40 Days In Asia: Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai, Thailand

Chaing Rai White Temple

6-Days in Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai, Thailand
February 24 – March 1, 2016

In last five years, I’ve traveled to many different global destinations within 23 countries checking off almost all of the major cities on my bucket list. Now, how do I decide where to go? It depends. Sometimes I spin a globe using Skyscanner for cheap flights, sometimes I read about a place in Travel + Leisure, and other times I simply see a picture and decide I need to see that place with my own eyes. Chiang Rai was one of those places, specifically, the White Temple.

Let’s start with Chiang Mai. After zipping around Southeast Asia, from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh, with my two friends, I decided to break from the group to travel to Northern Thailand away from the hustle and bustle of some of the cities we had been visiting. Once I arrived in Chiang Mai and to my hotel, BB Mantra, I could already feel the laid-back energy and “don’t worry” attitude. While still a city, Chiang Mai is much more charming than I had expected. The Old City wall, colorful flowers, and romantic bridges along the riverside carve a perfect square around the city’s precious temples. The hidden alley streets are covered in graffiti art. People are less into you bargaining just to try to make a sale. And the food, well, it’s Thailand so it’s all pretty darn delicious.

In a nutshell, this was my itinerary for 3.5 days:

  • Day 1: Arrived in Chiang Mai and hit up the local market, also grabbed some freshly made mango sticky rice
  • Day 2: Explored the old city temples by foot, had a massage, grabbed some beer, listened to live music and had dinner at the New Night Bazaar
  • Day 3: Started the day with 3-hrs of Muay Thai Boxing at Chiang Mai Muay Thai, visited Wat Suan Dok just outside the gates of the old city, saw a Muay Thai fight, and ate pork over rice at the North Gate Girl from the Lady in a Cowboy Hat food cart with two new friends I had made from Holland
  • Day 4: Cooked and ate way more than my tummy could handle at the Thai Farm Cooking School

Alright, Chiang Rai. First stop, Starwood’s Le Meridien, my plush home for two nights. While I had stayed in pretty decent hotels throughout my month in Asia, staying at Le Meridien is like being at home. When I traveled for work a lot, Le Meridien in Santa Monica was my home, it was one of my few only constants (the other being flying Delta). The main reason why I decided to come to Northern Thailand was to see the White Temple, or Wat Rong Khun. So, I hired a driver for the day, woke up at the crack of dawn to see the White Temple in its sunrise glory untouched from the day’s tourists. As expected, my jaw dropped as I was overtaken by every fine detail of art.

  • Day 5: 3-hr Green Bus to Chiang Rai, had another massage, shopped at the Chiang Rai Night Market
  • Day 6: Sunrise at the White Temple, Black House, Karen Longeck Tribe

That wraps my 6 days in Northern Thailand. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to Pai as most of my friends recommended but hope to in the near future!

Chiang Mai City of Temples

Thai Cooking School

Chiang Rai

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One response to “40 Days In Asia: Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai, Thailand

  1. Pingback: Why I Quit My Job and Traveled the World | Working to Travel·

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