant Leaning Buddha. You have to see this. It’s bigger than you can possibly imagine. I was so shocked at how massive it is it’s beyond incredible.
We took the water ferry to bring us from our hotel neighbourhood to the palace and it was so quick and so cheap! I recommend it compared to taking a tuktuk or train. The people who work at the ferry stations are helpful as well so just ask if you’re not sure 🙂
Our guide brought us to a nice restaurant at the end of the night where we got an awesome view of the city! It was called “River View”. Food was great and views were great.
Now of course, you have to visit Khao San Road. This is where the party people are at. Tons of bars and shops. Try to find a bar that has a happy hour deal on drinks to save some money. We had to leave early the next morning so we didn’t get to have buckets (I know!) but this is where you get buckets ! I’ll be going back within the year and I’m getting myself a bucket.
If you have any questions feel free to ask! 🙂