Chiang Mai is the hub of Northern Thailand and the centre of the Lanna Kingdom culture and heritage. Located at the northern part of Thailand, one should take more than 9 hours train ride to reach Chiang Mai from Bangkok. Although Bangkok and Southern Thailand is popular with tourists, Chiang Mai would be best for people who wants to have a glimpse on the life of the locals.
In Chiang Mai, one of the must-see in this awesome city is the Old City. It is where all the historical cultural and heritage stuffs are located. Inside the Old City (beyond the remaining walls), there are more than 30 temples, in a combination of Burmese, Sri Lankan and Lanna Thai styles, decorated with beautiful carvings. This what makes Chiang Mai is full of cultural seekers and travelers around the world.
Apart from just temples, there are lots of things can be done in Old City. Here are some of the places you can visit while you’re in Chiang Mai (excluding the famous Wat Chendi Luang).
WAT Chiang Man
Wat Chendi Luang might get the fame for being the famous temples in Chiang Mai, but there are lots of temples also deserve the visit as well. One of the temples I visited is the Wat Chiang Man. Although it is not popular and outstanding compared to it’s compatriot, Wat Chendi Luang but this temple I visited was awesome and for sure, the amount of locals outnumbered the tourists. Besides, if you would like to experience the way how the locals worship their god, this place is the right one to do so!
Meanwhile, there are lots of temples around the old city. Just visit 1 or 2 temples and Wat Chendi Luang would do. It will take days if you plan to visit all temples in Old City.
Tae phae gate
Tha Phae Gate is the east entrance to the old city district. It is part of the wall that surrounded the city at its founding. Unlike earlier Thai settlements that were oval, Chiang Mai’s architectural plan called for a rectangular moat and wall. Their purpose was to protect the city from Burmese invasion. They also symbolized the seas and mountains of Thailand.
The eight main gates of the old city face a specific direction according to the eight compass points. Each has its own astrological significance. Tha Phae Gate faces east and signifies prosperity. Historically, it was the main gate through which monks, traders, and diplomats went to enter Chiang Mai. Much of the original city wall fell to ruin, but Tha Phae Gate remains. Today, it is the site of many cultural activities and festival celebrations.
Although I personally find out that this gate is overrated. However, most of the tourists I met and they disagree with me. Maybe you should pay a visit here and tell me what you think about it?
authentic Thailand food
When it comes to food, Thailand has the best food in this region. One should not miss out the chance to try Khao Soy and the Pineapple Fried Rice. In order to discover more local food, the best place to start is where the night market is. Thailand is popular with night markets and I’d been numbers of them. I personally find that Chiang Mai has the cheapest food in the night market all around Thailand. All the prices they offered are within the range.
Khao Soy (A must try food in Thailand) – A Burmese-influenced dish which widely served in Northern Thailand. The name means “cut rice” in Thailand. Traditionally, the dough for the rice noodles is spread out on a cloth stretched over boiling water. After steaming, the large sheet noodle is then rolled and cut with scissors. Khao Soy usually is served with a bowl of curry as part of the soup. It is a not to miss food in Northern Thailand. (You can get KhaoSoy everywhere for approx. 30-50 baht in street vendors)