A very simple geography/topography lesson for Thailand would be to think of Bangkok as the huge urban jungle in the flatter central plains. And to the south, and along the coasts, you obviously would have all the gorgeous islands and beaches. Then, up in the north, you have the incredible mountains. And Chiang Mai is the cultural capital and second largest city in Thailand. That Northern region also contains the country's oldest history. So if you were to make a three-week trip to Thailand, a week up north, a week in Bangkok and week on some beach might be the way to go. Chiang Mai is accessible by any mode of transportation. I have been by bus (from Bangkok), and I think I returned once (to Bangkok) by overnight train. My wife and I have also flown there from Bangkok.
Sadly, these three photos are what I have of my wife's and my trip to Chiang Mai. We took a short one there, and our main interest was not sightseeing, although we did join a young British couple on an organized tour, I think of the Queen's gardens. That's the Thai Queen, by the way! I still wish we had more photos to share. Keep viewing, though, to learn more about our experience.
a restaurant in a 150 year old teak wood home
Click here for their website. We ate a traditional Lanna style meal at Baan Jangarpor, similar to the way it was served in the above video. Except, in our case, the Baan Jangarpor was much nicer. And it turned out to be one of my best eating experiences in Chiang Mai. I have been thinking about it for years!
Kade and I walked the main drag through the city looking for souvenirs and handicrafts. Chiang Mai has an outstanding night market - just outstanding. We actually purchased one of those frogs that lady is holding. Another buy I remember making is of large hand-carved wooden doll. I think we gave it away.
We might have stayed just three nights in Chiang Mai. Our primary reason for going there was to buy some sample handicrafts that we could potentially sell in the United States. We bought lots of items, especially things made of mango wood (vases, bowls) and saa paper (scrapbooks, photo albums, wrapping paper). Later on, we decided to drop the idea of a small import/export business and gave away a lot of these purchases as gifts to family and friends. Whatever we had left - and we had purchased lots of product ideas in Bangkok - we either kept for ourselves or sold at Smiley's Outdoor Market (near Asheville, NC).
For my earlier fun experiences traveling around Chiang Mai, click here.