Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thailand: Exploring Chiang Mai on Foot

What To Do In Chiang Mai Thailand

Sitting under a golden shower tree, I was in awe of the great Wat Chedi Luang in the middle of the walled city in Chiang Mai. The noon summer breeze kept me lull but my eyes were still glued on the huge structure. I was about to take a quick catnap when I was interrupted by my buddy who returned with a smile on his face, exclaiming that there are more wats around this wat

Aptly named as the Rose of the North, Chiang Mai is the main tourist hub in the northern part of Thailand. Historically speaking, it was once the capital of the ancient Lanna kingdom and was founded in 1296. It is accessible through the city’s airport, train and bus lines.

Our home, Yaang Come Village, was conveniently located in the center of the city. We usually explored around town by foot which saved us a lot of bucks. On our very first day, or rather night, we were collected from the airport by a friend, Ice, who’s now settled in Chiang Mai with her husband.

Walled City Moat Chiang Mai Thailand

They gladly showed us around and pointed out some important spots to be explored on the next few days (it was my first time in Chiang Mai and my buddy’s second). First stop was a cheap dinner place somewhere to satisfy our cravings for legit Thai food (I will dedicate a separate post on our yummy food trippin').

Beer sesh was next, and as we checked out the beer selections from the grocery we noticed that they had a local version of the famed Red Horse Beer from the Philippines. We grabbed a few bottles and tried it. Theirs seemed to have that extra kick than the ones we have.

Chiang Mai Thailand
Meet Ice
Our next day was all about leaving Chiang Mai and heading to the hip and laidback district of Pai. We hopped on a van going to Pai at the Arcade Bus Station and shelled out 150 Baht each (US$ 4.22) for the trip. We endured the 762 road curves on the way, by the way. We did a little exploring by motorbike around Pai and checked out the local Thai food scene in the area. After three days of butt-numbing motorbike ride, we headed back to Chiang Mai.

Templed Out: Chiang Mai Edition

Temple runs had been a common thing for me and my buddy as we conquer Southeast Asia on a two-month backpacking trip. Our feet were burnt at Myanmar, our souls were cleansed in Bali and we’re amazed by the marvel of Prambanan and Borobudur temples in Yogyakarta.

Chiang Mai Thailand

We never really planned on checking out more temples in Chiang Mai, but as we entered the gates to the old city, temples or wats greeted us every five minutes as we walked along the cobbled paths. This made us explore some of the interesting ones inside and around the premises of the walled city.


Wat Chedi Luang
103 Road King Prajadhipok Phra Singh, Muang District, Chiang Mai
Open Hours: 6:00 am to 6:00 pm (temple grounds remain open at night)
Entrance Fee: Free

Wat Chedi Luang Chiang Mai Thailand
Wat Chedi Luang
Wat Chedi Luang Chiang Mai Thailand

Wat Chedi Luang Chiang Mai Thailand

Wat Phat Tao
103 Road King Prajadhipok Phra Singh, Muang District, Chiang Mai
Open Hours: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Entrance Fee: Free

Wat Phat Tao Chiang Mai Thailand
Wat Phat Tao
Wat Phat Tao Chiang Mai Thailand

Wat Phat Tao Chiang Mai Thailand


Wat Lok Molee
Manee Nopparat Road, Chiang Mai
Open Hours: 6:00 am to 5:00 pm
Entrance Fee: Free


Wat Lok Molee Chiang Mai Thailand
Wat Lok Molee
Wat Lok Molee Chiang Mai Thailand

Wat Lok Molee Chiang Mai Thailand


Wat Pra Singh Voramahavihara
Sam Lan Road, Chiang Mai
Open Hours: 6:00 am to 5:00 pm
Entrance Fee: Free


Wat Pra Singh Voramahavihara Chiang Mai Thailand
Wat Phra Singh Voramahavihara
Wat Pra Singh Voramahavihara Chiang Mai Thailand


Wat Tung Yu
Ratchadamnoen 7, Muang District, Chiang Mai
Open Hours: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Entrance Fee: Free


Wat Tung Yu Chiang Mai Thailand
Real life wax figures of famed monks
Wat Jetlin
Prapokkloa Road, Chiang Mai
Open Hours: 4:00 am to 6:00 pm
Entrance Fee: Free


Wat Jetlin Chiang Mai Thailand
Wat Jetlin
Wat Jetlin Chiang Mai Thailand


Inside the Old City

We wandered around the walled city and were captivated by its unexplainable charm. There’s this chill vibe everywhere that made us wanna chill more, or maybe it was because of the punishing summer heat. Either way, we had more chill time here than the rest of our Thailand adventures.


Walled City Chiang Mai Thailand
Lesgow to the ancient city!
Chiang Mai Thailand
Chill vibe
Walled City Moat Chiang Mai Thailand
The walled city surrounded by moat
We checked out some museums but were taken aback on the entrance fees (we're cheapskates, just so you know. haha) so we decided to just do a walking trip around.

