Escape of the Week: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Written by on April 11, 2012 in Asia, Blog, Destinations, Thailand - 23 Comments

Chiang Mai was my first experience in Southeast Asia, and one I will always remember for countless reasons.

It’s the city where Katie surprised me with an early visit, forcing me to power through my jet lag.

The city which was my home base after a week with the elephants at Elephant Nature Park.

And, the city I tried to fall in love with.

Somewhere, deep down, I knew Chiang Mai very well could end up being my home.

So, I did what anyone would do who is scouting their potential future city. I took photos. Lots and lots of them.

A barber shop in Chiang Mai. There are no doors or outside wall, just open air to the street.

I loved wandering around and just taking in the beauty of life on the side streets.

A tuk tuk driver awaits his next fare.

Some street cats explore a motorbike.

For me, even with the mountains in the distance, with the humid weather and the tropical flowers, it was hard not to think I was living in a beach town.

New to me were the little “restaurants” on the side of the road, in places you wouldn’t imagine. Throw out some plastic chairs, a little table and assemble a mini-kitchen on the sidewalk, and you’ve got a bonafide place to enjoy some seriously good homemade Thai food.

A quaint and colorful street restaurant.

Ingredients to prepare some fresh and amazing Pad Thai.

A more formal restaurant.

And then, there’s life around the old city walls and moat. There were plenty of times I’d be walking near Thapae Gate and see random trucks decked out with colorful decorations.

The ancient wall around the city.

Taking in the few minutes of no rain during the country's rainy season.

I loved the way the city looks entirely different at night. Even the side streets seem to have a different atmosphere, with paper lanterns lit.

And, of course, no visit to Chiang Mai (or Thailand) is complete without visiting the numerous wats. Within the old city walls, there are plenty of them.

The gold of the temple glows against the rain clouds.

A temple dog hangs out on the table.

Tip: When visiting Chiang Mai, be sure to head to the Mae Ping River for some riverside exploration and dining.

Where to stay: While I was there, I stayed in a dorm room at A Little Bird Guesthouse (four-room, mixed dorm, around $2.50 a night), and later, at Chiang Mai Thai House. Little Bird is in the old city; the guest house is just outside of ThaePae Gate. Bonus? It’s got a pool!

A private at the Chiang Mai Thai House? Oh, a cool $13.


The good news? By the time I was ready to leave and put aside my excuses, I was smitten with this tropical mountain town.

About the Author

Diana Edelman is an avid traveler who recently spent four years living as an expat. Most notably, Diana spent nearly three years in Chiang Mai, Thailand where she worked with Save Elephant Foundation to raise awareness about the realities of elephant tourism. Currently based in Las Vegas, Diana works in many industries as a publicist, social media expert, content creator and journalist. The founder of Vegans, Baby, you can normally find her hanging out at vegan restaurants around town, exploring the beauty of the desert southwest or camped out at a coffee shop banging on a keyboard. The co-founder of the Responsible Travel & Tourism Collective, Diana has spoken at conferences about travel blogging and responsible tourism.

23 Comments on " Escape of the Week: Chiang Mai, Thailand "

  1. D.J. - The World of Deej April 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm · Reply

    Great photo tour:)

    • Diana April 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm · Reply

      Thank you!! Chiang Mai is pretty photogenic!

  2. Bobbi Lee Hitchon April 11, 2012 at 7:42 pm · Reply

    Looks so cool. Really looking forward to visiting some day soon.

    • Diana April 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm · Reply

      Me, too!!

  3. Ryan April 11, 2012 at 11:09 pm · Reply

    Cool photos. Thanks for reminding me how much I love CM

    • Diana April 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm · Reply

      Of course! You planning on returning any time soon?

  4. Christy @ Technosyncratic April 12, 2012 at 6:08 am · Reply

    I miss Chiang Mai!! And I love the fact that I recognize where some of these photos were taken. 😉 That dog just chillin’ on the table cracks me up.

    • Diana April 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm · Reply

      Awww, well you will have to come and visit me! I love the dog, too! It seems like animals just naturally gravitate towards the tables there!

  5. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures April 13, 2012 at 10:42 pm · Reply

    No wonder there are so many expats there!

    • Diana April 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm · Reply

      It’s lush, eh?? 🙂

  6. Tina April 17, 2012 at 1:55 am · Reply

    I WANNA GO BACK!!!!!

    • Diana April 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm · Reply

      Then you should! 🙂

  7. Sherry April 18, 2012 at 9:32 pm · Reply

    I’m smitten just by the photos! Especially that decked out truck. So much character.

    • Diana April 21, 2012 at 7:32 pm · Reply

      Awww, I had fun taking photos in Chiang Mai. There was character like that everywhere. I’m really looking forward to going back!

  8. Lily April 22, 2012 at 8:46 am · Reply

    Lovely photos! I’ve never been but have heard so much about it. I just discovered your blog and enjoying it! Totally identify with that 30LC! 🙂

    • Diana April 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm · Reply

      Thank you! 🙂

  9. Mary @ Green Global Travel May 22, 2012 at 11:28 am · Reply

    Beautiful photos! I love the 3 street cat photo with each one intent on his/her own mission.

    • Diana May 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm · Reply

      That is one of my favorite shots!

  10. peter August 22, 2012 at 6:53 pm · Reply

    great coverage of CM and lovely pics – I’m visiting for the first time in Dec with an eye on moving there next year – are you enjoying it?

    • Diana August 22, 2012 at 11:50 pm · Reply

      Thank you, Peter! I LOVE living here. LOVE IT. While you are visiting, definitely head up to Elephant Nature Park and check out the sanctuary. Let me know when you are in town. 🙂

Trackbacks for this post

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