Definitely one of our favourite Thai cities, it’s no surprise it is considered the cultural capital. Here is how we would spend a day in Chiang Mai!
We have painstakingly narrowed it down to:
137 Pillars House. This 1889 Lanna-style home-turned boutique hotel, has been balanced out perfectly to retain traditional Thai decor with modern and minimalist design. The leafy green grounds, housing stunning gardens with stand alone villas spread across, will make any guest wonder if they should even bother venturing out.
Chiang Mai is by far considered a coffee hotspot due to its proximity to Thailand’s plantations, leading the city offering up a shmorgesboard of cafes. Our top pick has to be The Baristro, slightly up north, inside has exposed cement bricks and a minimalist wooden decor, the twists on a normal barista menu will have you intrigued. What we really love are the tables along the Ping River where you can sip on your unique drinks (i.e: coconut-water espresso) while soaking up some delightful sun. Our next favourite is Gateway Coffee Roasters near Tha Phae Gate. A part of the Graph Cafe family (also a delightful coffee shop in Chiang Mai), this double storey coffee delight houses salvaged furniture within its exposed walls and serves up its own array of unusual drinks.
Meena Rice Based Cuisine. As the name gives away, the Thai staple food, rice, is the base in all of these creative menu items – drink and plate. We love these twists on Thai classics and we highly recommend getting a bunch of dishes to share. A charming decor uplifts this waterside barn, while the wooden beams give it a certain warmth.
Check out the Hang Dong District to find all kinds of antiques from all over Asia. The “Old City” holds many sights, cafes, and sights – including the Three Kings Monument. You can also experience the Old City via bike tour with Grasshopper Adventures! We can highly recommend a treck to Thongma studio for a photogenic tour of sculptor Chamnian Thongma’s cacti-filled oasis, with gallery and delicious comfort-food eatery.
Our top pick has to be Bad Boy Valley. There is so much in the decor and feeling of this restaurant, it is hard to describe as one element. Colourful boho-chic, mixed with up-cycled traditional furniture and a green-house feeling, or thatch, depending on where you’re seated, Conde Nast as referred to this as the Jungle Supper Club. A menu which is updated daily makes it hard to make concrete recommendations but we say take the advice given and indulge!
On the “Old City”, check out the North Gate Jazz Co-op for cheap drinks in a local hangout with great musicians. As the night goes on the crowd is known to head out into the streets together and carry things on.