Chiang Mai CIty Arts and Cultural Center Thailand
Three Kings Monument Square | Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Center
Prapokkalo Road and T.Sriphum, Muang, Chiang Mai
8:30 am to 5:00 pm | Tuesdays to Sundays | 90 Baht (US$ 2.54)
Lanna Folklife Museum Chiang Mai Thailand
Lanna Folklife Museum
Prapokkalo Road, Muang, Chiang Mai
8:30 am to 7:00 pm | Tuesdays to Sundays | 90 Baht (US$ 2.54)
On our walking tour, we chanced upon some museums that required no entrance fees, of course, we took the chance to explore it. Specialty shops were also common in Chiang Mai. Cheap hawker stalls were also plentiful so no need worry about getting dehydrated or famished. Motorbikes and bicycles for hire were also noticeable.

Lanna Architecture Center Chiang Mai Thailand
Lanna traditional architecture
Lanna Architecture Center Chiang Mai Thailand

Lanna Architecture Center Chiang Mai Thailand
Lanna Architecture Center
Ratchadamnoen Road and Phra Pok Klao Road, Chiang Mai
8:30 am to 5:00 pm | Tuesdays to Sundays | No entrance fee
The residential areas inside the ancient city were peaceful and full of character. You could easily notice how everyone is trying to keep up with the daily grind of life while maintaining that aura of calmness. I love people-watching and getting lost inside the walled city. It was fascinating rather than time-consuming.

Chiang Mai Thailand
Chiang Mai is a walkable city
Royal Flora Ratchaphruek
Mae Hia, Muang, Chiang Mai
Open Hours: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Entrance Fee: 100 Baht (US$ 2.82) | Park is free-of-charge

We did a quick road trip around 8 kilometers from Chiang Mai to the sub-district of Mae Hia. Ice specifically noted that different species of flowers and amazing grass arts can be found at the park. 


Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Chiang Mai Thailand
Ratchaphruek Hill
Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Chiang Mai Thailand

And it wasn’t a disappointment at all. Perched atop a hill, a Ratchaphruek or golden shower tree (the national flower of Thailand) stood there with its colorful yellow blossoms showering the visitors as the wind blew. The view there was amazing. We waited as the sun beamed its last glorious rays.

Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Chiang Mai Thailand
Royal Flora Park
Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Chiang Mai Thailand

Chiang Mai Grand Canyon
Canal Road, Hang Dong, Chiang Mai
Open Hours: 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
Entrance Fee: 50 Baht (US$ 1.40)

Still amazed from Pai’s Canyon, I was elated when I heard that our friends will bring us to Chiang Mai Grand Canyon. On the way, the couple exchanged stories of its emerald green water and high cliffs. Me and my buddy exchanged looks of excitement as we traversed the road leading to it.

We arrived at Pai’s Canyon in Hang Dong District where we saw a newly built shack that houses a café. A fee of 50 Baht each (US$ 1.40) was collected to enter the premises which included one bottle of any drink.


Chiang Mai Grand Canyon Thailand
Chiang Mai Grand Canyon
Chiang Mai Grand Canyon Thailand

Chiang Mai Grand Canyon Thailand

Me and my buddy explored the canyon and were told that the place was a former quarry site and what seemed to be a lake was mostly made up of stuck up rainwater. The water, they say, could go as deep as 40 meters. Isolated incidents of some tourists being drowned here were reported.

There was a group enjoying a boat tour around, some half-naked men were doing all kinds of stunts as they dive, and others who were lazily lounging on the clay soils; they seemed to be having fun on this man-made canyon.

Chiang Mai Grand Canyon Thailand
Ready to jump!
Chiang Mai Grand Canyon Thailand

We immediately stripped off and looked for our own little spot and started to wade over the heavy water. And then, we’re so enthused on the amazing stunts performed by the guys on the other side and did a little jumping and diving ourselves. It was fun, but yes, I know, it was really dangerous.

Chiang Mai Grand Canyon Thailand

Chiang Mai Grand Canyon Thailand

CAMP
Creative And Meeting Place
5th floor, Maya Mall, Chiang Mai
Open Hours: 24 hours/day
Entrance Fee: Free

We had so much lull time in the city that our friends treated us to a movie date. I usually sleep when I’m inside a cinema house and this time, I slept almost eighty percent of the movie. They laughed at me afterwards.

As we leave the mall at midnight, I noticed a shop that’s still open. We checked it out and noticed that the whole space was filled up with teeners and yuppies who seemed to be doing some school stuff. I then learned that CAMP is a 24-hour cafe library inside the mall wherein students or whoever wanna use the space can stay there for free. A café was also spotted that serves all day and night. Free WiFi can be used upon purchase of any food item. Me thinking that it would just be the perfect place to study or for layovers (sleeping is allowed but unnecessary noise is prohibited). Such a nice concept.

CAMP Maya Mall Chiang Mai Thailand
I wanna introduce this cafe library concept in Manila :)

Our Chiang Mai tip was more of a chill one maybe because a friend was there to show us around. We’re gearing up for Laos so we took this time to just relish being driven to wherever we wanna go. A big shout out to Ice and Boogie who were just so supportive of our craziness. Till next time Chiang Mai!


2 comments:

  1. You're welcome :)
    Sa uulitin dapat di lang 2 days, madami pa i-offer ang Chiang Mai sa inyo ;)

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    Replies
    1. Ang sarap lang kasi tumambay sa Chiang Mai talaga Ice. Hihi

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